State Investigating Former Lauderdale Lakes Finance Director -- Not Anita Fain-Taylor

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is looking into former Lauderdale Lakes finance director Larry Tibbs for allegedly taking sick-leave money he didn't deserve, while former City Manager Anita Fain-Taylor -- who's been accused by commissioners of providing them with fraudulent information -- is momentarily off the hook.

It's not yet known how much sick-leave cash Tibbs is accused of taking, although he did repay $25,000 to the city last year.

Meanwhile, Fain-Taylor -- the face of the city's $9 million budget deficit who was unanimously given the boot by commissioners last month -- is apparently not a priority.

FDLE spokesman Keith Kameg tells the Miami Herald there is not an investigation focused on Fain-Taylor, but would not comment beyond that.

Commissioners have admitted that they're partially to blame for the budgetary downfall, but what they've alleged against Fain-Taylor would surely warrant an investigation over sick-leave money.

"The commission was provided data, financial data that was manipulated. It was pretty much a governmental Ponzi scheme," Commissioner Eric Haynes said. earlier in the week.

Commissioner Gloria Lewis, in her fantastic tirade against Fain-Taylor, had moved to fire the former city manager for cause, including a statement about getting "too much fabrication" from her reports.

Vice Mayor Levoyd Williams, however, said he wasn't comfortable voting to fire Fain-Taylor for cause, saying, "When you put for cause, you're talking about hurting somebody for that next position."

Fain-Taylor was unanimously fired for lack of confidence, but the questions about investigating possible criminal activity still remain.

Interview requests sent by New Times earlier in the week to Mayor Barrington Russell, Vice Mayor Levoyd Williams, Deputy Vice Mayor Patricia Hawkins-Williams, as well as Commissioners Benjamin Williams, Edwina Coleman, Eric Haynes, and Gloria Lewis were not responded to.

The investigation into Tibbs continues, though, as an independent auditor found he overpaid himself $28,851 by manipulating personnel records, according to the Herald.

Tibbs tells the paper that he knew the city was headed for trouble but his boss -- who's not mentioned by name -- wouldn't tell the elected officials.

"I regret that I didn't go over her head and blow the whistle," he says.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley