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Private Investigator says Matt Shirk lived 'like a playboy' and let wife drive company car to go shopping

10:25 PM, Aug 27, 2013   |    comments
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Matt Shirk

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are new calls for an investigation in to the Public Defender's Office after serious allegations of misconduct.

"I think if you're elected to public office, you're elected to be that official, and you should not shirk your duties and not use taxpayer dollars and live like a playboy," said Private Investigator Mike Kilpatrick. 

Kilpatrick says he has known there were problems at the Public Defender's office for a year.

Working with attorneys inside Public Defender Matt Shirk's office in 2012, he collected evidence he says proves Shirk and his wife misused taxpayer dollars.

"He was definitely using his state car for personal use as well as campaign use. She took his car to go workout at the gym, and after the gym she took the car to the Town Center and went shopping," he said.

At the time, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI declined to investigate.

But the new allegations against the Public Defender are more serious.

Former investigators hired by the office, Al Kelly and Greg Strickland, told First Coast News they stand by what they told the Florida Times-Union.

The two said Matt Shirk found a young woman working for the Whiskey River nightclub on a social media website.

The woman and her friend were hired without going through the official process, according to Kelly and Strickland. Their investigation also revealed the women drank alcohol in Shirk's office.

"That doesn't surprise me," said Kilpatrick.

Public records obtained by First Coast News show Shirk coordinated his travel schedule with one of the young women, and employees joked about him being "covered in martini juice." 

Strickland told the Times-Union that Shirk invited another young woman in the office to take a shower with him.

Three women were fired from the Public Defender's Office within weeks of each other and at least one of them has hired an attorney.

Kilpatrick said he's hopeful law enforcement will now take the allegations against the Public Defender's Office seriously.

"Where do you draw the line?" asked Kilpatrick.

In response to a request from First Coast News, Jackie Shultz with the Governor Rick Scott's Office said, "The allegations reported by the Florida Times-Union are troubling, and if true, would be inconsistent with the high standards of ethical behavior Governor Scott expects from public officials."

Public Defender Matt Shirk has declined numerous requests for comment from First Coast News over the past month.

First Coast News

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