In a series of posts about the former Seminole County, Florida, Tax Collector, starting with A Reason Not to Run for Tax Collector (or Any Other Office)?, and continuing through Perhaps Yet Another Reason Not to Run for Tax Collector, Running for Tax Collector (or Any Other Office)? Don’t Do These Things, When Behaving Badly as a Tax Collector Gets Even Worse, Tax Collector Behaving Badly: From Even Worse to Even More Than Even Worse, What Qualifications Are Needed to Be a Tax Collector?, and The Legacy of Misbehaving Tax Collectors, I reviewed the still-developing story about his alleged misdeeds while in office. Claims against him include stalking and impersonating a political opponent, impersonating a student, manufacturing fake IDs using information from drivers’ licenses surrendered to his office, sex trafficking a minor using information accessed through his office, spending public funds on a private enterprise he had formed, openly carrying firearms while wrongly claiming to be a revenue officer, and making a traffic stop while driving his personal vehicle. He also settled lawsuits brought by employees who alleged sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and First Amendment violations. As the allegations piled up, he resigned his office.

When I pointed out in Monday’s post that “It definitely is a still-developing story,” I didn’t expect that even more allegations would show up so quickly. Reader Morris, also fascinated by this story, directed my attention to this story. According to the report, the former tax collector has been accused of “ ‘practicing’ how to make fake concealed weapons permits.” According to federal prosecutors, earlier this year, when the section of the tax collector’s office that issues concealed carry permits was closed because of the pandemic, the former tax collector called an employee to find out how to fix the special printer that prints the permits, and when asked by the employee why he needed to use that printer when permits were not being issued, the former tax collector replied that he was simply “messing” with the printer. After he resigned his office, unspecified individuals found in his office pieces of the special card stock paper used for those permits, ad some show that he was experimenting at printing fake concealed weapons permits, particularly the security stripe.

One would think that a tax collector should be collecting taxes. For some reason, in Florida, tax collectors also do other things unrelated to tax collection, such as renewing and replacing drivers’ licenses, issuing copies of birth certificates, issuing hunting and fishing licenses, issuing concealed weapons permits, and other services best confined to other agencies. Concentration of too much power and authority in one office or one person is dangerous. The situation with the former Seminole County tax collector is proof enough of the need to diversify who provides these services.

By admin