IN RE:  JAN PARTIN,                )

                                   )                               CASE NO. 92-7318EC

     Respondent.                   )






     Pursuant to notice, the Division of Administrative Hearings, by its duly designated Hearing Officer, Mary Clark, held a formal hearing in the above-styled case on July 8, 1993, in Winter Haven, Florida.




     For the Advocate,      Claire D. Dryfuss, Esquire

     Florida Commission on  Acting Advocate

     Ethics:                Commission on Ethics

                            Office of the Attorney General

                            The Capitol, PL-01

                            Tallahassee, Florida  32399-1050


     For Respondent:        Robert H. Grizzard, II, Esquire

                            Post Office Box 992

                            Lakeland, Florida  33802-0992




     On December 6, 1991 the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause that Jan Partin, while employed as Administrative Assistant to the Winter Haven Housing Authority's Executive Director violated section 112.313(6), F.S. by coercing a Mr. and Mrs. Carrerou into making a loan to a potential witness in a federal court trial involving the Housing Authority and by representing to the Carrerous that the Housing Authority would repay the loan.


     The issue for disposition in this proceeding is whether that violation occurred, and if so, what penalty is appropriate.




     The order finding probable cause was forwarded to the Division of Administrative Hearings on December 7, 1992 with a request to conduct a public hearing and provide a recommended order to the Commission.


     After consultation with the parties, the hearing was scheduled for April 22, 1993.  It was cancelled, at the parties' request, when settlement appeared likely, but the hearing was reset when the informal resolution did not materialize.  The hearing then proceeded as set forth above.


     At the hearing the Acting Advocate presented testimony of the following:  Timothy Keaton, Oswald Carrerou, Leah Carrerou and Katherine Reddick.  The following Advocate's exhibits were received in evidence:  #P-1, #P-4, #P-6 through #P-10.


     Respondent testified in her own behalf and presented the testimony of Katherine Reddick, Sylvia Ibanez, James Lear, Herbert Lopez and Lovett Johnson.  Respondent's exhibits #1, #2, #3, #4, #13 and #19 were received in evidence.


     The transcript was filed on August 2, 1993 and the Acting Advocate filed a proposed recommended order on September 2, 1993.  Her proposed findings of fact are substantially adopted here.




     1.  Respondent, Jan Partin (Partin), during all times relevant to this proceeding, was the administrative assistant to the executive director of the Winter Haven Housing Authority, in Winter Haven, Florida.  In that capacity she exercised responsible administrative, supervisory and technical management functions in assisting the executive director.  In the absence of the executive director, she was totally responsible for the operation of the housing authority.


     2.  Oswald and Leah Carrerou, husband and wife, owned rental property in Winter Haven, and in 1989 and 1990 were landlords in the housing authority's Section 8 program, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide rental assistance to eligible tenants.  The Carrerous were the second landlords brought into the authority's program, and in late 1989, early 1990, had more tenants than other landlords in the program.


     3.  As Section 8 landlords, the Carrerous received monthly checks from the housing authority.  In January and February 1990, those checks were $3,512.00 and $3,810.00, respectively, representing approximately sixty percent of the Carrerou's total rental income at that time.


     4.  The Carrerou's primary staff contact with the housing authority with regard to the Section 8 Program was Jan Partin.  This included contacts regarding tenants, leases, landlord/housing authority contracts, and rental payments.  As it was a new program, the contacts were frequent, several times a week, by telephone and in person at the housing authority office.


     5.  As executive director, Ash Ahmad was the formal administrator of the Section 8 Program.  Ahmad trained Partin and another staff person in the program and Partin's contacts with the Carrerous were part of her routine functions.  The Carrerou's perception that she had some control over their continued participation and receipt of rents was reasonable, even if not technically nor legally correct.


