Riviera Beach City Council asks for audit into insurance scandal

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - The discord on the Riviera Beach City Council was on full display during Tuesday’s special council meeting. 

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“I’ve given you, Mr. Mayor, the utmost respect,” chairwoman Tonya Davis Johnson said. “But the same has not been returned to me.”

Davis Johnson seemed to grow more and more frustrated with the proceedings. It ended with her apologizing to Councilwoman Julia Botel, who said she felt Davis Johnson made some snide remarks about her. 

“(Council is) not on the same boat,” Botel said. “It’s a shame.”

Tuesday night the council discussed the latest scandal in the city. 

How was it possible nobody noticed the city kept paying the insurance for 77 people who were no longer employed with the city, costing the taxpayer over a million dollars.

“You have to have someone guarding the taxpayers' money,” a resident said. 

City staff presented details on what has been done to prevent this from happening in the future. 

The question remains who is responsible? 

Botel is asking for a full audit.

“Come in and examine the policies and procedures because I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Botel said. 

Mayor Thomas Masters said he wants accountability. “Some heads need to roll, and some butts need to be kicked, and somebody needs to be fired. Period,” Masters said. 

Contact 5 uncovered it was former Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans who wanted to discuss the matter the night he was fired. 

“(That’s when) it became even more horrifying,” Botel said. 

Botel ran against councilwoman Dawn Pardo after Pardo joined forces with council members Lynne Hubbard and Terence Davis to fire Evans. 

On Tuesday, Hubbard blamed Evans partly for the insurance issue, saying he should have made it clear to the council.

“If it was a clear issue, and he had a clear concern with it, I think that should have been an item within itself,” Hubbard said.

People in the audience demanded answers.
 
“Why did you let this go for 10 months?” A resident asked.

Wednesday the council is holding another meeting, the third in one week, as problems the city is facing are stacking up.

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