Ethics Commission Finds Probable Cause In Several Complaints Against Commissioner Doug Underhill

September 15, 2021

The Florida Commission on Ethics has found probable cause in several ethics violation complaints against Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill.

A finding of probable cause is not a determination that a violation has occurred. Such a determination is made only after a full evidentiary hearing on the allegations.

The Commission found probable cause to believe that Underhill misused his position by publicly sharing or publishing confidential transcripts, including minutes from Escambia County Commission shade meetings. Probable cause also was found to believe the information he disclosed was only available to him as a public officer and gained by reason of his official position.

The commission also found probable cause on three allegations that related to Underhill soliciting donations through a GoFundMe page including soliciting donations from a vendor, lobbyist or principal of a lobbyist of the County, accepting prohibited donations to his personal legal defense fund from a vendor, lobbyist or the principal lobbyist of the cCounty, and failing to disclose reportable gifts in excess of $100 on a required disclosure form.

Regarding two additional allegations relating to the reporting of gifts, probable cause was found to believe Underhill failed to report free personal legal services from a law firm, as well as travel and shipping expenses provided to him by a non-profit organization.

Other allegations were dismissed by the Ethics Commission with a finding of no probable cause Those dismissed allegations include that Underhill published his GoFundMe legal defense fund to social media, solicited free legal services from a lobbyist/vendor, accepted free legal services from a lobbyist or vendor, had a conflicting employment or contracted relationship with the Pensacola Sports Association, Inc., and an allegation that Mr. Underhill solicited, and then accepted, reimbursement for travel and expenses from an organization that accepting funding from the county.

According to the Florida Commission on Ethics, Underhill can enter into a settlement at a hearing, admitting wrongdoing and accepting a fine. Or, he can go before a judge in an evidentiary hearing for a ruling.

Comments

25 Responses to “Ethics Commission Finds Probable Cause In Several Complaints Against Commissioner Doug Underhill”

  1. Tom on September 19th, 2021 7:01 am

    Sometimes the truth upset certain people in this county. If you don’t want to hear the truth don’t ask Doug!!

  2. David Huie Green on September 18th, 2021 12:07 pm

    CONTEMPLATING:
    “I have concluded that if an honest person gets elected, the incumbents will run him out of office with the assistance of a crooked media, to wit: President Trump”

    How can former president Trump be an example of an honest person considering he brags about his lying?

    David for better people

  3. Dana on September 17th, 2021 5:43 pm

    Sentence him to live in Century…

  4. David Huie Green on September 17th, 2021 5:32 pm

    Regarding:
    “So after the due process is completed, and if he has been found to have violated any laws then he should be held accountable. It’s simple. But trying him in the media is not what our Forefathers intended.”

    Pretty sure it IS. Freedom to say what they think, know, suspect and what they think of it. Freedom to publish the existence of charges and support or lack thereof. Juries decide guilt when proven. Citizens decide whether or not to support elected
    officials.

    And yes, it IS abused. Less than keeping quiet about it, though, generally. The threat of public humiliation is often more powerful than jail or fine.

    David for better people

  5. David Huie Green on September 17th, 2021 5:21 pm

    Seeking bribes and violating law, oath, confidentiality…

    But other than that???

  6. Susie on September 17th, 2021 9:05 am

    Commissioners have been corrupt in this County for years with the exception of a few who actually took pride in our lovely County. STOP voting for these LOSERS if you really care. This loser is only in that office because of the people who put him there. I truly hope this ends the career of this Mr. Underhand. GoFundMe is just another one of his scapegoats.

  7. Carola on September 16th, 2021 11:04 pm

    Dear Mr. Doug Underhanded, it appears you have made some enemies in this area,
    Maybe you need to take a long look at why. Just sayin

  8. Citizen on September 16th, 2021 5:09 pm

    He embarrassed people publicly and they are returning the favor.
    Underhill will say it’s the Good Ole Boys’ fault
    When in truth one of the complaints has to do with Hemmer donating to his Go Fund me.
    Hemmer wanted a piece of OLF 8
    Doug stayed on ECW calling the other commissioner’s corrupt for getting OLF8.
    Doug didn’t cash out the GoFund me.

    He will spend energy fighting this.

    The main problem is Underhill running his trap on facebook feeding his ego rather than focusing on doing his job.

    He will be gone in a year riding off into the sunset and still be the same person thinking he is god’s gift to the world and everybody else is stupid and wrong.

    Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

  9. Earl on September 16th, 2021 4:46 pm

    I wonder…if he has a bronze statue of himself…hhmmmm.

  10. Capt on September 16th, 2021 11:47 am

    Interesting, Doug U, Matt G, and Ron “Deathsentence” all seem to be using the same Playbook.

  11. Anne on September 16th, 2021 10:26 am

    Best thing is that unless he’s Lied AGAIN, this dude will be OFF the ECBOCC next year.
    Why people kept voting for him is beyond comprehension.

  12. J on September 16th, 2021 9:41 am

    I know a lot of the comments I read on here are by people that hate Mr. Underhill for whatever reason(If you believe the PNJ for instance you hate him).
    In my many years of watching politics, local and national, I have concluded that if an honest person gets elected, the incumbents will run him out of office with the assistance of a crooked media, to wit: President Trump and now Doug Underhill.
    Revealing the so called shade stuff to save taxpayer money should be applauded, not censured!! Plus,if asking for contributions from voters is a crime, not a politician would be left standing,,free of jail!

