Shannon Martin: Port St. Lucie Councilwoman agrees to pay $250 fine for civil infraction

FORT PIERCE - Port St. Lucie City Councilwoman Shannon Martin appeared in court Wednesday and was ordered to pay a fine of $250 related to a civil infraction of destroying a public record by deleting text messages.

Appearing briefly before St. Lucie County Judge Kathryn Nelson, Martin said she accepted responsibility for her actions.

"I want to pay the fine," she said, without elaborating.

Assistant State Attorney Ryan Butler told Nelson that during their 10-month investigation, they found no evidence Martin had any criminal intent to violate open records laws.

"She did accept responsibility," Butler said in court. "She could have feigned righteous indignation, but she didn't do that."

Last month, Martin and Port St. Lucie Mayor JoAnn Faiella were cited with civil infractions of destruction of a public record by deleting text messages.

Faiella faces an additional infraction for allegedly discussing former City Manager Greg Oravec's employment with City Attorney Roger Orr, officials have said.

Martin could have faced a maximum fine of $500.

Councilman Ron Bowen faces a second-degree misdemeanor for allegedly using City Attorney Roger Orr as an intermediary to discuss Oravec's employment with Faiella, records show.

The State Attorney's Office has said that violates state laws that prohibit two or more elected officials from discussing public business outside of a scheduled open meeting.

Oravec and the city entered a separation agreement in February.

Bowen has pleaded not guilty and his attorney has said he intends to fight the charge.

Gov. Rick Scott last week suspended Bowen from the council.

Prosecutors initiated an investigation after Oravec in February released 85 pages of notes and emails that referenced possible insider conversation about a severance package in exchange for his resignation.

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