Bevan suspended from practicing law in Florida after 1999 incident in which he faced criminal charges
Along with Siesta Key resident Mike Cosentino, Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody, and former Sarasota Mayor Fredd Atkins, a fourth person has filed to run as a Democrat for the County Commission District 2 seat held by Commissioner Christian Ziegler.
The individual has listed a Sarasota address, but he previously lived in Port Charlotte in Charlotte County, based on Sarasota News Leader research. His name is Andrew Bevan.
His primary interests, he said during a March 22 telephone interview, are protecting the environment and working on ways to deal with climate change.
County commissioners must strive for sustainable development as they work to preserve wetlands and public spaces such as parks, Bevan emphasized.
He also filed on March 5, 2021 to run against U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, who is seeking re-election to the District 17 U.S. House seat.
Although a March 22 search of Federal Elections Commission records did not show Bevan as a candidate in that U.S. House race, he still was listed as such in Florida Division of Elections records.
In response to a News Leader question, Paul Donnelly, the director of communications and voter outreach for the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office, wrote in a March 14 email, with emphasis, “It is legal for Mr. Bevan to file for the offices. However, he is not permitted to qualify for more than one office. Per the Florida Department of State Division of Elections, ‘Persons are prohibited from qualifying for more than one federal, state, district, county, or municipal office if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other. For example: (a) a person may not qualify in Florida to run for more than one U.S. House of Representatives seat at a time; or (b) a person may not qualify for both a state office and a county office if the terms or any part of the two offices overlap.’
“See also 99.012(2)” of the Florida Statutes, Donnelly added.
Finally, Donnelly wrote, “Part of the qualifying process is for each candidate to complete a Candidate Oath (99.021(1)(a), Fla. Stat.) that states in part, ‘That he or she has qualified for no other public office in the state, the term of which office or any part thereof runs concurrent with that of the office he or she seeks …’”
When Bevan filed his District 2 commission candidacy papers with the Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Office, he listed his address as 412 Bailey Road. The Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office shows that the owner of that home is William Wolfson, who purchased it in August 2012.
During the March 22 telephone interview, Bevan explained that he has been living full-time in the house since early this year.
He also said that his father has been residing with him there. In fact, the News Leaderfirst spoke with his father, who advised this reporter to call back later, when he expected Andrew to be back home.
Section 6.7 of the Sarasota County Charter says, “If anyone wishes to qualify for an elected position in Sarasota County that requires residency within a specific district, they must have resided within that district for six (6) months immediately prior to qualification. Anyone who wishes to qualify for a position that does not require residency within a specific district must have been a Sarasota County resident for six (6) months immediately prior to qualification.”
The Supervisor of Elections Office notes that the qualifying period for the commission races will begin at noon on June 13 and end at noon on June 17.
Further, the filing fee for partisan races this year is $5,576.10, Donnelly of the Supervisor of Elections Office told the News Leader in a March 23 email. For the November 2018 County Commission races, the filing fee was $5,198.04.
“A candidate can avoid the filing fee if he/she elects to use the petition process,” Donnelly added. “In that case, a candidate would need to gather 681 petitions (340,092 registered voters divided by 5 x 1%) to qualify without the fee.”
Bevan told the News Leader he had planned to start going door-to-door in District 2 to seek signatures on petitions so he would not have to pay the filing fee. However, he continued, right after he filed for the seat, on Feb. 14, a car struck him in a crosswalk. The resulting injuries, Bevan said, had made it difficult for him to walk. He added that, as he recovers, he hopes to overcome that impediment. “I like going for walks,” Bevan pointed out.
The News Leader checked with both the Sarasota Police Department and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office to find out whether either had a report on file of such an incident on Feb. 14.
Officer Jason Frank of the Motor/Traffic Unit with the Police Department told the News Leader in a March 23 email that he could find no record of any report with Bevan’s name in the department’s system.
