LANTANYA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Commission on Ethics says there is probable cause that Lantana Mayor Dave Stewart asked for sex in exchanged for political favors.
The woman who filed the complaint wants to see him step down and encouraged others who have felt sexually harassed to come forward.
“When something like this happens you have to stand up for what’s right,” said accuser Catherine Padillia.
A letter sparked a nine month investigation.
In it, Padilla wrote to the state of Florida Commission on Ethics that Stewart sexually harassed her and asked for sex in exchanged for speed bumps in her neighborhood.
“I was disgusted, I was shocked that somebody in that position would use his power and try to coerce sex out of somebody,” said Padillia.
The Commission on Ethics released its findings this week.
In a statement, the commission said, “the commission found probable cause to believe that Lantana Mayor David Stewart misused his position to attempt to obtain a sexual benefit for himself.”
Padilla said that in August of 2015, after a lunch, Mayor Stewart took her to a motel and asked her to join him inside.
“He pulled into this motel and got out of his van and I just kept motioning, ‘no, no I’m not interested, hello comeback.’”
According to the investigation report, Stewart denied going to lunch with Padilla that day.
But a witness came forward and gave a statement to the commission that he saw Stewart and Padilla at lunch together.
“In the 18 years I’ve been Mayor there has never been a quid pro quo or anything asked for or given in favor of me voting in a special or certain direction,” Stewart said in February.
If found in violation of the ethics law, Stewart faces removal from office or fines up to $10,000 per violation.
Padilla said she’s glad he’s being held accountable.
“I would like to see him step down. He needs to go,” she said.