TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. — Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents arrested a Temple Terrace city official Monday on charges of bid tampering and unlawful compensation.
Temple Terrace Community Development Director Amir Anisi, 54, was arrested without incident Monday morning and was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.
"It is always in the best interest of taxpayers and public safety to have a fair and transparent bidding process. I very much appreciate the work of our FDLE agents and analysts who worked diligently to uncover this crime, as it was not immediately identifiable, but discovered through [an] extensive review of records and interviews," said Mark Brutnell, the FDLE Tampa Bay Special Agent in Charge.
According to FDLE, the case began after the city got a complaint about the hiring of an unlicensed contractor to complete concrete renovations at a racquetball court. In his role, FDLE said Anisi was aware of the bids coming into the city.
FDLE said the investigation showed Anisi influenced a competitive solicitation by providing non-public information to one vendor. FDLE explained Anisi informed the vendor, who they said is a friend of his, the estimated price range the city was considering. With this information, FDLE said his friend submitted his bid under that estimate, ensuring his company would win the bid.
In addition, Brutnell said Anisi also hired this same vendor for a concrete project at his home, where they said he expected a reduced price.
“We recognize that this case is not the fraud of the century," said Andrew Warren, the Hillsborough State Attorney. "The dollar values here are not astronomical, and with no criminal history, the defendant will likely not even have a prison recommendation according to the state guidelines. Still, it’s important for the community that we file these charges. Whether it’s $100 or $100,000,000, this type of corruption is a violation of public trust.”
The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office will be prosecuting the case.
Andy Ross, Temple Terrace's Mayor, said when they received the original complaint in August, they immediately asked FDLE to open an investigation. The mayor also said there are things that they will review to make sure they have proper policies and procedures in place to prevent this type of situation from happening again.
“While I’m obviously very disappointed in the actions of Mr. Anisi, I’d like to quickly point out that these are the actions of one employee," said Ross. "The City of Temple Terrace has hundreds of employees who serve the public with honor and integrity day in and day out. The actions of one individual do not diminish the culture of excellence that our employees are known for.”