Ex-councilwoman may have violated state Constitution for failing to file disclosure form

The Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause that former Volusia County Councilwoman Heather Post violated the Florida Constitution for failing to file a financial disclosure form for the year 2021, according to documents.

Heather Post
Heather Post

As of Wednesday, the commission still hadn't received the financial disclosure document, according to Lynn Blais, spokeswoman for the Florida Commission on Ethics.

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The "Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests" form for 2021 was due July 1, 2022. The Commission on Ethics provides a grace period until Sept. 1 before fines start to accrue at $25 per day up to $1,500, Blais said.

But a DeLand resident filed a complaint with the ethics commission about the issue saying "local officials should be held responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the position," according to a preliminary investigation report.

On Jan. 27, the Commission on Ethics found probable cause to believe that Post "violated Florida's Constitution and disclosure law by failing to timely file her 2021 Form 6," according to a press release.

The Commission on Ethics reached out to Post multiple times via email, phone and regular mail to remind her of the missing form.

Post called the Commission on Sept. 12 and said she was injured falling down a flight of stairs in April 2022 and that "she would 'take an Uber to get the form overnighted' to the Commission," according to the report. But the form didn't come in.

A collection letter was sent In November to Post at her Volusia County government office to let her know her fines had accrued to the maximum of $1,500 and that the matter would be turned over to a collection agency, according to the report.

Blais said the next step in the process can be either Post attempting to reach a stipulated agreement with an advocate for the commission or going to a full evidentiary hearing with the state Division of Administrative Hearings.

Whatever path the investigation takes, the case will go back to the commission, she said. Then the commission will make a recommendation, which can include additional fines and penalties. The commission's recommendation would go to the governor for review.

Post filed her documents for 2016 through 2020.

Failure to file after the grace period can lead to removal from office. But this case has an added layer because someone also filed an ethics complaint, Blais said.

The financial forms are important because they can help the public spot potential conflicts of interest, among other things.

"You can kind of know where their interests lie," Blais said.

Post was first elected in 2016 and left the Council in December. She couldn't immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Missing financial form brings trouble for former Volusia councilwoman