Commissioner wants third party to investigate if fellow commissioner tried to hide chief's affair

Chief's mistress says Billy Keel wanted her quiet

PLANT CITY, Fla. - A Plant City commissioner is now calling on a third party to investigate whether a fellow commissioner tried to silence the police chief's mistress so the chief could keep his job.

The city manager fired Chief Steven Singletary Tuesday evening after an investigation found he was hiding a three year extra-marital affair and used city time and resources to facilitate the relationship.

His mistress, Melissa Hardwick, told city investigators that Singletary's friend and City Commissioner Billy Keel tried to keep her from speaking out about the affair.

"It made me mad," she told investigators in a sworn statement. "He wanted me not to talk to anyone."

For the last two days, Commissioner Keel has avoided the media and won't return calls, e-mails, or texts.

His fellow commissioner, longtime Commissioner Michael Sparkman, said he's received several phone calls from concerned citizens about this latest wrinkle in the scandal.

Sparkman said it's in the city's best interest to get this out of the city's hands and over to the state ethics commission.

"I think it's the ethics commission's responsibility and I think they will do whatever is necessary to clean the air of Plant City," he said.

Complaints into the ethics commission are not public record, but a spokesman told ABC Action News if they find an elected official abused their power to benefit themselves or someone else, they could face anywhere form a 10-thousand dollar fine to removal from office.

The next city commission meeting is set for February 10th.

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