LANTANA — A woman trying to get speed bumps installed as a safety measure in her neighborhood says she was offered a strange deal on the matter by the town’s mayor.
Lantana resident Catherine Padilla became well-acquainted with Mayor David Stewart five years ago at Kiwanis Club meetings. After one such meeting, during the time when Padilla was pushing for the speed bumps, the pair shared a lunch and Stewart drove Padilla to a motel and suggested he “occupy” one of the rooms with her.
Padilla refused the offer and filed a complaint against Stewart. Standard procedure saw the state commission alerting Stewart to the complaint, and about a week later, he turned up on Padilla’s doorstep to discuss it, something the police termed a “suspicious incident.”
Then, in the lead-up to a town council meeting where the speed bump issue would come to a vote, Stewart dropped what little ambiguity he had employed thus far and informed Padilla outright that it wasn’t too late to sleep with him to guarantee the speed bumps would be installed.
Again, Padilla refused—wisely, it seems, since the speed bump measure was ultimately granted anyway at a council meeting in August 2015 (due in no small part to a petition Padilla painstakingly put together and had neighborhood residents sign).
The drama all played out in 2014 and 2015, but Padilla said that she only now felt able to tell her tale.
“I’m finally strong enough,” she stated. “My feet are on the ground now. I’m finally feeling strong enough to come forward with this.”
As it happens, Padilla has indeed had a lot of struggles with which to contend. In an unrelated incident that also unfolded in 2015, her ex-husband, Herminio Padilla Jr., died on the job when he fell through a metal grate at a plant in West Palm Beach and subsequently drowned in sewage.
Unsurprisingly, the mayor has denied Padilla’s claims.
“These accusations are totally and completely false,” Stewart asserted. “I won’t dignify them by commenting. I continue to focus on doing my best for the residents of our town and community.”
It appears that Lantana may stuck with Stewart; he’s been mayor since 2000, and is running unopposed in the current election for his seat. One can’t help but wonder what an actual “STOP” sign would go for.