Local PI denies unearthing affair

Virginia

Southeast / Virginia 13 Views

A Gainesville investigator may be the reason why the Florida Legislature's session this week began like a soap opera, complete with startling admissions and hidden cameras.

The session kicked off Tuesday with a joint statement from two state senators one day after a website — floresbraynonaffair.com, which has now gone dark — went live.

State Sens. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, and Anitere Flores, R-Miami, both married, issued a statement that said their “longtime friendship evolved to a level that we deeply regret” and that they have since asked for forgiveness from their families. The site claimed to show Flores entering and leaving Braynon’s Tallahassee condominium for four consecutive nights in April 2017.

Over the last few months, public figures and politicians have been fired or resigned amid sexual misconduct complaints, including U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota and Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.

It is currently unclear who conducted the surveillance on Braynon and Flores or who put up the site. But in May 2017, Braynon found a similar camera on the sixth floor of the Tennyson Condominium, at 121 N. Monroe St. in Tallahassee, which belonged to Gainesville Private Investigator Derek Uman, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation report.

Uman, president of Clear Capture Investigations, at 604 NW 8th Place in Gainesville, told The Sun Wednesday afternoon that he couldn’t comment on the subject. He wouldn’t confirm or deny whether he set up the cameras and site.

Late Wednesday evening, Uman emailed The Sun and denied having anything to do with the affair site and cameras.

According to Clear Capture Investigations’ website, the agency is licensed by the state with other operating bases in Ocala, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee. It specializes in infidelity, political and corporate surveillance cases.

The FDLE report that found that Uman was renting a condo at Tennyson at the time the original camera was found and that his work as a private investigator had been completed. Interviews with condo employees said they saw a man, who had the kind of key fob given to residents, setting up the cameras, according to the report.

The FDLE report also found Uman did not break any laws.

The now-dormant website said the “author” of the site had unrestricted access to the condo and a key fob.

The site showed security cameras were set up at the end of a hallway on the sixth floor and in a parking garage of the Tennyson Condominium. The videos don’t show a clear picture of either senator's face, but appears to show them getting out of their cars, entering and leaving their condos.

State Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, said he was aware of the alleged affair and called it “unfortunate.” He said he and his state senate colleagues don’t plan to bring the subject up again.

“I think that’s an extremely unfortunate situation,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate for everyone involved, including the families. All these things can certainly cause distractions … I need to stay focused on passing good policies and budget.”

Nathan Skop, a former Public Service Commissioner and Gainesville resident, said he once was followed by Uman during a time that Skop was set to testify in a case involving NextEra, the parent company to Florida Power and Light.

Uman categorically denied surveilling or following Skop.

Jenna Sarkissian, the deputy director of public relations at Sachs Media Group, emailed The Sun the senators' joint statement:

"As this 2018 session of the Florida Legislature gets underway, we do not want gossip and rumors to distract from the important business of the people. That's why we are issuing this brief statement to acknowledge that our longtime friendship evolved to a level that we deeply regret. We have sought the forgiveness of our families, and also seek the forgiveness of our constituents and God. We ask everyone else to respect and provide our families the privacy that they deserve as we move past this to focus on the important work ahead." 

Comments