WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting an inquiry into allegations made by a former employee who says she was raped by former city administrator Jeff Green at City Hall.
FDLE has not launched a criminal investigation at this point.
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Mayor Keith James said FDLE has reached out to the former employee, asking her for an interview.
"What’s important to me is that there is some kind of official investigation," Mayor James said on Thursday.
Commissioners had asked for an external investigation by FDLE during a meeting.
At that meeting, James and city staff recommended commissioners approve a $180,000 settlement for the former employee regarding sexual harassment allegations. She had stated she had received sexually charged messages, including graphic pictures, from Willie Perez and Green. Perez is the regional director of a security company that won a controversial $7.9 million no-bid contract.
Commissioners said they felt steamrolled by the settlement and asked for more information and an external investigation into the rape allegations.
The whole situation resulted in State Rep. Matt Willhite writing a letter to the Gov. Ron DeSantis, asking him to investigate the matter. The mayor sent a response to the governor.
"I just wanted to send the letter to the governor to give him the full story and the accurate story," Mayor James said.
The mayor said in his letter that the city would fully cooperate with an investigation by the governor’s office, but he hopes that won’t be necessary.
Mayor James also said the former employee had told staff it wasn’t just her who received sexually charged messages from Green.
"Based upon the evidence that my team reviewed at the mediation, it appeared that there may be other employees who were the recipient of some of these text messages," Mayor James said.
And then there is a text message exchange between Mayor James and city staff in May, regarding the appointment of new Police Chief Frank Adderley.
The conversation was about the Downtown Development Authority and how the organization hadn’t sent a letter of support.
Mayor James wrote, "Seriously? They realize I appoint their board right?"
Later he wrote, "We will get the letter. I put the fear of God into Rafael and a few of his board members."
Contact 5 spoke with Raphael Clemente, Executive Director of the DDA, on Thursday.
"I wasn’t surprised by his tone," Clemente said. "I didn’t understand why he was under the impression that we were not supportive. Whoever gave him that information, I was able to clarify that."
Mayor James said there was nothing unusual about his conversation with Clemente.
"I had a conversation with Mr. Clemente, and a very strongly worded conversation with Mr. Clemente, which isn’t unusual when you reach out to organizations that you’re looking for assistance for," Mayor James said.