BY JENNIFER CABRERA / DECEMBER 2, 2019
Former Gainesville City Auditor Carlos Holt filed suit against the City of Gainesville on November 25, accusing the city of retaliatory discharge under the Public Sector Whistle-blower’s Act.
The factual allegations in the suit lay out the events that led to Holt’s firing: He was hired as City Auditor in March 2015; in October, 2017, he issued an investigative report, as part of his job as Auditor, finding violations committed by then-City Manager Anthony Lyons; Lyons resigned in January, 2019, but stayed on in an advisory capacity until mid-February, 2019; starting in early February, 2019, mailings were sent to multiple members of the public that contained personal and private information about Holt, his wife, and his children; in April, 2019, Holt issued an audit report regarding the Reichert House, an after-school youth program owned by the city; and on June 6, 2019, Holt was fired by the City Commission.
Holt’s complaint states that he “disclosed to… the Gainesville City Commission, an investigative report substantiating violations committed by the City Manager regarding procurement and hiring issues… [and] an audit of the Reichert House that was critical of its processes.”
The Florida Whistle-blower’s Act states, “It is the intent of the Legislature to prevent agencies or independent contractors from taking retaliatory action against an employee who reports to an appropriate agency violations of law on the part of a public employer or independent contractor that create a substantial and specific danger to the public’s health, safety, or welfare.”
The complaint demands judgment for damages suffered by Holt as a result of his firing and also demands a jury trial. Holt is represented by Kenneth Hesser and Jennifer Kipke of Schatt Hesser McGraw in Ocala.