Mayor's car repossessed during council meeting in Florida

It wasn't on the agenda but outside a contentious city council meeting in Riviera Beach, Florida, last month, the mayor's car was towed away by a repo man.

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Police records obtained last week through a public information request show that at 6:37 p.m. on Oct. 18, Mayor Thomas Masters’ silver 2014 Subaru was towed from near the meeting at the city’s Marina events center by Strong Recovery, an involuntary repossession on behalf of a lien holder.

“One, it was a personal matter,” Masters said Monday. “Two, it was a misunderstanding. Three, we were able to straighten it out within a few hours.”

The mayor said he didn’t find out his car was gone until after the meeting, one in which debate raged over three council members’ recent decision to fire Riviera Beach’s popular new city manager, Jonathan Evans, without explanation.

The repo company declined comment.

The mayor declined to say whether the car was towed for failure to make payments. “Anyone is subject to that kind of misunderstanding,” he said.

He’d recently been out of the country, promoting the city in China, he explained.

“I had just recently gotten back, and we had the hurricane, there were a lot of moving parts. It was very busy, and we had the Jonathan Evans thing. … I had been very much occupied, because I was en route and the hurricane and all these things were going on and there was a misunderstanding with where we were with the car at that point. The car was returned to me within hours.”

The repo comes despite the fact that the mayor gets a $750-per-month car allowance from the city.

The repo incident adds one more unusual turn of events to a city government with no shortage of them in recent months.

The Palm Beach Post reported on patterns of questionable spending, credit card and vehicle use by council members.

On an administrative level, many top jobs are unfilled at City Hall, amid firings, a suspension and resignations.

Evans' firing led to a petition drive seeking the recall of the three council members, Terence Davis, Dawn Pardo and Lynne Hubbard. The county supervisor of elections last week rejected virtually all the signatures collected but organizers say the rejection was based on flawed information provided by the city attorney.

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