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State releases report on damaged mangroves and unpermitted projects at Bradenton condo complex

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BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – A state investigation into complaints about a Bradenton condo complex manager includes eleven “investigative findings,” and details tied to another state probe concerning mangroves allegedly filled with debris.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation began investigating Palma Sola Harbour in September after two maintenance men at the complex filed complaints with three agencies. Paul Hallick and Charlie Anderson claim they were fired after they went to authorities.

The DBPR’s investigative report obtained by 8 On Your Side included an allegation that Palma Sola Manager Matthew Edwards “instructed maintenance staff to perform construction work without appropriate permitting or licensure.”

The report also indicated Edwards was incorrect when he responded to a records request that unlicensed contractor Lowell Rollins was paid by the association four times.

“Subpoenas verified that Rollins had been paid by the association 51 times totaling the amount of $61,298,” the report stated.

Edwards also “failed to produce invoices justifying $91,698 in vendor payments made to himself and Lowell Rollins,” the report said.

Edwards attorney Brennan Donnelly said the report “is a one-sided presentation that is misleading,” and he blamed Hallick and Anderson.

“This is what happens when you have people who don’t like someone,” Donnelly said. “[Edwards] never took any money from the condo association that was not contractually obligated in writing.”

Edwards called the claims “ridiculous” in a statement he made last month when the allegations first surfaced.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has alleged wood, glass, old concrete and other debris were used to fill about 1,000 square feet of mangroves that line the complex.

Manatee Code Enforcement has also investigated the alleged illegal dumping and permitting issues.

Rollins has said he did not know about the claims about the mangroves. He said he was “doing everything to correct what I have done wrong” in the projects that he completed without a license and permits.

DBPR has yet to respond to questions about what is expected to happen next in that agency’s investigation.

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