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DESTIN — City Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell has been ordered to appear in Okaloosa County Circuit Court on Nov. 16 to answer to obstruction and battery on a law enforcement officer charges that led to her arrest Friday.

According to a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office, Ramswell was arrested during the execution of a search warrant at her home in the Indian Bayou neighborhood.

“During the execution of the search warrant, a sworn law enforcement officer who works for the State Attorney’s Office was struck by Mrs. Ramswell,” spokesman Frederick Longmire said.

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Longmire said an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy was present but was not involved in the search and was not the officer who allegedly was struck by Ramswell.

In a news release issued Monday afternoon, Longmire reported, "The State Attorney’s Office commenced an investigation upon receipt of a complaint from Point Mezzanine LLC alleging Destin City Council member Prebble Quinn Ramswell had conducted public business on personal electronic devices and concealed the content and nature of her communications. Additionally, she failed to disclose those communications as required by law after the City of Destin received a public records request from Point Mezzanine LLC."

An arrest warrant was issued on Oct. 11, for Ms. Ramswell for a violation of Chapter 838.022, Florida Statutes, Official Misconduct, punishable as a third-degree felony, and Chapter 119.07, Florida Statutes, Inspection of Records, punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor, the release said.

“We take any allegation of misconduct by public servants seriously and will enforce the law to ensure the integrity and credibility of our government," State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden said in the release.

According to a document provided by the Sheriff’s Office, probable cause for the State Attorney’s Office search warrant was based on a first-degree misdemeanor public records violation and a third-degree felony charge of fraud pertaining to a public servant concealing, destroying or altering an official document. 

Prebble Ramswell, City of Destin Councilmember . © Michael Snyder Prebble Ramswell, City of Destin Councilmember .

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The affidavit for the arrest warrant states that Ramswell “did knowingly, willfully, and intentionally conceal numerous public records from the city of Destin, on her personal cell phone which caused unlawful harm to others, thereby committing the crimes of Official Misconduct…for failure to produce public records of the City upon multiple requests by Joseph Winkler or his attorney Gary Hunter Jr. of Pointe Mezzanine.”

Pointe Mezzanine LLC is a business that through an affiliate owns Holiday Isle’s Pointe Beach & Yacht Club condominiums. Winkler is a representative of the business.

In October 2019, Pointe Mezzanine sued the city over allegations that Destin officials violated the state’s Sunshine Law by failing to produce text messages between city staff and elected officials.

The initial records request, which called for documents pertaining to the original condominium project, the recently proposed addition of docking facilities and a right-of-way across the condominium property to Norriego Point, took more than a month to fulfill, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit later was settled at a cost of some $30,000 to the city.

Ramswell, 49, paid a cash appearance bond of $2,400 Friday and was released on her own recognizance.

“There’s a lot I would love to say but my attorney has advised me not to comment and to refer any questions to him,” Ramswell said Monday.

Her attorney, Christopher Klotz of Pensacola, could not be immediately reached for comment.

City of Destin spokeswoman Catherine Card said Monday, “As of today, we do not have a special (council) meeting scheduled regarding this matter (of Ramswell’s arrest). Our next regular council meeting is Monday, Oct. 18. The status of Councilwoman Ramswell’s position on the Destin City Council has not changed.”

Ramswell has served on the council since 2014. Her current four-year term is set to expire in 2022.

She also is president of Destin High School Inc., the private organization that established Destin High School. The public charter high school is in its first year.

Sarah Stone, a member of the Destin High governing board, declined to comment Monday on Ramswell’s arrest.

This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: Report: Search of Destin councilwoman's home related to Pointe Mezzanine records violation

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/report-search-of-destin-councilwomans-home-relates-to-fraud-public-records-violations/ar-AAPodq0

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Report: Search of Destin councilwomans home related to Pointe Mezzanine records violation

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