Lake County deputy quits amid allegations of illegal bar investments

Updated:

Loading
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —

A high-ranking Lake County deputy has quit and another is under internal investigation for their possibly illegal investments in a Tavares wine bar.

Maj. Gerry Montalvo was third in line at the Lake County Sheriff's Office, but the veteran deputy is off the job Monday.

Montalvo suddenly resigned after becoming the focus of an internal affairs investigation into his involvement with a confidential informant, and his investments in a new wine bar.

Also being investigated for his role in the wine bar is Deputy Shane Pitman, who did not want to answer questions Monday night.

Authorities launched the investigations after learning Montalvo and Pitman handed over money to Pitman's wife and Montalvo's then-girlfriend to help open the Tavares bar.

According to Florida law, it is illegal for any law enforcement officer to be directly, or indirectly, involved with a place that sells alcohol.

The residents Channel 9 spoke with didn't know that.

"I do tend to think it's probably archaic, just at first blush," Eustis resident Thomas Poole said.

"If it's truly just supportive of their family members to start them off, I don't have a personal problem with that," Mt. Dora resident Erica Wilhelm said.

Pitman is on paid administrative leave for his role in the bar.

The Sheriff's Office wouldn't say what Montalvo was doing with the confidential informant, but sources said the informant was living at his house.

The attorney for Montalvo's ex-girlfriend released the following statement Monday:

"Ms. Graham was previously in a relationship with Major Gerry Montalvo and they were living together as a couple. During their relationship, Boleros Cigar and Wine Bar was opened. Ms. Graham and Major Montalvo recently ended their relationship. Ms. Graham is a partner with Denisa Pitman in ownership of Boleros Cigar and Wine Bar. Ms. Graham has been and remains the party that operates Boleros Cigar and Wine Bar. At no time has Major Montalvo assisted with the daily operations of Boleros Cigar and Wine Bar.

"At this time, no further statements can be made due to the Lake County Sheriff's Office ongoing investigation. The Sheriff's Office has not disclosed to Ms. Graham the full nature of the investigation; however, Ms. Graham has been fully cooperative with the Sheriff's Office in the investigation."