Phil Bonus resigns from Maitland chamber of commerce post

Embattled councilman embroiled in two scandals

MAITLAND, Fla. - Embattled Maitland City Councilman Phil Bonus resigned himself from his post as president-elect at the Maitland Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

Bonus failed to show up for a scheduled council meeting Monday night, but fellow members stripped him of his Vice Mayor title in his absence.

Bonus came under fire as two scandals heaped public scrutiny on his ability to lead.

Last week, Bonus was linked to a prostitution case that listed him as having visited a brothel. Then, his DUI arrest from December 7,  2011 was made public as was dash cam video of his field sobriety test where he stumbled following an officer's commands.

Tampa police said Bonus nearly hit two officers on an expressway.

"Please remove Councilman Bonus from office tonight," demanded one resident Monday night, however city leaders do not have the power to kick him out of city hall.

The DUI arrest came to light just after the councilman admitted to Local 6 that he visited a brothel. When asked if he should resign, he told Local 6's Shaun Chaiyabhat, "This is just human error. It doesn't have to do with my community service."

But with the DUI arrest, coupled with the prostitution allegations, even those who consider Bonus a friend have changed their tune.

"For him to stay up here and be on council degrades Maitland," said Pat Williamson.

Council voted to strip his title, removing him as Vice Mayor, but kept Bonus on the council. The city's charter, and legal procedures, prevent them from kicking him out entirely, which frustrated angry voters.

"Makes us look like podunk," said Roger Pickar. "I personally feel it's really up to you folks now to work around the legalistic issues and come up with something that's strong that says, 'Phil, it's time to resign.'"

City leaders will now work to draft changes to the charter. Bonus hasn't resigned from the city council.

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