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Madeira Beach mayor outlines corruption allegations

Mark Parker



The Madeira Beach Municipal Services Center. The city's mayor resigned due to numerous alleged municipal government improprieties. Photo: Wannemacher Jensen Architects.

Before offering his immediate resignation, former Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek sent a mass email to constituents detailing alleged corruption and improprieties throughout city government.

He explained the reasoning behind the June 14 letter, which centered around City Manager Robin Gomez, to the Catalyst Wednesday morning. Gomez subsequently responded to the allegations and emphatically denied corruption claims.

Rostek, a former fire captain in Marland, became mayor in April 2023. He said it “brings tears to my eyes that I had to step away, but it just is what it is.”

“My hope is that someone at the state level sees this and asks me for an interview,” Rostek added. “Because what is going on here is not right.”

Rostek began the conversation by alleging pervasive “discretionary” or “discriminatory” code enforcement. The city manager oversees the department, which contracts community policing deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

A resident filed a formal complaint with the city regarding four non-regulatory waterborne signs, which are illegal under a municipal ordinance. Rostek said officials did not take corrective action.

The resident then contacted the mayor, who relayed the issue to Gomez. Rostek said the city manager removed one sign – but not the poles – and left three, including one related to a bird sanctuary that also highlights a business sponsor. “He refused.”

There were also safety concerns. Rostek said Gomez ignored requests to establish a life jacket policy for city employees operating municipal watercraft.

“I had a resident take pictures of the code enforcement boat, with people riding around on it doing their job, I guess, no life jackets on,” Rostek added. “The smoking policy … I see one or two of them smoking in city vehicles. There’s federal law about that stuff. He refuses to implement policy …”

Rostek said Gomez declined to formally prohibit cell phone usage for employees operating municipal equipment or vehicles. The former mayor said he often witnessed sanitation workers texting with one hand while holding on to the back of a garbage truck.

Rostek said the city manager opted to vocalize concerns rather than adopt policies that protect employees from injury and the city from litigation. “He (Gomez) is very well-liked by employees because, in my mind, it’s ‘Camp Run Amok,'” he added.

“We’re supposed to set the example for the public.”

Former Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek.

Rostek said a resident waited six months for permits to replace an existing fence before contacting the mayor’s office. He brought the issue to Gomez without a resolution.

“I was blown off … I just let it go,” Rostek said. “I regret not being able to support the residents who supported me. I can only beat my head against the wall for so long before it affects my daily life.”

Rostek also alleged financial improprieties. He said city officials did not issue a request for proposals (RFP) to implement permanent pilings, unlike typical floating markers that delineate swimming areas, and instead negotiated directly with contractors.

Rostek believes his former colleagues avoided commission approval on that and other projects totaling over $30,000 by agreeing to multiple line-item contracts at lesser amounts. He called the process legal but said it “appears to be unethical.”

The June 14 email included a separation agreement between Gomez and the City of Clarkston, Georgia. The document, dated Sept. 7, 2021, outlines his voluntary resignation and states that he and city officials must not discuss his tenure with outside parties.

Gomez began his response by wishing Rostek “the very best.” His email also expressed the city’s excitement for Vice Mayor Anne-Marie Brooks to fill the vacated role.

Madeira Beach City Manager Robin Gomez.

Gomez said city staff has reviewed and addressed Rostek’s concerns throughout the past year. He also attributed many of the former mayor’s allegations to confusion.

“It is unfortunate that the disagreements and misunderstandings of city processes and policies by Mr. Rostek led him to state/list claims of corruption, which are simply baseless and false,” Gomez wrote. “The city daily ensures all residents, businesses and visitors receive the most professional, knowledgeable and fair city services to promote … respect for all, public safety, transparency and accountability.

“We continue to perform our daily tasks and responsibilities pursuant to federal, state, county and city laws/ordinances/statutes in the most ethical manner.”

Gomez wrote that administrators would hold a special city commission meeting June 26 to review and discuss filling Brooks’ now vacant District 4 seat. Applications will open for qualified residents before the meeting.

“This is a wonderful town,” he said. “We need the leadership to lead us in the right direction.”



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