Lantana mayor facing removal of office or fines after report of sexual harassment

Posted: 7:17 PM, Oct 25, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-26 01:41:40Z

The Florida Commission on Ethics has found probable cause that Lantana Mayor Dave Stewart asked for sex in exchange for political favors.

"When something like this happens you have to stand up for what's right," Catherine Padillia said. 

Padillia wrote a letter to the State of Florida Commission on Ethics that Lantana Mayor Dave Stewart sexually harassed her and asked her for sex in exchange for speed bumps in her neighborhood.

"I was disgusted I was shocked that somebody in that position would use his power and try to coerce sex out of somebody," she told WPTV.

This week, the Commission on Ethics released its findings. 

"The commission found probable cause to believe that Lantana Mayor David Stewart misused his position to attempt to obtain a sexual benefit for himself," a statement said.

Back in February we first spoke to Padillia about her complaint. She told us that in August of 2015 after a lunch Mayor Stewart took her to a motel and asked her to join him inside.

"He pulled into this motel and got out of his van and I just kept motioning no, no I'm not interested, hello comeback," she said.

According to the investigation report - Mayor Stewart denied going to lunch with Padillia that day. But a witness came forward and gave a statement to the commission that he saw Stewart and Padillia at lunch together. 

In February Mayor Stewart denied the allegations to WPTV over the phone. 

"In the 18 years I've been Mayor there has never been a quid pro quo or anything asked for or given in favor of me voting in a special or certain direction," he said.

If found in violation of the ethics laws Mayor Stewart faces removal from office or fines up to $10,000 dollars per violation. Padillia says she is glad he's being held accountable.

"I would like to see him step down. He needs to go," she said. 

Mayor Stewart is currently now facing criminal charges. WPTV reached out to him for comment, Thursday but we have not heard back.