Ethics Complaint Filed Against Edwards

Todays News

An ethics complaint was filed against Sarasota County School Board member Tom Edwards over his financial disclosures from 2020.

Ashley Beaudry, a Venice activist and frequent School Board critic, filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics raising concerns about reported income for the elected official. In his 2020 disclosures, Edwards lists only a School Board salary. He values that at $40,138, though that appears to be erroneous as he was only sworn into office in November after winning his School Board seat in an August primary. Tax records indicate, Edwards only earned $3,643 during 2020 for the position.

While that appears to be a mistake in which income was written on the form, Beaudry described it as actively dishonest. But she also raised a question over what did not appear to be reported at all. Edwards ran for office on a business background but lists no income besides his public post-election salary.

“Tom Edwards Lied on his 2020 Financial Disclosure Form,” Beaudry wrote in her complaint. “In part D he listed only one income item. He listed income from the Sarasota County School Board. While his W2 clearly shows income of $3,643.49 in box one he reported $40,138 in Part D of his 2020 Form 6. He reported no other income on his form 6. How was he able to make car payments on the liability on Part C of the Form 6 and pay for his normal bills with only $3,643 of income for the entire year. It would appear that not only did he falsify his income that he did report, but clearly there is income not reported.”

Edwards characterized the problems with his forms as a mistake by a first-time candidate and elected official.

“I believe in transparency and I believe that public officials should be accountable to any wrong doing, whether it is the president of the United States or a School Board member,” he said. “I will be happy to cooperate with the Ethics Commission if in fact I am found to have committed a clerical error to rectify the situation.”

 

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