Gov. DeSantis appoints Donald Wiley to the Sumter Commission

don wiley
Wiley will replace Diane Spencer in the District 5 seat on the board.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed Donald Wiley to the Sumter County Board of County Commissioners, which encompasses famed Florida retirement paradise, The Villages.

Wiley, who lives in The Villages, is the owner of Gold Wingnut Productions, a photography and video production company. He previously served as the district supervisor of the Villages Community Development District 10. Wiley is a U.S. Navy veteran who was honorably discharged after 20 years of service

Wiley will replace Diane Spencer in the District 5 seat on the board.

Spencer was appointed by DeSantis back in March to fill the seat left vacant by Oren Miller, who was suspended while awaiting trial on a felony perjury charge.

Spencer was initially slated to finish the four-year terms of former Commissioners Miller, who won office in November 2020 after defeating an incumbent in the Republican Primary. But, she put in her resignation letter after less than two weeks in office, citing a medical emergency, according to The Villages Daily Sun. Spencer also withdrew her candidacy for the District 5 seat.

The game of musical chairs for the District 5 seat started in December.

On Dec. 15, Miller and fellow Commissioner Gary Search were arrested and accused of lying while making statements under oath to the State Attorney as part of a criminal probe of possible Sunshine Law violations. The State Attorney’s Office said two citizen complaints in March and another from an attorney in June prompted an investigation into whether the officials were communicating outside of official Commission proceedings.

Phone records the State Attorney’s Office obtained showed Miller and Search used their personal cellphones to communicate more than 40 times between November 2020 and June 2021. But when questioned about the phone records under oath, both men lied, investigators said.

Less than a month later, DeSantis suspended them, saying “it is in the best interest of the citizens of Sumter County and the citizens of the state of Florida” that they are barred from serving on the Commission.

Miller and Search face third-degree perjury charges that carry a penalty of up to $5,000 a fine and up to five years in prison. They have pleaded not guilty.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]



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