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Former Gainesville FOP President, Sheriff Candidate Charged With Stealing $56K

Jeffery McAdams (Courtesy of Marion County Sheriff’s Office)
Jeffery McAdams (Courtesy of Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

The former president of the Gainesville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #67 is charged with stealing more than $56,000 from the organization between 2011 and April 2014.

Jeffery McAdams was arrested on a felony charge Monday. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, whose agents made the arrest, "Investigators believe McAdams stole thousands by double billing the FOP for travel expenses, spending money at restaurants and bars and purchasing gift cards that did not benefit the Gator Lodge."

McAdams, 52, was a Gainesville Police Department officer since 1993 and Gainesville FOP Lodge president for 14 years. The FOP is a labor union that represents law enforcement officers. He ran for Alachua County sheriff in 2006, the year current sheriff Sadie Darnell was elected. The two clashed four years later when McAdams, as union president, was accused of evidence tampering. The state lodge came to his defense in a newsletter that year, accusing Darnell of "arrogant abuse of power." He was not prosecuted.

The Gainesville Police Department last year reported concerns to FDLE about spending on the lodge's debit card, which only McAdams controlled. GPD put him on suspension in October 2014, and he retired from the department Oct. 1, 2015.

The timing of his retirement prior to his arrest allows him to keep his pension, per Florida state law:

Any public officer or employee who is convicted of a specified offense committed prior to retirement, or whose office or employment is terminated by reason of his or her admitted commission, aid, or abetment of a specified offense, shall forfeit all rights and benefits under any public retirement system of which he or she is a member, except for the return of his or her accumulated contributions as of the date of termination.

McAdams turned himself in Monday at the Marion County Jail and was released four hours later on $12,000 bond.

Earlier this year, he was ordered to repay $3,541 to FOP attorney Michael Finesilver. Finesilver said Tuesday he is a witness in the case against McAdams and could not comment, but he did say McAdams had not yet followed the court order and repaid his $3,541.

Ethan is the Managing Editor in the Innovation News Center, home to WUFT News.He is a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.