TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is seeking charges against a former county administrator, Dr. Scott Hopes, who abruptly resigned earlier this year.
In February, the month Hopes resigned, the sheriff’s office received complaints alleging “criminal violations of Florida’s public records, theft, and notary laws,” according to a news release.
The sheriff’s office did not elaborate on the charges Hope faces. MCSO’s investigation and evidence was forwarded on to the State Attorney’s Office for review on Wednesday.
WFLA has requested more information about the potential charges from the State Attorney’s Office.
In 2022, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Angel Colonneso penned a letter to county commissioners warning of “troubling events” involving Hopes. She cited lack of communication, lack of transparency, reorganization impacts and potential risks and fiscal accountability as her main areas of concern.
“He told me his public information officer could teach me how to deal with the press and that I don’t have to respond quickly,” Colonneso wrote. “I told him my office responds promptly to public records. He told me I could bring down an entire county department by responding to a request because he had a ‘situation’ going on in a department.”
Among her concerns, Colonneso noted the purchase of a $46,000 Chevrolet Tahoe that was labeled a county ‘pool’ vehicle. She claimed there was “evidence that the county administrator exclusively uses this vehicle as transportation including to and from work.”
“My concern is that a lot of things are dropping through the cracks there,” Colonneso wrote.
Hopes abruptly handed in his resignation during a Manatee County Commission meeting about 10 months later.