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Report finds no evidence of discriminatory practices in Cape city government

An independent investigation found allegations made by former City Manager Rob Hernandez to be unsubstantiated.
Rob Hernandez
Posted at 5:07 PM, May 15, 2023

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — An independent investigation, paid for by the city of Cape Coral, found many of the allegations from former City Manager Rob Hernandez to be unsubstantiated.

Hernandez, who was fired in February, accused some members of the city council and Mayor John Gunter of racist and homophobic conduct.

“As Mayor, I stand by the decision to terminate Mr. Hernandez. The outcome of the investigation clearly states that there is no evidence to support the allegations made by Hernandez regarding any improprieties by City Council,” Mayor Gunter said in an emailed statement.

A day before Hernandez was fired, his lawyer sent a letter to the Cape Coral City Attorney alleging, among other things, that Mayor Gunter wanted to remove a lesbian employee from having any contact with the public, that another council member wanted certain rules of decorum to apply to Cape Pride, and that some council members took exception to the hiring of an African American woman for a leadership position.

Hernandez alleged he was fired as the city manager because he spoke out against what he called discriminatory practices.

“Because Mr. Hernandez opposed and refused to participate in such illegal conduct, city council retaliated by nonrenewing his contract,” the letter from his attorney said.

Those allegations were deemed to be unsubstantiated by the outside legal firm.

“There is no evidence of discriminatory employment practices in the City,” the report found.

The report says instead Hernandez was terminated for “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons.”

Lawyers for Hernandez did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The report also stated Hernandez refused to participate in an interview with the independent investigation.

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