On Wednesday, the Florida Commission on Ethics released an official statement that it found probable cause that Lantana mayor David Stewart used or attempted to use his position to secure a benefit for himself, or that he solicited something of value from a constituent with the understanding his judgment, vote, or official action would be influenced, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Stewart is accused of abusing his power with a constituent who wanted speed bumps installed in her neighborhood. According to complaints filed by Catherine Padilla, who was petitioning for traffic-calming speed humps in her community, the town’s mayor would make sure her neighborhood received the speed bumps if she would have sex with him.
Stewart has been the mayor of Lantana, a town of just over 10,000 residents on the state’s Atlantic coast, since 2000. He denies Padilla’s allegations.
Padilla’s complaint was filed with the ethics commission in January 2018. In it, she contends that after a 2015 lunch at the Lake Worth Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill, Stewart drove them to a motel and solicited her for sex. Padilla says she refused to get out of the car, and that she refused subsequent solicitations in which Stewart specifically referred to the speed bumps and whether sex would sway his decision.
After the town council granted the speed bumps in 2015, Padilla says Stewart told her he’d have the speed humps removed because she did not have sex with him or thank him for the speed breakers. Padilla is now calling for Stewart’s resignation.
Stewart has the option to settle the case or attend a hearing before an administrative law judge, where he could face several outcomes, including civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation or his removal from office.