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Public Defender Matt Shirk's office shower allegedly constructed without proper permits

11:22 AM, Sep 10, 2013   |    comments
Matt Shirk
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A shower that has been the subject of previous stories emanating from the Public Defender's Office is again in the news.

First Coast News' partner the Florida Times-Union reports that the shower in Public Defender Matt Shirk's office suite was completed after a final City Hall plumbing inspection and without the proper permits, according to public records and a city plumbing official.

The shower is listed as incomplete and nonfunctional by the most recent permits on file. In an interview with the T-U last month, Shirk said the shower was fully functional and usable.

The shower came under scrutiny when a former investigator for the public defender told the T-U that Shirk sent a female employee a text message asking her to join him in the shower. Shirk acknowledged sending inappropriate text messages to female employees, but he denied sending that particular message.

Shirk told the T-U he requested a working shower because he frequently runs and had one in his previous office on Market Street.

"We tried to get the city to put in a shower that was more public, so the other staff could use it," Shirk told the T-U, "but that didn't happen."

Subcontractor Touchton Plumbing completed the shower April 8, which was about a month after the city's final plumbing inspection. The city has no record of the completed shower in the plans, the T-U reports. According to the T-U, the shower and a water heater cost $1,649, but added only $368 to the project because a break room sink wasn't installed. 

Not having the proper permits on file for the shower adds to the list of questions that were brought up around the Public Defender's Office previously.

Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed Bill Cervone, state attorney in the 8th Judicial Circuit, as the special prosecutor to look into the issues in Shirk's office. He made the appointment after a request by Angela Corey, state attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit, who cited a conflict of interest.

First Coast News

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