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Sarasota News Leader October 18, 2013 Page 17 BRUTAL WORDS EXCHANGED IN FIGHT OVER COUNTY COMMISSION ETHICS ALLEGATIONS By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor "Retaliation," "intimidation," "reckless allegations," "unethical behavior" — just some of the barbed words being thrown around in a very public dispute involving Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta, Ethics and Compliance Officer Steve Uebelacker and the county's long-contested mowing contracts. is "close personal friends" with Cynthia Peterson, who is spearheading a Center for Architecture Sarasota partnership with the county that involves taking over a county-owned building for just $1 per year. And two: That Barbetta had been spotted "on a boat" with the heads of two county mowing vendors, Storm Tech's Tom Giddens and Rick The argument, which burst into view late Richards Inc.'s Rick Richards. (The quotes last week through the county's public email above come from an Oct. 9 email sent by server, began when an unknown county Uebelacker to Barbetta.) employee alerted Uebelacker to two points the employee thought might suggest Barbetta Barbetta has repeatedly championed the had behaved unethically. One: That Barbetta Center for Architecture project, which will A series of failed county mowing contracts led to overgrown right of ways and medians in the summer of 2012. File photo

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