Apopka city attorney resigns as residents push for mayor to follow

Petition seeks to oust Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson

APOPKA, Fla. – The Apopka city attorney resigned during the city council meeting Wednesday, and some residents are hoping the mayor follows suit.

Longtime Apopka resident Dennis New said that it’s time for new leadership.

“They’ve done a lot of things that are questionable,” New said.

New is working to get 1,800 signatures in the first phase of his petition to recall Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson.

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“Whoever runs, we’ll have to pick a candidate that is honest, has integrity and wants to be transparent,” he said.

The petition lists dozens of reasons, claiming that the mayor wants to be a dictator and that he refuses to hold anyone accountable for the death of fallen firefighter Austin Duran. He is the young firefighter who died last year while trying to move a sand trailer on the job.

His father, Michael Duran, said Austin Duran’s death could have been prevented, and he wishes city officials would take accountability.

“This is what just kills me inside every day,” Michael Duran said.

He attended Wednesday’s Apopka City Council meeting and witnessed City Attorney Michael Rodriguez step down after informing the council of his concerns.

“I ultimately fear that I can no longer ethically represent this council,” Rodriguez said. “I’m tendering my resignation so I can save you some money.”

Michael Duran joined a loud applause by residents following the announcement.

“I think what Mr. Rodriguez did today, I think was necessary. I think what he did was appropriate,” Michael Duran said.

Michael Duran is not an Apopka resident, so he can’t sign the petition to recall Mayor Nelson, but he supports it.

“I’m happy that this is happening because I think it brings awareness to this city,” Michael Duran said.

New said that even if the outcome isn’t favorable, he hopes it shines a light on the city council’s internal issues.

“If it doesn’t succeed, then we brought attention to his mismanagement, his malfeasance, his misfeasance, and we’ll have to fight tooth and nail until the next election to make sure he doesn’t get elected,” New said.

Nelson sent a statement to News 6 on the petition to oust him. Read it in its entirety below:

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About the Author:

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.