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Former Manatee administrator faces three felony charges

County Administrator Scott Hopes served as Manatee County administrator for 22 months.
County Administrator Scott Hopes served as Manatee County administrator for 22 months.
Photo by Ian Swaby
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The State Attorney's Office announced Thursday that former Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes has been charged with three felonies that occurred during the period he was employed by the county.

Hopes, 63, will face charges in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court for:

Notary fraud, a third-degree felony; grand theft, a third-degree felony; and fraudulent use of public record, a third-degree felony.

On the notary fraud count, State Attorney Ed Brodsky's office found that Hopes "on or about Oct. 27, 2022 in Manatee County, did while a notary public knowingly and unlawfully take a false or fraudulent acknowledgment of an instrument as a notary public, or fraudulently made a certificate as a notary public, or falsely took or received an acknowledgment of the signature on a written instrument."

On the grand theft charge, Hopes, on, about, or between April 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2022, in Manatee County, did knowingly and unlawfully obtain or use or endeavor to obtain or use, certain property of another, to-wit: U.S. currency, ... said property being ($10,000.00) dollars or more, but less than $20,000, and in so doing intended to either permanently or temporarily deprive the said Manatee County of a right to the property or a benefit therefrom, or to appropriate the property to his/her own use or to the use of any person not entitled thereto."

On the fraudulent use of public record charge, Hopes, on, about, or between April 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2022 in Manatee County, Florida, did knowingly and unlawfully use a public record, knowingly and unlawfully use information only obtainable through a public record, or knowingly and unlawfully provide false information that becomes part of a public record, to facilitate the commission of a felony, to wit: Theft.

The State Attorney's Office made no other statements about the exact nature of each charge.

In November, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office recommended that charges be filed against Hopes and forwarded the case to the State Attorney's Office. 

Hopes, who was earning $215,000 a year, resigned under fire Feb. 7, 2023. He received 120 days of severance pay, and 6 months of health benefits. Hopes worked for Manatee County 22 months. He had replaced Cheri Coryea, who parted ways with the county in March 2021. By May 2021, Manatee County commissioners took the "interim" wording off Hopes title and reneged on a promise to perform a national job search.

Manatee County commissioners had voted 4-3 on May 24, 2022 to extend Hopes' contract even though Manatee County Clerk Angel Colonesso had told commissioners Hopes had mismanaged staff and abused his office.



Jay Heater

Jay Heater is the managing editor of the East County Observer. Overall, he has been in the business more than 41 years, 26 spent at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay area as a sportswriter covering college football and basketball, boxing and horse racing.

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