Three Florida Fire Rescue Personnel Suspended for Selling Free Disney Passes
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Two Orange County Fire Rescue firefighters and a battalion chief were suspended without pay for allegedly reselling Walt Disney World tickets. Disney gave four free tickets to first responders after the June 12, 2016 Pulse shooting, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The passes were not intended to be sold.
“Firefighters Christopher Huntley and Glenn Kiture in March sold five of their complimentary Disney World passes to a woman through the OfferUp mobile app for about $390,” the Sentinel says, citing Orange County Fire Rescue records.
“Huntley told the woman who bought the tickets to falsely tell Disney [ticket takers] she was his cousin and that he gave – not sold – her the tickets, records show,” the Sentinel reported.
Purchaser Was Denied Entry into Walt Disney World
The unnamed woman was refused entry into Walt Disney World when she tried to use the passes. When the woman tried to get her money back from Huntley, she said he was “reluctant” to return her money and he stopped communicating with her, according to Orange County Fire Rescue documents.
She then filed a complaint with the Orange County Fire Rescue Department and a report with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Huntley later reimbursed her.
On March 31, firefighter Kiture asked Battalion Chief Darion Butler hypothetical questions “to illicit [sic] a response on both if [he] gave the tickets away or sold them, what could possibly happen,” the Sentinel notes, citing Kiture’s disciplinary letter.
But Assistant Chief Lauraleigh Avery wrote in the battalion chief’s disciplinary letter that Butler failed to inform his superior of the incident. “By failing to recognize the issue while on duty, you also failed to move the issue up to your chain of command,” Avery wrote.
Butler also used Huntley’s phone in his presence to call the woman, using a false name and representing himself as a Walt Disney World employee.
According to records accessed by the Sentinel, Butler asked the woman if she had any problems with the passes and then urged her to “please try to contact Walt Disney World again and we will try to accommodate you again.”
Butler later told Orange County Fire Rescue officials that the call was a joke. But Assistant Chief Avery rejected that as “not an acceptable explanation.”
Formal Investigation Began with Lies and Profanity
A formal investigation started on April 3, during which Huntley was untruthful with officials and Butler “used frequent profanity,” according to the documents.
Department officials decided on June 26 that Huntley had violated Orange County Fire Rescue’s truthfulness and unbecoming conduct rules. He was suspended without pay for 72 hours – a total of six days of work, based on his schedule.
On July 2, Morrow found that firefighter Kiture also had violated the unbecoming conduct rule. He was suspended without pay for 24 hours and ordered to take an ethical decision-making class through the county.
On July 13, Battalion Chief Butler was found to have violated the Orange County Fire Rescue Department’s rules on performance of duty, truthfulness and unbecoming conduct. He was suspended without pay for 72 hours and ordered to take classes on workplace professionalism and emotional intelligence.
“Your actions in this situation are not acceptable and do not come close to meeting the minimum expectations of a battalion chief of Orange County Fire Rescue,” Assistant Chief Avery wrote. “As a battalion chief for Orange County Fire Rescue, you are held to a higher standard.”
About the Author
David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. David’s 2015 book, “The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever,” was recently published in paperback by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.