  13. Ray on September 16th, 2021 7:26 am

    The main point in my previous comment was that the commissioner should be afforded due process of law. So after the due process is completed, and if he has been found to have violated any laws then he should be held accountable. It’s simple. But trying him in the media is not what our Forefathers intended. I am not for or against him. I am for the process.

  14. Dudley Herrington on September 16th, 2021 7:10 am

    THIS is the BEST NEWS I HAVE HAD !!!
    I hope That You do not Expect anything True to come out of PNJ !!!!!

  15. John Coctoastan on September 16th, 2021 6:39 am

    Ray –

    Underhill asked the county attorney to get an opinion from the ethics commission and the attorney general’s office whether he could create a gofundme campaign for his legal defense fund. She did and they said yes under two conditions: no soliciting or accepting donations from lobbyists/vendors of the county, and he must timely report all of the gifts.

    Regarding the shade meeting transcripts, the county attorney advised Underhill multiple times not to release the transcripts until either the litigation had concluded or the full commission voted to release the transcripts sooner.

    He didn’t violate these rules because he didn’t know better. As a matter of fact, he is required by law to annually complete required training as described in FL Statute 112.3142 and certify under oath that he has. The ethics commission found probable cause for violations of things has has sworn he was trained to know. He’s also being sued for violations of other things he has certified he was trained to know. He violated these rules because he doesn’t believe they apply to him. While he’s busy accusing his fellow commissioners of public corruption for his own political gains, he’s also busy being corrupt and redirecting your attention away from it.

    I feel confident, being found guilty of probable cause for public corruption will not stop Underhill’s public corruption.

  16. Chickens come home to roost on September 15th, 2021 7:16 pm

    Ray–seriously?

    Commissioners need an advisor to know it is not ethical to share privileged documents or to solicit funds from County vendors?

    LOL, c’mon man!

  17. Fly on the Wall on September 15th, 2021 6:41 pm

    To Walter
    He probably sent his press release form the Desk of Underhill to the cartoonist to draw with his crayons.
    Yes why isn’t PNJ reporting? Because it’s propaganda also when it comes to Underhand.

  18. Chickens come home to roost on September 15th, 2021 6:27 pm

    Good. Underhill has been a blight on the county for years and now he is exposed.

    Resign and move, Doug.

  19. Ray on September 15th, 2021 5:18 pm

    There are an enormous amount of ethics and campaign laws. Most State level and higher public officials have someone or a team advising them on both ethics and campaign laws too keep them from stumbling over the line. County and local municipalities normally don’t have those assets in their budget for a personal advisor to such laws. So the Commissioner should be affordable due process as all citizen do.

  20. Walter Beall on September 15th, 2021 4:51 pm

    Strange…. there’s no mention of this in the Pensacola News Journal

  21. Fly on the Wall on September 15th, 2021 4:14 pm

    Finally.

    He spends too much time on facebook spinning lies rather than doing the work. For instance Santa Rosa just got 16M for economic development with the Triumph funds.

    He is already blaming everything on everyone else on his facebook fan boy page but the kicker is people still believe him.

    One can expend tremendous/money energy just trying to counteract his spin.

    I hope he resigns.

    Funny he is the one enriching himself off his pubic position but he will point the finger at someone else.

    He was putting out confidential info on economic development to thwart it years ago but D2 voted him back in 2018. Who Spilled the Beans

    Proves how easily people can be snookered.

    He’ll talk a big game in public but do something else on the other hand, It is apparent if one watches what he does, not what he says.

    He said complete word salad during the redistricting meeting yesterday. But wakes back up in the AM blaming all the other commissioners. He is even blaming the insurance company when when he didn’t have flood coverage. No Underhill you are responsible for your own actions, and decisions.

    He must really be delusional.

    He’s done.

  22. Kathy on September 15th, 2021 4:05 pm

    Because he has no ethics and he needs to go…out of the state of Florida..I might suggest..Siberia

  23. Melissa Pino on September 15th, 2021 3:54 pm

    None of us who have been intent on exposing this man’s true characters and actions the last few years have been doing so because of politics.

    He has a long track record of this sort of thing, and these ethics probable cause findings aren’t the half of it.

    Perhaps now people will take a rethink on the propaganda that his favorite discussion forum has pumped out for him for years on end, constantly spinning out the absurd notion that he is The Only Honest One On the Dais.

    Commander and Commissioner Doug Underhill lost touch with honesty a long time ago–before he got out of Dodge on his last tour through Pensacola, as a matter of fact. If he had a shred of decency, he would admit his guilt, turn himself in on the rest of his malfeasance, and step down from office.

    Don’t hold your breath.

  24. RC on September 15th, 2021 3:51 pm

    What a mess. He was the only one who voted against firing Gilley (which stinks of a railroad job) but now this comes up. I wonder who reported it to get the ball rolling? If it’s proven he did these things he’s accused of he should be removed. And come election time the others need to be gone too. Let’s start over with new blood and if they don’t want to serve the citizens get them gone too. This corrupt “Good ‘Ol Boy” government is failing the citizens in a big way. They aren’t worried about your pothole or overgrown drainage ditch. They have bigger fish to fry-and they aren’t offering you a plate. I keep remembering the warden’s line in “The Longest Yard” movie with Burt Reynolds- “To get along, you go along” How fitting.

  25. Bill on September 15th, 2021 3:28 pm

    I bet he doesn’t have the courage to go in front of a judge but I hope he does. Dougie’s a crook and Tallahassee is on the case!





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