I-Team: Local mayor still under scrutiny for husband's questionable grants

Posted at 7:05 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-28 19:05:39-04

Dade City's mayor is still under scrutiny after the I-Team revealed her husband was getting questionable grants from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) fund. The grants are supposed to help buildings downtown look better.

Following our investigation the mayor's husband has been trying to get another grant. But because of questions raised by I-Team investigator Jarrod Holbrook. It wasn't approved this time.

At the CRA meeting a frustrated resident tells the board, "That's the biggest friggin eye sore in this town!"

His tension comes from what we uncovered.

A building owned by the mayor's husband has been getting $52 thousand worth of taxpayer grants since 2010.

When we checked out the building we found exposed wood, holes in the stucco, and boarded up windows.

"And that's what you consider getting your money's worth? You should be ashamed and you should never come back and sit in those chairs," the resident tells the board.

The I-Team previously found, of those grants received, Mayor Camielle Hernandez, who is also a CRA board member, may have violated state ethics laws.

On one grant application she never filled out the required 8b disclosure form. And her husband never got 3 bids for the work as required by CRA guidelines.

Nicole Newlon was the only board member who voted against that one.

We tried talking to the mayor about it but she called it fake news and ignored our questions as she walked away.

In 2010 the mayor, still on the CRA board, was listed on the company's annual report documents as a registered agent, while board members approved $42 thousand worth of grants, another possible violation of state ethics laws.

"You people have stolen from us! You've lied to us," exclaims the resident.

At the CRA meeting the mayor's husband again tried to file for another grant, for more than $9 thousand.

This time there were 2 board members voting against the idea. City commissioners Nicole Newlon and Scott Black.

Commissioner Black has serious concerns about our findings. Read his statement here.

He asked the mayor to withdraw the motion but the mayor just walked out.

So following the 2 to 2 vote, the grant goes nowhere.

The resident tells us he plans on filing a state ethics complaint against the mayor.

See our original investigation here.


Jarrod Holbrook is an Emmy and AP Award-winning Investigative Reporter for the ABC Action News I-Team. Do you have a story idea? Contact Jarrod on FacebookTwitter, or via email at