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Florida ethics commission chair quits after conflict-of-interest exposed

State ethics commission chairman Glenton ‘Glen’ Glizean Jr. Photo: Disney Fanatic

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org

Florida ethics commission chairman Glenton “Glen” Gilzean Jr. resigned Tuesday, opting instead to hold onto his $400,000-a-year job as administrator of the Central Florida special district that Florida removed from the control of the Walt Disney Company.

Gilzean’s resignation comes a week after Florida Bulldog first reported his conflict-of-interest by holding public employment.

“It recently came to my attention that my position as District Administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District may not be compatible with my position as a member and Chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics. After reviewing this matter with legal counsel, I have decided that prudence dictates that I discontinue serving in one of the two positions. Therefore, I respectfully tender my resignation from the Florida Commission on Ethics, effective immediately,” Gilzean wrote in a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In fact, there was no question that his dual posts were incompatible. Tthe nine-member ethics commission’s “Statement of Organization and Operation” clearly says, “No member holds any public employment.” And its website repeats that prohibition on the “About Us” page: “No member may hold any public employment or serve more than two full terms in succession.”

DeSantis, with the concurrence of the Florida Senate, appointed Gilzean to the commission three times, starting in 2019. But he did so even though Gilzean was ineligible for his most recent appointment in April. That’s because the commission’s organization statement also says, “All members serve two-year terms and may not serve more than two full terms in succession.”

Glenton ‘Glen’ Gilzean Jr. with Gov. Ron DeSantis

On his way out the door, Gilzean attempted to point the finger for his blunder at the ethics commission’s general counsel, Steven Zuilkowski.

GILZEAN POINTS FINGER

“When the opportunity originally arose for me to work with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District [to which he was appointed by a board of supervisors handpicked by Gov. DeSantis], I engaged legal counsel to draft a contract with the District, and discussed the potential position with commission staff, including the General Counsel for the Commission, to determine whether serving in both positions presented any issue or conflict,” Gilzean wrote in his letter to DeSantis.

“The potential for a conflict between my position with the District and with my service on the Commission on Ethics did not come up at that time with any of the counsel that I consulted, including the Commission’s general counsel. At the time of accepting my position to the Center Florida Tourism Oversight District it was my understanding that there was no issue in continuing to serve as a member of the Florida Commission on Ethics.”

Commission General Counsel Steven Zuilkowski had a different recollection. In his legal opinion he mentioned an April 26 call with Gilzean and Commission executive director Kerrie Stillman. He said Stillman informed Gilzean of the law and “you informed us that you had received legal advice elsewhere about holding both positions. You stated you would contact me if you wanted my legal opinion.”

Gilzean’s letter goes on, “Indeed, after I began my high profile position of working for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, I chaired two meetings of the Commission and the issue of incompatibility between the two positions was never raised by the Commission’s Executive Director or General Counsel. Regrettably, if I had been aware of any issue presented by serving in the two positions, I would have addressed it immediately,” Gilzean wrote, suggesting he has not read the commission’s basic rules.

“That’s why, months after my acceptance of the District position [in May], upon seeing media reports and learning that an issue between the two positions may exist, immediately requested a legal opinion from the General Counsel of the Commission on Ethics regarding the issue.”

Gilzean got that six-page legal opinion in his hands on Thursday. “It appears that your position as District Administrator for the District is public employment. Maintaining public employment is inconsistent with the requirements” of the law,” Zuilkowski wrote.

At first, Gilzean balked at quitting, saying he’d let everyone know before the commission’s Sept. 8 meeting. He soon changed his mind.

“In the end, despite all of this, it is my responsibility to address this issue expediently,” he wrote. “I will always be grateful for the confidence the Governor demonstrated in me by affording me the privilege to serve…May God continue to bless the free State of Florida.”

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Latest comments

  • Chair of the Ethics commission, lol. Florida makes NJ look honest.

  • Florida makes the Mafia look honest!

  • Gov. DiSaster strikes again. Destroying Florida one day at a time.

  • THANK YOU & Congratulations DAN! I absolutely believe Mr. Glizean’s prompt Resignation is due to the Article you wrote and published in the BULLDOG WATCHDOG!! People need to know. Keep up the good work.

  • He lead the committee that wants to bag filthy Greg toney. Not sure what this means to that. Of course, Desantis is scared pissless of toney so it doesn’t matter who leads the ethics committee.

  • Pretty startling when a guy accepts a job to head the State Commission on Ethics, and plainly doesn’t know or care beans about ethics isn’t it? But then again, that’s the way Ron DeSantis likes his cat’s-paws.

  • ETHICS=A NON-EXCITANT STATE FEED TO THE CITIZENS OF AMERICA AS OBTAINABLE!
    AS IN THE STATE I FIND MYSELF IN PASCO COUNTY FL. A PERSON ASSUMING ANOTHER’S IDENTITY SELLS ME A PIECE OF LAND. RECORDS THE SALE AT THE CITY HALL OF PORT RICHEY FL. OF 7240 QUIET LN PORT RICHEY 34668 ON 12/2/2013.

    SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT IGNORES IT
    STATES ATTORNEY IGNORES IT
    EVERY COUNTY OFFICE IGNORES IT
    EVERY STATE AGENCY IGNORES IT

    WHERE AFTER 10 YEARS OF FELONIES BEING COMMITTED TARGETING MY FAMILY/
    A COUNTY ATTORNEY THREATENED MY 10 YEAROLD GRANDDAUGHTER WITH VIOLENCE. AND TOLD MY DAUGHTER IF THEY WERE LIVING IN THE FAMILY OWNED HOME. WHEN THEY CAME. SHE WOULDN’T SEE HER KID AGAIN TILL SHE WAS 18.
    FOR AS OF THE 5TH OF JULY 2023 THE ONES TO SUFFER FOR ALL THE FELONIES COMMITTED AGAINST US. IS US . BECAUSE THE COUNTY DEMOLISHED OUR HOME.
    GOVERNOR’S OFFICE CONTACTED HUNDREDS OF TIMES

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