County Attorney’s December 31 resignation: ‘Gone Fishin” sign already hung on his office door

Stuart attorney and civic activist Virginia Sherlock details some curious and revealing correspondence from the County Attorney’s office: County Attorney Steve Fry’s resignation is effective December 31, 2012, but he’s already hung the “Gone Fishin'” sign on his office door.

Fry will be out of the office all next week and most of the rest of the year, apparently, with PTO (paid time off) or some other taxpayer-financed benefit that allows County employees to get paid for time not worked.

In response to a letter written September 12, 2012, by a local attorney inquiring about Pal-Mar property access, Fry advised on October 11, 2012, that “I have resigned as County Attorney.  I will provide your letter to my successor for a response after January 1, 2013.”

Curiously, Fry copied his letter to Ruth Clements, Esq., the former South Florida Water Management District chief real estate specialist who has been actively and aggressively lobbying to be named Fry’s successor as Martin County Attorney.

Ms. Clements retired from SFWMD shortly after the Palm Beach Post published a series of articles about questionable land deals and leasing practices by SFWMD in Okeechobee County, reporting that “Clements had come under fire over accusations that an Okeechobee official was allowed to graze cattle on district land without a lease.”  The Post also reported that Clements “defended five no-bid leases made to cattle ranchers a month after the district imposed a moratorium on leasing . . . (following) complaints about the district’s no-bid leases.”  Clements refused to comment to the Post reporter about the allegations.

There’s no indication as to why Clements was copied on Fry’s response to the inquiry he received about Pal-Mar property access.  But wait . . .

County Administration wants to hire a private real estate attorney to handle real estate matters for the County (since Fry and his three full-time assistant County attorneys are too busy to handle these matters) and Fry has advised that “with my imminent departure, the remainder of the CAO staff will be extra burdened and it is my recommendation that the County consider hiring a local real estate lawyer” for the purpose of “providing real estate support for this interim period” until Fry’s successor is named.

It appears that Mr. Fry may have indeed have posted a sign on his way out the door.  Something’s definitely fishy . . .























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