Indicted commissioner was in debt, 'abused power'

By Bob Norman, Reporter, bnorman@Local10.com
Published On: Apr 09 2013 04:46:17 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 05 2013 02:33:05 PM EDT

A Margate city commissioner indicted on bribery charges has a long history in local politics. Local 10's Bob Norman investigates.

MARGATE, Fla. -

A Margate city commissioner indicted on bribery charges has a long history in local politics.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against 50-year-old David McLean on Wednesday. He was charged with three counts of bribery in connection with a program receiving federal funds.

McLean formerly served as mayor and entertained the public with his Elvis Presley impersonation.

"Actually, he's pretty good," said Commissioner Lee Peerman. "A lot of the people in the condos liked him."

Peerman had recently called for McLean's resignation after he improperly used a city credit card.

"It was an abuse of power," said Peerman.

"We were finding discrepancies, serious discrepancies," said Mitchell Pellecchia, who runs MargateNews.net. "Yet the public still had confidence that Dave was a straightforward, stand-up guy."

Pellecchia also found that McLean had a long history of bad debts on several failed bars he has owned in the city, so much so that his city paycheck was being garnished. McLean also at times failed to pay sales taxes and had been fined by the state for unlawful alcohol sales. 

McLean's indictment involves his most recent business, Dave's Tiki Bar on State Road 7 in the city. The FBI alleges McLean used his influence in the city to assist Kris Singh, his landlord, in getting an occupational license and pay liens for cash. He is also accused of helping Singh get a Community Redevelopment Agency grant in which the price of work done was inflated so they could pocket the difference. 

In all, McLean accepted $6,000 in cash on three separate occasions. Singh cooperated with the FBI and is the lead witness in the case. He told Local 10's Bob Norman that McLean owed him thousands for rent that he never paid.

"Were you involved in wrongdoing?" asked Norman.

"I would say I've not done anything wrong," replied Singh. "I've not doing anything illegal to my knowledge."

Ed McGee, McLean's attorney, issued a statement, saying: "He has pled not guilty and we are anxious to see the government's case."

McLean surrendered to authorities on Wednesday and was released after posting $50,000 bail. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years on each of the three counts. 

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