Crawford faces ethics hearing

Shane Crawford

MADEIRA BEACH — Two civil complaints against former Madeira Beach city manager Shane Crawford accusing him of improprieties in handling the estate of the late city commissioner Patricia Shontz have been “amicably” settled, according to documents filed with the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court.

Paperwork asking for the lawsuits to be dismissed was submitted Feb. 13. The suits were filed Jan. 9 by Robert Decker, trustee of the Patricia Shontz and George Shontz Living Trust.

“This settlement agreement is intended to buy peace between the parties and is not an admission of any wrongdoing on the part of any of the parties,” a document says. “In fact each of the parties specifically denies any liability to the other parties and settles these matters only to avoid continued costly litigation.”

Crawford has “properly received his full distribution from the trust, i.e., the property located at 15332 Harbor Drive, Madeira Beach,” the settlement states.

The house was willed to Crawford by Patricia Shontz. One of the lawsuits had sought to deny Crawford any reimbursement he received from ownership of the house.

The other lawsuit claimed Crawford had received $27,000 to which he was not entitled while managing properties owned by the Shontz estate.

In an email to the Beacon, Crawford said, “This dismisses the case that was coincidentally filed against me a week (or two) before I was a candidate for the city manager’s position in St. Pete Beach and what was cited by the city attorney as a reason of major concern when advising the city commission to consider me as a candidate.”

He added that “a settlement of no fault on either side and of which no payouts were made by each side hopefully shows there was more to this than meets the eye.”

The lawsuits were dismissed “with prejudice,” which means they cannot be filed again.