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Osceola Co. Clerk of Court Cleared Of Criminal Allegations


February 7, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando - Osceola County Clerk of Court Armando Ramirez has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing, according to documents released Friday from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office.

[Image: Osceola County Clerk of Court Armando Ramirez]

Ramirez was investigated after he was accused of engaging in illegal employment practices during his campaign and violating public records laws once in office.

In a letter to Ramirez dated Thursday, Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton says he has “insufficient evidence” to support allegations Ramirez offered jobs to two campaigners in exchange for their support. FDLE records show both Arthur Osborne, Ramirez’s former chief of staff, and former supporter Richard Martin say that’s not what happened.

Martin told investigators he believed Ramirez promised him a job in exchange for a $500 donation, although he admitted Ramirez had told him such a promise would be illegal. In his letter, State Attorney Ashton says that “the law does not permit prosecution based upon subjective belief.”

Ramirez was also accused of firing existing Clerk of Court staff before he took office. Ashton found the termination notices legal since they stated staffers could keep their jobs until Ramirez’s first day.

Ashton’s letter does raise concerns about accusations of public records violations, saying although the evidence “does not rise to the level of justifying the filing of criminal charges, it does suggest that you and your senior staff could benefit from some additional training in the area of public records retention and public records law.”

 

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