Florida Ethics Commission Decides Okaloosa and Walton Ethics Cases

The State Ethics Commission has cleared former Walton County Commissioner Scott Brannon of a conflict of interest when he cast more than 20 votes on the troubled Driftwood Estates subdivision.

Jerry Graves filed the complaint, claiming one of Brannon's business partners, Wayne Jones, owned 77 lots in Driftwood Estates, and Brannon should have abstained.

The investigation showed there was no proof Brannon even knew Jones owned the lots. Jones told investigators he had never told Brannon about his ties to Driftwood Estates. Once Brannon was alerted to those ties, he abstained.

The Ethics Commission found there was no probable cause to pursue the case. Brannon served two four year terms, but decided against seeking a third term this year.

Another area politician wasn’t so lucky. The Ethics Commission found probable cause that Okaloosa County Commission candidate Danny Bennett had not accurately reported his financial worth when he ran two years ago. His report reflected a net worth of $50,000. However, once a federal lien and other expenses were included, his figures showed him $390,000 in the red.