Community shows support for Orlando Gudes during first Tampa City Council meeting since new civil lawsuit

Tampa, Fla. (WFLA) – Members of the community spoke at the Tampa City Council meeting Thursday in support of city councilman Orlando Gudes.

This is the first meeting since a new civil lawsuit was filed against the congressman this week. Before the meeting, Gudes told News Channel 8 that he did not want to comment on the lawsuit.

While Gudes did not address the lawsuit during the meeting, it did make headlines.

The lawsuit was filed this week by Gude’s former legislative aide, who accused Gudes of sexually harassing her and making inappropriate comments to others. Earlier this year, Gudes admitted his comments were inappropriate for the workplace but denied that they reached the point of sexual harassment.

In public comment at Thursday’s meeting, several people stood up and spoke in support of the Gudes.

“Congressman Gudes, we thank you for everything you do in this school district,” one woman said.

An independent investigation ordered by the City of Tampa earlier this year determined that the allegations were well-founded. This week, the city agreed to pay the former assistant $200,000.

Gude’s attorney criticized the move at the meeting.

“The actions of the mayor and city attorney, using city funds to protect themselves and their staff, are outrageous,” said Gudes attorney Ryan Barack.

Council member Bill Carlson called for the city to be transparent and fair.

Carlson said: “The defendant, Orlando Gudes, also deserves due process and I do not believe he was brought to due process.

A city spokesperson sent an emailed notice in response, stating, “A thorough, independent and objective assessment revealed that a city employee endured nearly two years of abusive treatment and sexual harassment. The city’s goal is to end this issue and move forward in a positive way on behalf of Tampa’s residents and taxpayers. ” Community shows support for Orlando Gudes during first Tampa City Council meeting since new civil lawsuit

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