TAMPA -- City councilman Orlando Gudes didn't resign and didn't talk about the sexual harassment lawsuit against him at Thursday's Tampa City Council meeting. But plenty of other people did, either supporting Gudes or saying he's not getting due process. Council chair Joseph Citro squelched a rumor that the council was about to remove Gudes from office, saying that those who spread the rumor didn't know what they were talking about. Councilman Charlie Miranda insisted council has no power to remove Gudes.
Earlier this week, staff settled the city's portion of the lawsuit with $200,000 going to the plaintiff, a former legislative aide to Gudes. Included with the settlement check was a apology from Mayor Jane Castor.
Councilman Bill Carlson delivered a broadside against the mayor, saying Gudes hasn't gotten due process and that city staff has been used to attack council members. Carlson said if Castor and staffers "want to play dirty politics," they should do it on their own time and not leak documents to reporters.
Citro asked Carlson whether he was ready to take his complaints to the Department of Justice or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He said yes.
Most of the speakers during public comment period spoke in favor of Gudes, one saying "you don't have to be the mayor's lapdog to avoid lawsuits."
Photo: City of Tampa/ Canva