Florida City Attorney James Messer Continues to Draw Harassment Complaints

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The new complaint joins the three initial verbal-harassment allegations against Messer. The city agreed to hire a Winter Park law firm as outside counsel to investigate the allegations.

Florida City Attorney James Messer Continues to Draw Harassment Complaints

FORT PIERCE — The city has received at least one new harassment complaint against City Attorney James Messer.

Officials said only that the complaint was filed Tuesday. They declined to comment further and answer questions regarding the complaint.

They also declined to say how many new complaints have been filed beyond the original three, and whether any new complainants had been placed on administrative leave, as had been done with the original three.

 "Details with respect to this situation are currently under investigation and shall remain confidential until the investigative process is complete," city officials said in a statement on Friday. 

The new complaint joins the three initial verbal-harassment allegations against Messer. The city on Monday agreed to hire a Winter Park law firm as outside counsel to investigate the allegations.

On July 31, three employees of Messer's office filed complaints against him with City Manager Nick Mimms. The employees were placed on paid administrative leave until further notice.

The City Commission on Aug. 1 announced Messer would be investigated. Yet he was allowed to remain in his $174,200 job so the city would continue having legal representation.

The accusations come two months after Messer received a favorable performance review and the city extended his contract for another four years. Messer received high praise for the efficiency of his office and for solving legal disputes without going to court.

Messer was hired in 2016 to replace Rob Schwerer, who resigned in October 2015 after the commission voted to fire him. 

Messer previously was Pensacola City Attorney from 2010 to 2014 and an assistant chief litigator for the Escambia County Attorney's Office from 1993 to 2001.

 

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