Seminole tax collector issues trespass warning to commissioner

Seminole County commissioner denies allegations

SANFORD, Fla. – Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg issued a trespass warning this week to a longtime county commissioner for what he describes as "harassing and disruptive behavior" that occurred in front of one of his employees.

Commissioner Brenda Carey denies she said anything inappropriate when she and her husband visited the tax collector's Sanford office Monday to conduct personal business. The couple was there to renew tags and transfer a title, according to the tax collector's office.

"It doesn't warrant a response, in my opinion," Carey told News 6 in response to questions about the trespass warning. "We have much more important business to take care of here today."

According to a complaint provided to News 6 by Greenberg's office, when Carey approached a senior customer service representative at the tax collector's office, the commissioner inquired about a recent county budget meeting.

"Did you see what went on Friday?" Carey reportedly asked the tax collector's office employee.

"(Carey) said that when (Greenberg) entered the meeting, that he made a (expletive) out of himself," the employee wrote in the complaint.

The following day, Greenberg drafted a trespass warning notifying Carey she was not authorized to enter any of his six county offices.

"This notice is issued as a result of your harassing and disruptive behavior... including berating and cursing at that employee," the trespass warning states. "This notice shall remain in effect until you demonstrate to the satisfaction of this office that you will not again engage in such harassing and disruptive behavior within the offices of the Seminole County Tax Collector."

The trespass warning was issued amid tension between Greenberg and county commissioners over the tax collector's budget and his refusal to turn over millions of dollars in excess fees his predecessor previously shared with the county.

"This doesn't warrant a lot of attention," Carey told reporters before Tuesday's commission meeting. "You all give (Greenberg) a lot more attention that what he deserves, which is what he's looking for."

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades.