Sebastian City Councilwoman Pamela Parris applied for a grant as a worker for her home-based real estate business. The city has rejected her application.
“She completed the application for a Worker, but the only workers being considered are those that work at a Business that submits and is qualified for the Small Business Grant,” City Administrative Services Director/CFO Ken Killgore told Sebastian Daily.
While the city denied her Worker grant application, she was also trying to apply for the $5,000 Small Business Grant. However, Parris was not eligible since she has a home-based real estate business.
Parris also knew home businesses were ineligible as she asked that question when it came time for the City Council to vote.
“Maintaining a commercial physical storefront?” Parris asked during the July 22, 2020, City Council Meeting.
Mayor Dodd told Parris that the grant excludes home-based businesses in the City of Sebastian. The $5,000 grant monies are only for small businesses maintaining a physical commercial storefront or location.
Parris was also told the Worker grant is only for employees working for a small business that was approved for the program, but she went forward and applied for the grant anyway.
“Home-based businesses were not shutdown,” City Manager Paul Carlisle said.
Mayor Dodd said the grant was for businesses that were forced to shut down by the state, such as restaurants, bars, beauty salons, and gyms. He then told Parris directly, “they didn’t shut down realtors.”
There is also the question if she violated any laws by voting to make funds available to local businesses, then trying to help herself to the monies thereafter.
Parris dated the application and submitted it on August 4th, long after the July 22nd meeting.
“I never applied for a grant … I am not eligible to apply for the federal money … I’m simply helping other small businesses get their’s,” Parris told Sebastian Daily.
Parris denies applying for the grant, but here’s a copy of her application.
Councilman Damien Gilliams also faced public scrutiny and complaints from local businesses when he applied for the grant before the program was available.
Gilliams’ application was denied the first time because he didn’t wait until the program was available to everyone on a first come, first serve basis.
According to Councilman Jim Hill, Damien Gilliams made copies of a draft application and gave it out to his friends and called a few local businesses.
When the program became available to everyone, Gilliams was again first in line to apply. Some business owners filed an ethics complaint against Gilliams with the state.
Last week, the City Council voted to file their own ethics complaint against Damien Gilliams, accusing him of violating at least three Florida Ethics Laws.
“It is a conflict of interest for Damien Gilliams to vote to make funds available to businesses then apply for the funds the next day,” Councilman Jim Hill told Sebastian Daily.
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