In a March 24 email, Megan Krahe, media relations specialist for the Sheriff’s Office wrote, “I searched our database but did not find any incident involving this gentleman. I also checked with our dispatch center, and they did not find any similar calls on that date near the Supervisor of Elections office downtown.”
The congressional seat candidacy
When the News Leader asked Bevan about his filing for the U.S. House seat, Bevan said he was defeated in the Democratic Primary. However, that primary will not occur until Aug. 23, as noted on a state elections calendar.
When the News Leader repeated its question, Bevan maintained that he lost out in the Democratic Primary for Florida’s District 17 U.S. House seat.
The News Leader could find no record that he ran for the seat in 2018 or 2020.
In reviewing information about Bevan’s candidacy for the District 17 U.S. House seat, the News Leader did find that, on May 12, 2021, Bevan electronically filed articles of incorporation with the state to create the company Andrew Bevan for Congress Inc. The address listed as the principal place of business was on Edgewater Drive in Port Charlotte, which was the same address the News Leader viewed in other records regarding Bevan.
Bevan told the News Leader that he raised no money for his congressional campaign. “I really wasn’t focused.”
Then Bevan said, “I thought maybe I should start with local government, first,” before seeking a federal office.
He did use Twitter to promote his U.S. House candidacy, he indicated. Yet, he is unable to remember his handle at this time, he said, so he has not issued any tweets about his County Commission campaign.
Florida Supreme Court denies Bevan petition for reinstatement to Florida Bar
In its online search for information about Bevan, the News Leader also learned that Bevan was admitted to the Florida Bar on Oct. 9, 1996, but his membership is classified as “Lapsed.”
He is listed as a 1996 graduate of the South Texas College of Law in Houston. The News Leader confirmed that by searching the list of graduates for that year on the college’s website.
Then the News Leader discovered that Bevan practiced law in an office in Fort Myers until he was suspended for 91 days by the Florida Supreme Court “for a conviction of Felony Criminal Mischief in September of 2004,” as Bevan wrote in an answer brief in a 2007 Florida Supreme Court case.
Bevan added in that brief that his conviction — on that charge plus a count of misdemeanor assault — “was overturned on Appeal at the Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland, Florida and his Civil Rights were restored shortly thereafter.”
Bevan cited the 2005 case Bevan v. State.
The Florida Bar’s initial brief in the 2007 state Supreme Court case explained that Bevan was charged with the crimes on March 29, 1999, and a jury found him guilty. However, the brief continued, the prosecution was delayed “because [Bevan] was found incompetent to stand trial, due in part to a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder.”
In their statement of facts in the brief, the Florida Bar attorneys wrote that Bevan “attacked two workers who were constructing a pool enclosure on a neighbor’s property. [Bevan] threw the workers’ tools into the pool, and rammed into their truck with his car. He then used a golf club to break all the windows of the workers’ truck and threatened them with the club.”
In his answer brief, Bevan pointed out, “[T]he Florida Bar fails to mention that the … two adversaries had pointed loaded guns at Andrew Arthur Bevan. The Florida Bar left out the fact that the two construction workers that had assailed Andrew Arthur Bevan had pointed a loaded Glock pistol and a 9 millimeter gun at Andrew Arthur Bevan and that it was only after the two construction workers had pointed the guns at him that Andrew Arthur Bevan chased them with a golf club.”
On June 26, 2008, the Florida Supreme Court denied Bevan’s petition to be reinstated to the Florida Bar.
This week, the News Leader also discovered a news media alert that the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office issued on Dec. 30, 2021, listing Bevan as a missing endangered person. “Andrew was last seen yesterday on Edgewater Dr. in Port Charlotte around 6am. wearing a Marine Corps jacket, blue jeans, and sandals,” the alert said.
When the News Leader called the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, a spokeswoman who checked the agency’s records reported that Bevan returned to his Port Charlotte home on Dec. 31.