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West Palm mayor says FDLE can’t investigate rape allegations, but FDLE says it still hasn’t decided

Posted at 4:41 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 04:23:43-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach commissioners had asked for an external investigation into rape allegations brought forward by a former employee against then-city administrator Jeff Green.

On Monday, Mayor Keith James said the city had reached out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but was told that FDLE couldn’t do an investigation because the alleged victim had not filed a complaint with police.

"There’s not been a complaint filed, therefore there’s not a police report, therefore there’s not anything an independent investigator can investigate," James told WPTV Contact 5 reporter Wanda Moore.

But that’s not what FDLE told Contact 5.

A spokesperson for the agency said they are still waiting for a formal letter from the mayor’s office asking for an investigation, as well as documentation and evidence.

The spokesperson said the agency had not yet determined whether an investigation was warranted.

The allegations of rape surfaced late, through a letter sent by the attorney of the alleged victim. The mayor said that was the first time he had heard about those allegations.

"Absolutely," James said. "I didn’t know about that. That didn’t come up in the mediation."

James said the evidence presented during the six-hour long mediation, which concluded with an $180,000 settlement proposal, was overwhelming when it came to the sexual harassment allegations.

"There’s not a lot of defenses the city has there," James said Monday. "So really there is no investigation there, because the evidence has been presented. There was no debate as to whether Jeff Green was involved with those communications."

The former employee said she received numerous sexually charged messages from Green, as well as a graphic picture of Willie Perez’s private parts. Perez is the regional director of a security company that received a controversial $7.9 million no-bid contract.

The mayor, city attorney, and city administrator urged commissioners to approve the settlement, but commissioners rejected it unanimously on Nov. 15, all citing a lack of information.

"We had only heard one side of the story and there was no way, in good conscious, I could vote for to support any amount, much less $180,000 based on one side of the story," said Commissioner Cory Neering on Monday.

Commissioner Richard Ryles stated he had learned more about the settlement from the media than from city staff. The city admitted it had not reached out to Green.

The settlement was purely dealing with the sexual harassment allegations and not the allegations of rape, the mayor said.

The issue has now caught the eye of State Rep. Matt Willhite, who sent a letter to the governor’s office, asking for an investigation.

Several commissioners said they still want an external investigation and don’t want to brush the issue aside.

"An external investigation, whether it’s FDLE, whether it’s internal but separate from this administration, is going to be critically important," Neering said.

Meanwhile, commissioners renewed their request to have the security contract go out for bid again and are looking at a timeline of when and how that can be accomplished.