DeBary candidate faces illegal recording charge after spat with city worker

Local 6 News at 7:00p
Local 6 News at 7:00p

DeBARY, Fla. – A DeBary city council candidate is facing a felony charge after deputies say he secretly recorded an argument with a city worker.

The worker, Eugene Leighton, worked part-time for the city enforcing its sign ordinance. Kinsella saw Leighton removing his campaign signs, which sparked the argument.

According to Kinsella, he had permission to post the signs at the shopping center where he owns a business, but Leighton believed the signs' placement violated the city's ordinance.

Local 6 obtained the audio recorded by Kinsella. The argument turns nasty in seconds. Leighton can be heard using expletives.

"Excuse me. Don't use that language at me please. Don't use profanity at me," said Kinsella.

At one point Leighton even tells Kinsella to "go to hell."

Kinsella says he told Leighton he was recording. He says he shared it with the city to show how unprofessional Leighton had been. Deputies later charged Kinsella for recording the audio without consent after Leighton reported it.

According to the charging affidavit, Leighton also told police "[Kinsella] took photographs of him, demanded to know where he lived, threatened to break his legs."

The State Attorney's Office told Local 6 the case is under review. They will investigate the case and decide whether or not to prosecute based on the charge recommended by the sheriff's office.

The city of DeBary says Leighton has been re-assigned to measure lake levels, a job that doesn't entail interaction with the public.

Leighton told Local 6 he wasn't sorry for the language and called it a response to Kinsella's alleged threats.