LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — The building inspector facing felony charges was fired Tuesday during a Lynn Haven City Commission Meeting.
Mike Gordon had been working under a lucrative contract until he was arrested last week on felony fraud charges.
Lynn Haven police said Friday that they began investigating Gordon after they learned he had obtained a general contractor’s license in Calhoun County. That action sent up red flags after local and state investigators determined that a former employee was illegally awarding licenses to individuals.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Chief Ricky Ramie noted that the test is supposed to be proctored and takes seven or eight hours to complete.
However, people who got their licenses in Calhoun County were done in 10 minutes, Ramie said.
In Lynn Haven, investigators say Gordon ordered employees to inspect buildings even though they were not qualified to perform the inspections.
However, Gordon found some support Tuesday even though city commissioners ultimately voted to end his contract.
“You can call me naive if you want but I think Michael Gordon is not guilty,” said Commissioner Judy Tinder. “As a human being I just can’t even fathom that he would do this.”
Tinder said she’s also concerned the city would face another lawsuit if the case against Gordon wasn’t a slam dunk in criminal court.
That promped Ramie to speak up.
“I can show you pictures or anybody else pictures where he sent unqualified employees in to do inspections,” Ramie said. “I tell you Mrs. Tinder my biggest fear in this job is not being shot. My biggest fear is putting an innocent person in jail and that’s all I have to say.”
Mayor Pro Tem Dan Russell said the charges require the city to act.
“I don’t know how this city moves forward if we don’t terminate him,” Russell said. “That means he is the City of Lynn Haven building official. How can you have someone conduct the inspections when there is a criminal charge being pressed against him?”
Commissioners terminated the city’s contract with Gordon with a 3-1 vote. Tinder voted against firing him.
Gordon also had a contract with Panama City Beach. It too has been terminated.
Records show Gordon was well paid for his services. From July of 2019 to this April Lynn Haven paid him $1,076,004.03.
Panama City Beach paid him nearly $1,769,095.02 dating back to 2015.
By comparison, Bay County’s entire in-house building department has a $3.6 million dollar budget this year. It has 21 employees.
The department head makes $95,000 each year.