Brain Beute is a teacher and “regular citizen” who made a foray into politics by running for Seminole County tax collector in 2020.
Beute’s name might ring a bell for people who have followed the saga of Joel Greenberg, the county’s disgraced former tax collector who recently reached a plea deal on a series of federal charges and has been a key figure in a probe of Congressman Matt Gaetz.
“Yes I chose to run against Joel Greenberg, but I didn’t expect that crime would occur,” Beute said during an appearance Tuesday in Tallahassee.
Beute was the victim of false allegations by Greenberg while he ran for tax collector, and he now wants a closer look at how Greenberg got away with committing crimes. Beute called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to launch an investigation into the “check-and-balances system” for tax collectors in Seminole County and across Florida.
“I think we’ve got some problems in the state of Florida. And the behaviors of the former tax collector in Seminole County highlights what can happen and does happen if the state’s oversight system lacks a true rigorous checks-and-balances system,” Beute told The News Service of Florida.
Beute wants DeSantis to “direct the inspector general to conduct a thorough audit” of the Seminole County tax collector’s office from 2017 to 2020.
“The benefit of this is that the governor then appears at least to be a man of his word, a man of the law,” Beute said.
In the meantime, Beute is disillusioned by a lack of action by his fellow Republicans.
“I’m a lifelong Republican,” Beute said. “I’m not pleased right now with my party, but it’s probably a good thing to remain independent anyway. Because from what I’m seeing right now, since Republicans aren’t reaching out, that’s problematic, and maybe that’s not something I want to be a part of.”
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