The Mayor and the Lifeguard
For your reading pleasure, I offer a memo written by the human resources director of Deerfield Beach regarding Mayor Al Capellini's misguided attempts at romance (with a city lifeguard 22 years younger than he). A citizen muckraker e-mailed it to me (some of you reporters might be able to guess who). Anyway, you've read about it, now you can read it. Have a great weekend.
(Also, The Pulp hears there is big news brewing at the Sentinel regarding Buddy Nevins. Make sure to read his column Saturday. It may be his last.)
TO: The File
FROM: Marva J. Gordon, Director of Human Resources
DATE: Feb 6, 2006
SUBJECT: Jennifer Carpenter Incident
On February 6, 2006, Carla DeLuiz, Grants Administrator, and I met with Jennifer Carpenter, Water Safety Instructor Programmer. Jennifer said an incident had occurred recently and she had kept it a secret for awhile until she decided to discuss it with Carla because she couldn't keep it any longer.
Jennifer related the incident as having begun on September 19, 2005, after the dedication of the new swimming pool. She said that Jack Disher, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Department, closed the door and said that he wanted to speak to her about something personal and she was not to discuss it with anyone. There was nothing strange about his remarks since she had always confided in lack Disher. He had even ordered some golf clubs for her husband, Paul, who was a professional golfer. Jack had always been kind to her and she trusted him. Jack proceeded to ask her when she would allow him to set her up with a date. This date was to be with Al Capellini, the Mayor, who was asking about Jennifer. Jennifer said she told Jack that the Mayor was not her type and she perceived him as being gross. Jack's response was that the Mayor had a lot of money even if he was not good looking. Jennifer said that she had to think about this proposal. She felt it was crazy to even consider it but she was flattered although she did not understand the request.
Months passed and very often after lack's initial proposal, he kept after her to go out with the Mayor. Jack said, "you can do it for me." On January 3, 2006, after returning from the holiday vacation, she saw Jack and he asked about her husband, Paul and also reminded her about the Mayor. Jennifer said at that point since she was separated from her husband, she consented to have coffee with the Mayor. Jack called the Mayor while Jennifer was still in his office to let him know that she would go out with him. Within the hour, the Mayor called Jennifer. He asked her out in a respectful manner and said they would just go out and have fun. On Friday, January 13, 2006, Jennifer went out with the Mayor and he spent a lot of money on her and they had a good time. They had dinner and drinks at "the Cafeteria" on South Beach. Jennifer said that they had fun that night. On Sunday, January 15, 2006, while Jennifer was on duty at the pool by herself the Mayor called and she told him that she could not leave because she was there by herself. Jennifer called Khaled Coury, her supervisor on the telephone and asked if she could leave. He said it ~ okay for her to leave, however, the pool was left unattended by the assigned supervisor. There were lifeguards at the pool, however, the pool should never be left without a supervisor being present. Jennifer met the Mayor at the "Yucatan" for lunch and she had a margarita although she was on duty and had to go back to the pool. I told her that she had violated City policy and she could have gotten into serious trouble. Jennifer said it was at this meeting that for the first time, the Mayor's conversation became very sexual and she did not like it. Jennifer left the Yucatan and went back to work. After their lunch at the Yucatan, the Mayor kept calling her and most of the times, she did not answer telephone because she did not want to speak to him. She allowed Lauren Dismuke, a temporary lifeguard, to answer the telephone, and the Mayor on many occasions, identified himself. Jennifer told lack that she needed his help to get the Mayor off her back. She received several calls during that week from the Mayor and again, she asked Jack to take care of this problem for her. It was at this time that Jack told her she was an adult and her issue was not work-related. Jennifer allowed Jack to hear some of the Mayor's telephone calls and he said that he did not see anything wrong with the Mayor's calls, they seemed normal to him and this was Jennifer's problem not his. After receiving a call from the Mayor one day, Jennifer called Jack again and said, "get over here." Jack came by the pool with Andrew Hyatt. Jennifer complained again to him about the Mayor's calls. Jack said she would have to tell the Mayor face to face that she was not interested in going out with him again. At that point, Jennifer called the Mayor on Friday, January 20, 2006, and said she needed to speak to him. The Mayor asked her to stop by his home that evening because he was sick. Jennifer allowed Carla and me to hear three of the telephone calls the Mayor made to her. The calls were respectful and friendly and we did not sense any kind of coercion in the Mayor's messages on the telephone.
When Jennifer got to the Mayor's home, he asked her to watch a movie with him. They were watching ''Million Dollar Baby" when someone called the Mayor's home from Jennifer's home telephone number. The call was from David Godoy, a man that Jennifer was seeing and who had worked with her prior at the pool. She said they got into a heated discussion and she hung up the telephone. David called the Mayor's home again and this time he spoke to the Mayor. David Godoy made several threats to the Mayor and said he would kill him. When the Mayor hung up he told Jennifer that he was being set up by her and he asked her to leave his home. When Jennifer left the Mayor's home, she called Jack Disher, her husband, Paul, and her girl mend, Jill Palmeiri. When she spoke to Jack about the entire issue, he said he did not know about any calls she was receiving from the Mayor. In the meanwhile, Paul arrives at Jennifer's home before she does and confronts David Godoy, who was still there trashing her condo. David Godoy left and Paul waited until Jennifer got there. The place was well trashed and the Coral Springs police was called. David Godoy was arrested but since that time, charges against him have been dropped. Jennifer has not been able to return to work since January 21, 2006.
Vincent Kendrick, Director of Parks and Recreation had an opportunity to speak to Jennifer on January 30,2006. He suggested that she take advantage of the City's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Jennifer had already contacted the EAP to see a counselor. Since January 27th, Jennifer has been seeing a counselor at the EAP. I told Jennifer that she was a very good swimming instructor and the City would hate to lose her as an employee. I also felt that as an adult, she had made some bad decisions, but EAP staff would help her sort the whole thing out. I asked her when she thought she would be able to return to work and she said she did not know. She was really contemplating to resign and return to her parent's home in South Carolina. Jennifer says that she feels Jack Disher has disappointed her because he is someone she trusted. She felt pressured into making a decision to go out with the Mayor after being asked on a daily basis to do it. I asked her if she liked her job. She said, "I love my job!" However, Jennifer also said that she could not work for Jack Disher again in the future. I assured her that if she returned to work she would never again be under the supervision of Jack Disher. The Parks and Recreation Department has already moved to reorganize the Ocean Rescue and Pool areas. I recommended that she take her time before making a rash decision since as an adult, she would find that she could not live with her parents indefinitely. Jennifer said she would seriously think about it and get back with us. Jennifer said she would continue her sessions at EAP because she should have done this before. She felt that the EAP sessions were very helpful. I have offered to assist Jennifer in any way that I can, while she is off work and when she returns if that is her decision.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.