     6.  In early 1990, Partin called Oswald Carrerou and asked if he would consider making a loan to a person who was very important to the housing authority, a witness in a federal case involving a tenant.  Partin said the person needed money to pay his lawyer in a child custody dispute.  Carrerou was concerned about the appearance and legitimacy of the transaction.  He was not in the business of making personal loans, except in the context of his buying and selling real estate, in which cases the loans were secured by a mortgage.  When he asked about collateral, Partin said something about a CD coming due and that he would be paid off then.  Partin suggested that a note would be prepared, but did not say who would sign the note.  Reluctantly, and with the concern that he had little choice, given his financial circumstances and reliance on the Section 8 rents, Carrerou agreed to the loan.


     7.  Timothy Keaton was the person who was to receive the loan.  Keaton met Partin in 1988 when his girlfriend, April Marshall, was living in a Winter Haven Housing Authority housing project.  Keaton lived with Marshall off and on without being included in the lease; the couple had two children together.  Keaton and Partin developed a close personal relationship and they began dating; Partin loaned and gave him money.  Partin became involved in a custody dispute regarding the Keaton/Marshall children, a case which also involved the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.  Partin urged Keaton to hire a lawyer to get custody away from Marshall and she recommended a lawyer to him.  This was the lawyer to whom the loan money was to be paid.


     8.  At the same time that the custody dispute was pending, the housing authority was sued in federal court by Keaton's sometime girlfriend, Marshall, and other plaintiffs who were contesting their evictions.  Partin was the legal liaison for the housing authority and worked closely with Sylvia Ibanez, the attorney for the housing authority in the Marshall lawsuit and other litigation.


     9.  Keaton agreed to testify against Marshall and on behalf of the housing authority in the federal case.  He gave a deposition attended by Partin, Attorney Ibanez and Marshall's attorney.  This was around the same time that Partin sought the loan to pay Keaton's lawyer.


     10.  Keaton and another man appeared at Carrerou's office with a note signed by Keaton's mother, Oreatha K. Ogletree, dated February 16, 1990.  The note stated that she would be responsible for the loan of $1200 to her son, and that she would make the payment in March 1990, when her CD matured.  After assuring himself that the lawyer was indeed representing Keaton, and that Oreatha K. Ogletree was Timothy Keaton's mother, Oswald Carrerou gave Keaton a check for $1200 payable to Robert Doyel, the attorney.  The check is dated February 16, 1990.  Carrerou had never met nor seen Keaton before that day.  Because of cash flow problems, Carrerou borrowed the $1200 from his wife's VISA credit card account at 18 percent interest in order to make the loan to Keaton.


     11.  Keaton did not sign the note, although there was a space on the note for his signature and social security number.  Moreover, instead of taking the check to the lawyer's office that afternoon as was arranged, he tore it into three pieces.  He did not want to be responsible for the money and did not want his mother to be responsible either.


     12.  Sometime later, but before the end of February 1990, Partin called Leah Carrerou and told her that the Keaton children had spilled something on the check or had torn it, and that another check was needed immediately.  Keaton had an appointment with the lawyer that afternoon and the lawyer would not see him without the check.  Partin said she would send someone over to pick it up, and someone from the Housing Authority did come to get the check from Mrs. Carrerou.  Later, Mrs. Carrerou realized her check was written on the wrong account and, after speaking to the lawyer's secretary for approval, she mailed a substitute check for $1200, dated February 28, 1990, to Robert Doyel.


     13.  The Carrerous were never repaid their $1200.  After the end of thirty days, Leah Carrerou called Partin, who assured that she would get her money.  After about five or six subsequent similar calls, the Carrerous sued Oreatha Ogletree on the note.  A final judgement in favor of Oswald Carrerou was entered on July 9, 1990, by Polk County Judge, Harvey A. Kornstein.  Later, Oswald Carrerou filed a satisfaction of that judgement when he learned that Timothy Keaton had torn up his original check to avoid binding himself or his mother.  Keaton believed that Jan Partin had come up with the money for the lawyer.  Keaton did not know that Partin had obtained another check from the Carrerous.


     14.  The federal case was eventually settled without the need for Keaton to testify at a trial.  Meanwhile, Keaton got back together with April Marshall and appeared at the custody hearing on her side.


