Commissioner Daisy Lynum Under State Investigation

Posted April 24, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Eyewitness News obtained documents that show Orlando Commissioner Daisy Lynum is under a state investigation for abusing her power. The State Ethics Commission is leading the investigation into a controversial phone call she made after her son was pulled over by an Orlando police officer.

The findings against Lynum will be made public Wednesday, but Eyewitness News has already obtained the documents that show probable cause for a deeper probe. The probable cause means the Ethics Commission will now proceed with a formal hearing of the Lynum complaint.

If sustained, Lynum could face a fine, suspension or even lose her seat.

"When imminent danger or harm is possible, I believe it is my duty to call Chief McCoy," Lynum said.

She said that's all she was doing when she made an early morning phone call to the chief, while her son was being pulled over by police.

But the ethics complaint accuses Lynum of "using her access to shield her son from some perceived imminent danger."

At the time, Juan Lynum said he didn't know his headlight was out or why the officer stopped him, so he assumed it was racial-profiling.

"At that point, what is she supposed to do as a commissioner, as a citizen, as a mother? There's a real concern, a perception, which was their reality that there was imminent danger," said Lynum's attorney, Mark Nejame.

Chief Mike McCoy told Eyewitness News that Lynum asked why her son was being pulled over and expressed concern for his safety.

The officer let Juan Lynum go and later mailed him a ticket after a supervisor reviewed the incident. Eyewitness News asked the chief if he thinks Lynum broke the rules.

"From my experience, I don't see it, but I have not seen the investigation," he said.

The Ethics Commission will release its probable cause findings Wednesday and order a formal hearing on the case.

The complaint was filed by a private citizen named Richard Spears, who also happens to be the former chairman of the Ethics Commission.

In addition to ethics, there is also a criminal statute for abuse of power, but there has been no talk of any criminal investigation into the incident.