Developer Charlie Faulkner Arrested on DUI and Criminal Mischief Charges Over Political Sign
FlaglerLive | May 27, 2016
Charlie Faulkner, the Flagler Beach engineer and developer and president of Faulkner and Associates, was arrested Thursday evening on a drunk driving charge and a charge of criminal mischief for removing a sheriff’s candidate sign on the south side of State Road 100 across from the Target shopping center in Palm Coast.
Sheriff’s candidate Chris Yates, who planted the sign there, had not however gotten permission from Faulkner, who manages the land, nor from the land owner, as candidates are required to do when placing campaign signs on private property. Faulkner made that clear to the arresting deputy. Nevertheless, he was charged.
It’s not the first time for Faulkner: eight years ago then-candidate Kimberle Weeks, who was running for supervisor of elections, pursued a grand theft charge against him over a similar signage issue, in that case involving a Weeks sign she said was valued at $500. The charge was eventually dropped. (Weeks is now battling a dozen felony charges of her own.)Thursday evening just before 8 p.m. a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy on patrol along SR100 spotted Faulkner on the south side of the road holding a blue sign, then throwing the sign into the woods, according to Faulkner’s arrest report. Faulkner then walked back to his Mitsubishi pick-up, which he’d parked on the side of the road. The cop parked behind the pick-up as Faulkner was entering the truck, at which point Faulkner turned around and walked toward the deputy. Faulkner was immediately handcuffed, the report states.
“I manage this property,” Faulkner told the deputy, according to the report. The deputy noted a strong odor of alcohol emitting from Faulkner and said his speech was slurred. He noticed the Chris Yates sign in the woods, and a Don Fleming for sheriff sign still upright, but then transported Faulkner to an area away from traffic, near Olive Garden, where he conducted field-sobriety exercises, following which Faulkner was arrested on a DUI charge. He would later register .094 and .090 in two breathalyzer tests, at the county jail, just over the state’s legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08.
After Faulkner had been removed from the scene of the signs, Yates arrived there and told a deputy he wanted to pursue charges of criminal mischief against Faulkner over the damage done to the sign, a yard sign with a value of $6.95. In an interview this morning, however, Yates acknowledged that he had not sought permission to place the sign there, and said he was unaware that he had to seek out such permission.“To be honest with you I wasn’t sure I needed to,” Yates said. “If that’s the case I would ask that nothing be done, it was more for the fact that he damaged the sign.”
After being read his Miranda rights, Faulkner told a deputy that he has been managing the property in question for about 10 years. “I’ve done it hundreds of times throughout my whole career,” he told the deputy, referring to the removal of political signs—in accordance with law and ordinances. “Otherwise it turns into the wild west, you end up with signs all over.” When asked why he had removed that particular sign, he said, “The main reason is they didn’t ask permission to put it up. It is illegal to place a sign on a public right of way, whether it’s state, city or county.” (That, too, is in accordance with law.)
Fleming, he said, had called Faulkner and sought permission to place a sign on that property. “I told him yes, I will support you and that he could put a sign up on the property,” Faulkner is quoted as saying in the arrest report. He further explained how the previous day, the husband of Abra Seay, who is running for supervisor of elections, was planting a sign at the same location, then apologized and removed it after Faulkner told him he had to have permission first.
Faulkner’s firm is a land-development consultancy. Previously, he was vice president of Palm Coast Holdings for nine years. Faulkner did not return a call Friday morning.