Notes Cite Fitzgerald-Ivey Ties; Clay Commissioner's Friendship with Ex-Public Works Chief Probed

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Byline: BRAD SCHMIDT

Clay County Commissioner Christy Fitzgerald's professional involvement with former Public Works Director Arthur Ivey is part of a 15-month criminal probe by state and federal investigators, according to hand-written notes supplementing a recently released county inquiry.

Fitzgerald was blasted in Thursday's highly critical 58-page report, and some of the allegations against her were referred to criminal investigators. In May, Fitzgerald said she was "only a witness in their investigation and that I am not a subject of their investigation."

But according to notes from a Sept. 28 meeting between county auditor Mike Price and criminal investigators, Fitzgerald's interaction with the iron-fisted Ivey is being explored. Price and two investigators discussed Fitzgerald's "role and relationship" with Ivey and "the effect on controls and repression of objections" it had within the Public Works Department, according to Price's notes.

An FBI agent "states flatly that this would have to be dealt with in my report because it certainly WOULD be in the investigation of criminal wrongdoing," Price wrote.

Fitzgerald, reached Saturday by The Florida Times-Union, said she had not read Price's notes and could not comment on whether her relationship with Ivey is part of an ongoing investigation.

"I have no knowledge of that and that was not the information given to me by investigators," she said. "I have not seen Mr. Price's notes. . . . I'm not going to comment on something I haven't seen."

She sharply criticized Price's report on Thursday, saying he "fabricated" some statements attributed to her. Fitzgerald said Saturday she has not decided whether to further explain her critical statements about Price.

According to the report, Fitzgerald's relationship with Ivey in the day-to-day operations of public works "violated both the spirit and the letter" of the county charter. The report, which looked at evidence using a standard of "convincing and persuasive" instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt," found:

-- On- and off-duty county employees worked on Fitzgerald's private property. …