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State finds Flagler County sheriff violated laws

Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre
Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre

BUNNELL, Fla. – The Florida Ethics Commission voted 6-1 Friday to find probable cause that Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre violated the state's ethics laws on three counts, but dismissed a fourth count.

The issues rose from several out-of-state trips Manfre took in Sheriff's Office vehicles, accepting a gift over $100 in value by staying at a Tennessee condominium and use of a county credit card to buy personal items.

Manfre held a news conference in the afternoon to dispute all charges, saying he violated no laws, no rules and no procedures. 

"As your sheriff, I do take full responsibility for all of my actions and do acknowledge that I could have made better choices. However, I never violated any law, internal sheriff's policy or practice," Manfre said. "Let me reiterate, I have not violated any policy, practice procedure or law. I am very sorry and apologize for the distractions this has caused to the community and the Sheriff's Office."

Manfre said he is asking the Florida Administrative Law Judge to hear the case and intends to fight the charges all the way to a court of appeal, if necessary,