BROOKSVILLE, FL - After a two-month investigation, former Hernando County Fleet Director Jack Stepongzi will face no criminal charges for his role in taking "commission" money from a government vending contract, according to Hernando Today.
Though Stepongzi's actions were inappropriate and serious, Assistant State Attorney Mark Simpson determined it more an ethical violation than a criminal one. Had Stepongzi not quit his job, Simpson said he would have likely recommended to the state ethics commission that it conduct its own investigation, reported Hernando Today.
Simpson said he got the results of the sheriff's office investigation this week that showed Stepongzi's "commissions" or kickbacks, were confined only to one parts supplier: Texas-based Vulocity, which sold global positioning units to the county fleet department. Stepongzi's total monetary gain was $332, reported Hernando Today.
Simpson said the matter did not rise to criminal intent because the taxpayers and the county did not suffer a monetary loss. Vulocity was the lowest responsible bidder and the price of the GPS units was not inflated to make up Stepongzi's 10 percent commission, he said.
Also, it appears that Stepongzi did not arrange his "kickback" deal until after the vendor contract was completed. And even then, it is unclear who initiated it, Stepongzi was quoted as saying, according to Hernando Today.
County Engineer Charles Mixson and Assistant Department of Public Works Director Steve Whitaker have been running fleet operations for the county since Stepongzi resigned. Commissioner Adkins said the county will not replace him, according to Hernando Today.