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Temple Terrace leaders hold special session following corruption scandal

Temple Terrace City Council members have called an emergency meeting to discuss next steps following the arrest and firing of their development manager and the ousting of the city manager. They are now tasked with restoring community confidence following the corruption scandal.

Temple Terrace development manager Amir Anisi was arrested on his way to work last week. Investigators say Anisi gave inside information to an unlicensed contractor to help their company secure a contract to renovate the racquetball courts at the city’s Family Recreation Center…

“With this information, his friend submitted his bid under this estimate, guaranteeing that his company would win the bid,” said Mark Brutnell, special agent in charge of the FDLE.

In return for helping him win the job, detectives say Anisi told the contractor he expected a discount on some home renovations he hired him to do.

(Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

Anisi faces charges of bid tampering and bribery.

Mayor Ross said the city will conduct a review to make sure this type of situation doesn’t happen again.

“I want to assure the residents of our city and those who do business with our city that Temple Terrace will not tolerate this kind of behavior,” Ross said in a statement. “I and all members of City Council are committed to the highest standards of integrity and will continue to demand transparency and excellence from our staff.”

A day after his arrest, the City Council voted unanimously to fire City Manager Charles Stephenson after he said he failed to properly supervise Anisi and would not cooperate with law enforcement investigating on the allegations.

Charles Stephenson, former City Manager of Temple Terrace

Council member Meredith Abel Stephenson was not the target of the FDLE investigation, however, when asked, investigators did not “proclaim Stephenson’s innocence”. She moved the vote to end Stepheson’s contract.

Abel noted that Anisi reported directly to Stephenson and was within his jurisdiction. She said it “stands to be taken for granted that Mr Stephenson was either negligent in his duties or complicit in Mr Anisi’s activities”.

“I believe that Mr. Anisi could not have done this without the active or passive cooperation of the city manager,” she continued.

Able added that the situation “does not reflect Temple Terrace and its staff as a whole”.

Mayor Andy Ross has nominated Temple Terrace Police Chief Ken Albano for the position of acting city manager until an interim city manager is identified.

The meeting to discuss the City’s new interim manager position will take place Monday at 6 p.m.