Florida of the Day #1: #MeToo, Florida style

According to “overwhelming testimony” from multiple witnesses, Nancy Oakley, a City Commissioner for Madeira Beach (not far from St. Pete Beach, where Anitra and I got married), is alleged to have licked former city manager Shane Crawford’s face and touched him inappropriately during the King of the Beach Fishing Tournament back in November, 2012.The Tampa Bay Times headlines reads City commissioner accused of licking former city manager’s face, among other inappropriate touching.

The Times explains what allegedly happened in greater, more Floridian detail:

Just before accosting Crawford, Oakley reportedly said “Don’t ever bring that blond bitch around me again,” referring to Crawford’s executive assistant and now wife, Cheryl McGrady, who was with him at the time.

Oakley then grabbed Crawford inappropriately and “slowly lick(ed) him from his Adam’s apple all the way up his face,” the investigative report states.

They also report that the incident was seen by a number of witnesses, who also say that this is typical behavior:

Current and former city employees are among the witnesses against Oakley cited in the ethics commission investigative report.

Dave Marsicano, the city’s marina and public works director, witnessed the altercation among Oakley, Crawford and McGrady.

He told the ethics commission investigator Oakley acted similarly toward him, as well, on more than one occasion. Since then, Marsicano said, he avoids Oakley at public events “in fear of unwanted sexual advances.”

Tom Verdansky, president of the Old Salt Fishing Foundation that sponsors the King of the Beach events, also witnessed Oakley accosting Crawford.

Verdansky said he, too, had been accosted by Oakley who licked his face and the faces of foundation volunteers at other fishing tournaments.

As if that weren’t enough gender role reversal, Oakley’s victims either faced reprisal…

Crawford said he did not report the incident at the time because he was concerned about his job.

The following year Oakley decided not to run for re-election and Crawford dropped the matter.

But when she decided to again run for office in 2017, Crawford filed a formal complaint with the Commission on Ethics.

Several months later, Oakley was re-elected and at her first meeting called for the commission to fire McGrady.

One month later, Oakley joined newly elected Mayor Maggi Black and Commissioner John Douthirt — who had all run for office as a ticket — to suspend Crawford from his position as city manager.

Crawford would later resign to avoid being fired.

…or they feared the consequences:

Based on Malone’s report, Melody Hadley, advocate for the Commission on Ethics, concluded that Oakley “acted inappropriately” while serving as a city commissioner.

“There is sufficient evidence to show (Oakley) made unwanted advances toward (Crawford) and/or Marsicano on at least one occasion if not more,” Hadley reported, adding that Oakley’s actions caused both Crawford and Marsicano to fear retribution if they complained.

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