Ocala, Florida — Ocala Post is currently investing city councilman John M. McLeod, after receiving information that suggests he failed to list all real property on his Statement of Financial Interests’ forms.
The disclosure of all real property as an elected official is state law.
The submitted complaint against McLeod reads:
Please accept this complaint against John M. McLeod. Mr. McLeod has been a city councilman representing the city of Ocala’s 4th district since December 6th, 2011. In that time Mr. McLeod has filed four ‘Form 1: Statement of Financial Interests’ forms (encl.) While there are several inconsistencies with Mr. McLeod’s disclosures (for one, while required, the manner of calculating re-portable interests is never disclosed on any of the four submitted forms,) this complaint is specifically about the failure to disclose all real property under ‘Part C’ of the ‘Form 1.’
As required by s. 112.3145 (3) (a) 3, local officers must report “the location or description of real property in this state . . . when such person owns in excess of 5 percent of the value of such real property.” The ‘Form 1’ instructions further state that an officer or candidate for office must list “all real property in Florida in which you owned directly or indirectly at any time during the previous tax year” and further clarifies two important points.
- “Indirect ownership includes situations where you are a beneficiary of a trust that owns the property, as well as situations where you are more than a 5% partner in a partnership or stockholder in a corporation that owns the property.”
- “The location or description of the property should be sufficient to enable anyone who looks at the form to identify the property. A street address should be used, if one exists.”
Please find the following:
- Mr. McLeod, as self-reported on each of his attached financial discloser forms, is a more than 5% stockholder in Silver Springs Groves, Inc. In fact, he reported in 2011 the he was a 30% stock-owner of the corporation.
- In a short review of Marion, Alachua, and Citrus counties, 18 properties owned by Silver Springs Groves, Inc. were found that are not disclosed on any of the ‘Form 1’ disclosures submitted by Mr. McLeod (Encl. with parcel number, address, transfer history, book and page of transfer when available.) Mr. McLeod’s failure to disclose his interests in these properties prohibits “anyone who looks” from determining potential conflicts of interest and should be corrected.
During a phone conversation, State of Florida Commission on Ethics spokesperson Kerrie Stillman said, “At this time, we can neither confirm nor deny an investigation in regards to a complaint against John M. McLeod.”
Ocala Post reached out to the city council, however, a response was not received.
Stay tuned for more details.