The Florida Ethics Commission has cleared Rep. Cary Pigman of charges that he misused his position to retaliated against a school principal in his district.
The approved a recommendation by Judge June C. McKinney to dismiss the case against Pigman. At least one member of the commission abstained from the vote, while another member voted against the recommendation.
Pigman, a doctor of emergency medicine and Army Reserve physician, was accused of “linking his efforts to obtain legislative funding for the Okeechobee School District … to retaliate or attempt to retaliate against an employee of the School District.”
The employee in question was Tracy Maxwell Downing, an elementary school principal and the ex-sister-in-law of Pigman’s former secretary, Libby Maxwell, with whom he had been having and an affair and to whom he is now married.
The commission’s decision to accept McKinney’s recommendation comes just days after the TC Palm reported Pigman is serving one-year probation following a March arrest for driving under the influence.
According to the TC Palm, Pigman, pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence, was found guilty in April. The paper reported his license was suspended for six months, he was ordered to pay a $500 fine, do 50 hours of community service and go to DUI school.
Pigman was arrested in March after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper noticed his Jeep “drifting” between his lane and the highway’s shoulder around 10:45 p.m., according to the arrest report.
The trooper reported “immediately smell(ing) an odor of alcoholic beverage” when he came up to the open window, and “saw an open wine bottle in the front passenger seat.” Pigman, the report said, failed field sobriety tests, including almost falling and not following instructions.
The Avon Park Republican resigned his position as chairman of the House Health Quality Subcommittee in the days following the incident.