Terminated Acting Executive Director of Keep Alachua County Beautiful claims retaliation after man on probation was arrested in his rental property

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with information about ownership of the house.

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Eric Shirone Thompson, 46, was arrested yesterday after a search warrant reportedly found multiple firearms and narcotics in the house he was renting; the owner of the house has claimed that the action was taken in retaliation against him.

The now-terminated Acting Executive Director of Keep Alachua County Beautiful (KACB), Tyler Smith, was evicted this week from a City-owned house where the nonprofit had previously hosted a clean-up event. According to a TV20 story, City officials said the nonprofit was not authorized to use the house as an office; Smith told TV20, “We’re here because of our desperate circumstances. We had mold and sewage in our other office and this was our only available option.” Smith’s email signature still shows the KACB logo but lists his title as “Terminated Acting Executive Director.”

Yesterday, Gainesville Police Department (GPD) officers served a search warrant on a different house, owned by Preserving Architecture Through History LLC, and arrested Thompson, who is on probation. According to Thompson’s arrest report, the investigation and warrant execution found that the residence was involved in illegal narcotics trafficking. The search reportedly found multiple firearms, including one under Thompson’s pillow on his bed; about 3.5 grams of fentanyl FTP; and tools used to prepare cocaine.

Post Miranda, Thompson reportedly admitted that he knew firearms were in the residence and said he had recently purchased narcotics and had flushed some narcotics down the toilet.

Thompson has 23 felony convictions (one violent) and four misdemeanor convictions (none violent). He is on probation for possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling drugs. He was sentenced to three years in state prison, followed by five years of probation. Thompson has served seven state prison sentences and was last released in July 2020. Judge Meshon Rawls ordered him held without bail.

Preserving Architecture Through History LLC was incorporated by Tyler Smith in March 2023, but there are no documents filed in Sunbiz; the page says “Rejected filing” at the top. The business owns four properties in Gainesville, including the home where Thompson was arrested.

Smith sent an email to Gainesville City Manager Cynthia Curry yesterday, stating, “I have never thought the city would retaliate against me. I just left my rental property… which I rent to a low-income family as an affordable housing rental property. Without a warrant, the police busted my windows and my gate instead of asking me to provide access to the house. Please tell me if the city is going to be reimbursing me for the unnecessary damages.” Curry referred the email to GPD Assistant Chief Nelson Moya.

GPD released a statement today that said the service of the search warrant was the “result of a meticulous and long-term investigation that revealed criminal activities linked to the dwelling’s resident, a multiple-time convicted felon.” The statement said the search warrant was originally issued on December 15, 2023, long before Smith moved KACB into the City-owned house. The execution of the search warrant was delayed for unknown reasons, and the search warrant was re-issued on January 30, 2024. According to GPD’s statement, “At no point was the Police Department aware that the owner of the property had any ties to ‘Keep Alachua County Beautiful’ nor subsequent other matters.”

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Eric Thompson is a long time dope trafficker that should be in prison. You’re not a victim. You’re a person who takes federal money to rent a property and this is what happens. Sorry for your luck.

  • Well Stevie your kind gesture of renting to a low income dope dealer backfired. Maybe a background check on the renter would have given you a clue. 7 prison sentences, 24 convictions, and on probation what could possibly go wrong there. I’m sure you got first month and last month plus security deposit. Hopefully your insurance should cover it or maybe ask Uncle Harvey for a loan. As for the POS you rented to may he rot in prison.

  • Sounds like Mr. Smith needs to learn what the word accountability means and stop blaming someone else for his mistakes. First off- Who in their right mind thinks they can just move into a city owned property without permission because “they had no other options”. That’s not how life works. Secondly -if you want to be a landlord maybe you should have thought wisely and done a background check on your tenant.

    These are your own stupid decisions. Own them….

  • Sounds like Mr.Smith opened pandoras box on himself by causing such a mess in the public view. From the looks of the rejected filings and the properties he owns that there is a need for FDLE and/or a referral to other state agencies and the IRS which sounds appropriate. As a concerned citizen, I will be doing more research on these entities and then forward my findings to the appropriate agency for further investigation. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. See you on mug shots soon Mr. Smith. As for the guy who got arrested, it seems he found the right place to a tenant.

  • W T F is wrong with our stupid city? This is a 3-way NGO+govt+NGO circle jerk doom loop! “ Preserving Architecture Through History LLC” appears to be a Corinne Brown style non-profit money laundering op — with felons, drugs and guns thrown in!
    Why can’t the 97% non-voters in this town wake up?

  • Mr Tyler Smith was crying that his fake non-profit had to move out of its old habitat because of mold, etc. He picks a city owned property, but owns 4 additional properties under another fake non-profit, but rented them out. Is that about right?

  • If I didn’t know better I would swear it sounds as if the city is funding crack houses.

  • G.P.D loves doing hearsay warrants imagine going and serving a warrant on simply hearsay alone I wish a investigative journalist would look into the hearsay warrants that are being served all over the city of Gainesville

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