Gov. Scott suspends Putnam County School Board member

Nichole Cummings is charged with theft in connection with incident at Walmart

By Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott on Friday suspended Nichole Cummings from the Putnam County School Board following her arrest in a recent shoplifting case.

Cummings, 41, of Satsuma, is charged with felony grand theft. She's accused of trying to leave a Palatka Walmart last month without paying for hundreds of dollars in merchandise.

The executive order says the suspension without pay is in the "best interests of the residents of Putnam County," noting that she is forbidden from performing any official act or duty until further notice.

EXECUTIVE ORDER: Gov. Scott suspends Cummings from Putnam County School Board

A spokesperson for the governor declined to say whether Scott had plans to appoint a temporary replacement for Cummings, as he did with two indicted Jacksonville City Council members.

The charge stems from a June 18 incident at the store on State Road 19. Deputies said Cummings nearly left the store with $420 worth of items in her cart, despite paying $32 at the self-checkout.

She was confronted by store employees, who sorted through the cart and let her leave with the items listed on her receipt, deputies said. A warrant was later issued for her arrest.

Deputies said investigators later found that Cummings previously used the same self-checkout lane May 30. In that case, they said, she left with three fishing poles, even though she paid for one.

While Cummings is currently charged in the June 18 incident, a spokesperson for the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said additional charges are possible.

Cummings, who is unaffiliated with a major political party, was elected to the school board in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. She's up for re-election again next spring.

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