Ethics panel clears Delray Beach lawn worker

ethics logoDelray Beach parks and recreation maintenance worker Gordon Eaton was cleared Thursday by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics of charges that he worked for an outside landscape firm that did business with the city.

The commission issued a ruling of “no probable cause” after a 15-minute closed-door meeting.

City Manager Donald Cooper had written the commission May 19 to say an audit indicated the city had paid Tropical Landscaping a total $1,264 in 2012 and 2014 for the purchase of plants. The audit also showed records indicating Eaton was either an officer of the firm or its liaison with the city.

But both Eaton, who’s worked for the city since 2007, and the firm’s owners, said Eaton never had worked for the firm, and Eaton had received no money for the city for any work he would have done for Tropical.

Both Eaton and the firm said they had no idea why the payments showed up in city records. Eaton had gone so far as to file a police report in Palm Beach Gardens, where he lives, alleging identity theft.

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