     15.  Commonly, and within the Housing Authority's function of providing services to tenants or other members of the public, housing authority staff make referrals to other social services agencies or resources.  The referral of Timothy Keaton to a landlord in a housing authority program was not within the scope of that appropriate function.  The greater weight of evidence established that it was Partin's romantic relationship with Keaton, rather than any eleemosynary impulse that motivated her misguided efforts on his behalf.




     16.  The Division of Administrative Hearings has jurisdiction in this proceeding pursuant to section 120.57(1), F.S., and Florida Commission on Ethics rule 34-5.010, F.A.C.


     17.  Section 112.313(6), F.S., provides:


            (6)  MISUSE OF PUBLIC POSITION.--No public

          officer or employee of an agency shall

          corruptly use or attempt to use his official

          position or any property or resource which

          may be within his trust, or perform his

          official duties, to secure a special

          privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself

          or others.  This section shall be not

          construed to conflict with s. 104.31.


"Corruptly" is defined in Section 112.312(9), F.S.:


            (9)  "Corruptly" means done with a wrongful

          intent and for the purpose of obtaining, or

          compensating or receiving compensation for,

          any benefit resulting from some act or

          omission of a public servant which is

          inconsistent with the proper performance of

          his public duties.


     18.  Jan Partin was, at the time of the incident at issue, an "employee of an agency" as provided in sections 112.313(6), F.S., and 112.312(2), F.S.


     19.  The greater weight of credible evidence established that Jan Partin used her official position in order to obtain a loan from the Carrerous to benefit a man with whom she was intimately involved.  That he was also a witness for the housing authority provided the excuse, but not the lawful justification, for her pressure on the Carrerous.  Her wrongful intent is determined from the circumstances surrounding her relationship with Keaton and the Carrerou's relationship with the housing authority.  The Acting Advocate proved the first violation of section 112.313(6), F.S., by Jan Partin.


     20.  The order finding probable cause states also that Partin represented to the Carrerous that the Housing Authority would repay the loan.  That was not proven.  At most, the evidence established that Jan Partin kept assuring the landlords that the loan would be repaid.  The Carrerous could have inferred that the housing authority itself was going to provide the payment, but no evidence established that Jan Partin made that specific representation.


     21.  The acting advocate has suggested a penalty of restitution and a fine of $5000 for each violation.  Section 112.317, F.S., establishes the types of penalties which may be imposed for violations of the code of ethics, which penalties vary in some regard, depending on whether the individual is still employed or is a public officer.  The evidence here did not establish Ms. Partin's current status, but only her status during the relevant period.  The penalties suggested by the Acting Advocate are appropriate under section 112.317, F.S., for both existing and former officers or employees and are, therefore, incorporated in this recommendation.




     Based on the foregoing, it is, hereby,




     That the Commission on Ethics enter its final order finding that Jan Partin violated section 112.313(6), F.S., and recommending restitution in the amount of $1200 and a civil penalty of $5000.


     DONE AND RECOMMENDED this 22nd day of December, 1993, in Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida.




                           MARY CLARK

                           Hearing Officer

                           Division of Administrative Hearings

                           The DeSoto Building

                           1230 Apalachee Parkway

                           Tallahassee, Florida  32399-1550



                           Filed with the Clerk of the

                           Division of Administrative Hearings

                           this 22nd day of December, 1993.





Claire D. Dryfuss, Esquire

Acting Advocate

Commission on Ethics

Office of the Attorney General

The Capitol, PL-01

Tallahassee, Florida  32399-1050


Robert H. Grizzard, II, Esquire

Post Office Box 992

Lakeland, Florida  33802-0992


Bonnie Williams, Executive Director

Ethics Commission

Post Office Drawer 15709

Tallahassee, Florida  32317-5709


Phil Claypool, General Counsel

Ethics Commission

Post Office Drawer 15709

Tallahassee, Florida  32317-5709





All parties have the right to submit written exceptions to this Recommended Order.  All agencies allow each party at least 10 days in which to submit written exceptions.  Some agencies allow a larger period within which to submit written exceptions.  You should contact the agency that will issue the final order in this case concerning agency rules on the deadline for filing exceptions to this Recommended Order.  Any exceptions to this Recommended Order should be filed with the agency that will issue the final order in this case.