Bogus Inspections Lead to Resignation of Palm Coast’s Chief Building Inspector

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Charlie Mini, Palm Coast’s lengthy-time leader building inspector, resigned, remaining fall in mild of an internal investigation that observed he became manipulating inspection reviews, which include signing off on inspections he had not certainly finished in character and favoring one precise contractor over others.

 

The town’s eight-web page investigative document become documented via the permitting database and GPS monitoring that showed Mini’s whereabouts, indicating allowing-inspection locations where he did and did now not stop.

“The allegations in opposition to you’re severe,” Wendy Cullen, the town’s human sources director, wrote Mini on Oct. 22, putting him on administrative depart pending the of the entirety of the research. “Specifically, it has been alleged that on a couple of events, you have surpassed inspections without touring the location and physically performing stated inspections.” Mini mentioned Cullen’s word. Cullen hand-wrote a note on the awareness: “Charlie does now not believe this.”

A month later, Mini resigned, pronouncing he’d enjoyed his time with the city but “determined it is time to explore other opportunities.” (Mini commenced Charlie Mini started work for the town in March 2006. He turned into making $ sixty-nine 400 at the time of his resignation. As of June 6, he changed into nonetheless listed as a primary building inspector on the city’s contact page in his name.)

The accusations towards Mini were brought ahead with two witnesses’ aid, consistent with the investigative report. The allegations and research pre-date with the aid of a few weeks every other comparable whistleblower case caused the disciplining of numerous town personnel and inside the constructing department after they had regularly occurring whiskey bottles from a contractor. Several personnel has been suspended without pay for a few days; one resigned before completing the investigation, any other resigned next to it, though no longer necessary because of it. Both investigations pre-date via months the advent of City Manager Matthew Morton, taking vicinity in the course of Deputy Manager Beau Falgout’s tenure as meantime manager.

The city set up a whistle-blower reporting system thru its internet site that brought about as a minimum 3 inner investigations with effects for personnel. Three months ago, a similar grievance caused the firing of the metropolis’s golfing pro at Palm Harbor Golf Club.

Allegations towards Mini targeted his relationship with Hernan Longo of Crystal Clear Custom Pools, an organization that operates in Flagler, St. Johns, and Volusia counties. A whistle-blower mentioned to the metropolis that Mini “is passing inspections for buddy’s pool contracting enterprise right now after the allows had already been failed by using other building inspectors,” in step with the internal research. The research changed into carried out through Jay Maher, the city’s compliance manager in the rate of ethics and agreement fraud investigations. The whistle-blower had a listing of “many pool construction initiatives” in which that had allegedly taken place.

The identical whistle-blower claimed Longo had accomplished tremendous pool work at Mini’s home, free of price and with outlets in. In keeping with the report, Mini denies the allegation and said he did not socialize with Longo beyond being friends on Facebook.

The witness told the investigator he had non-public know-how of the matter due to the fact his very own pool “was constructed through Hernan of Crystal Clear Pools and had failed the initial Pool Final inspection because the contractor had set up too small a pump,” the record states. A day or so later, Mini got here returned and “surpassed the pool even though no changes had been made to the pool pump.” The witness then claimed that the contractor’s own personal pool had lately failed lower back-to-again inspections for being constructed too near the neighbor’s property. A third inspection changed into scheduled. It became “canceled through the contractor so that the Chief Building Inspector might be the one that did the Final Pool inspection.” The contractor wanted that exceeded inspection, the witness informed the investigator, because he became seeking to sell the house. Mini passed the inspection, and the house was bought, consistent with the document.

The research consists of the account of a state-certified pool contractor who suggested operating for Crystal Pool and performing paintings totaling $37,000 (for which complained he’d no longer been paid), and that the employer’s owner had informed him he has a “Goombah” within the city’s building department who passes inspections for him. The equal contractor, who isn’t always named within the investigation, advised the investigator that he had himself at instances taken images of labor he’d done, sent them to Mini, and had Mini bypass the inspection based handiest on the one’s pictures. There had been times in which different inspectors had disapproved of labor that Mini might then accept. Longo did now not respond to a name or an e-mail before this text was initially published.