State's case vs. ex-chief closed
Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 1:09 a.m.
CHIEFLAND - State Attorney Bill Cervone presented city commissioners with the results of an investigation Tuesday night into how a former police chief handled department property.
"This should end our involvement here with the city," Cervone said.
In the criminal investigation, former Chief Eddie Levitzke, 49, was accused of diverting city property for his personal use, including two vehicles donated by larger agencies. Levitzke maintained that both vehicles had been given to him for his personal use. He resigned in November 2001 as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the situation.
FDLE agents wanted to know why one vehicle ended up in the possession of Kelby Andrews, who was a city commissioner when he accepted the vehicle. Levitzke said he gave one of the vehicles to Andrews in return for some land-clearing Andrews had done for Levitzke, work Andrews estimated was worth about $250.
The other vehicle was sold at an auction for $1,100, with Levitzke receiving the money, according to the FDLE investigation.
On Tuesday, Cervone told commissioners Levitzke had accepted a deferred prosecution agreement that included the former chief paying the city $1,350 in restitution for the vehicles as well as surrendering his certification as a Florida police officer. Andrews was not charged because there was no indication he had any reason to believe the vehicle was illegally being transferred, Cervone said.
Levitzke did not attend the meeting. When reached at his home, the former chief said he did not agree with how the situation was settled.
"But I don't have the money to fight it," Levitzke said. "I don't have any other comment on it."
Levitzke spent 17 years on the police force, working his way up from patrolman to chief of the small department that patrolled the approximately 3-square-mile city. As chief, Levitzke was paid $38,762 a year to supervise eight full-time employees and one part-timer in a city of just under 2,000 residents that serves as the retail hub for Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie counties.
Other cases that Cervone's office was asked to look at it were all resolved in noncriminal venues before Tuesday's meeting. An allegation of open-meeting law violations was settled by a civil court late last year. And claims that one police officer pocketed money instead of transferring it from one account to another two years ago could not be substantiated.
Karen Voyles can be reached at (352) 486-5058 or email@example.com.
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