- April 25, 2015
Facing a $129,600 court-imposed penalty for filing false complaints against county officials, former Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks on April 5 sought the county's leniency, asking the County Commission to agree a $20,000 settlement.
Commissioners weren't interested.
"I'd feel a little softer about it if she'd apologized," Commissioner Greg Hansen said, "but she didn't."
"This letter is really an insult to my intelligence, to Mr. Ericksen's intelligence and a lot of other people's, and it’s an attempt just to not suffer the consequences of what has been a longterm behavior."
– DONALD O'BRIEN, Flagler County commission chairman
Weeks and a handful of other individuals — including Dennis McDonald, a former candidate for County Commission; and Mark Richter Jr., son of former County Commission candidate Mark Richter —had filed more than two dozen Ethics Commission and Elections Commission complaints against county officials in 2014.
Administrative law judges found the complaints to overwhelmingly range from frivolous to maliciously false.
Weeks' complaints had targeted County Attorney Al Hadeed and then-County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen.
The county, after being vindicated in hearings, pursued Weeks, McDonald and Richter to recoup attorneys' fees.
The court has already entered judgements against Richter and McDonald, and an April 8 hearing is set for Weeks. She's expected to be ordered to pay $129,600, plus interest of 6.83% until it's paid.
At a commission meeting April 5, Hadeed said he'd received the settlement offer from Weeks by email late the night before.
After spending years as the target of her ire, Hadeed read Weeks' plea for leniency to the commission. Ericksen attended the April 5 meeting to watch.
Writing that she's had extensive legal bills over the past several years — Weeks was convicted of illegally recording officials and others' conversations and served a month in jail, and, as a convicted felon, has forfeited her state pension —Weeks wrote that she does not have any savings, but would borrow $20,000 for a settlement if the county would agree to it.
"I meant no harm or malice towards Mr. Hadeed or Mr. Ericksen when filing the complaints, I simply was trying to do an honorable job as a public elected official, and I am sorry for any stress and emotional effects you have endured from these filings," she wrote. "It certainly has been an emotional torment to me going through this ordeal which has also been financially devastating."
Commissioners were unpersuaded.
"There was absolutely no absence of malice here," said County Commissioner Donald O'Brien. "... This letter is really an insult to my intelligence, to Mr. Ericksen's intelligence, and a lot of other people's, and it’s an attempt just to not suffer the consequences of what has been a longterm behavior."
But, he added, "I fall back also on my Christian teaching of mercy, and I’m totally conflicted."
Commissioner David Sullivan noted that the letter didn't seem to contain any admission of guilt.
"She had numerous times over the last five years to have backed out of this," he said. "... She fought this all along with lawyers in every possible way she could."
After confirming with Hadeed that they could still negotiate with Weeks after the judgement is entered, commissioners voted unanimously to reject Weeks' offer.