Kissimmee property manager accuses commissioner of ‘slanderous,’ ‘malicious’ statements

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A property manager in Kissimmee, who has been the subject of a series of 9 Investigates stories for months, is now accusing an Osceola County commissioner of slander.

Investigative reporter Karla Ray first exposed ex-cop-turned-felon Joseph Conover was working security inside the Turnberry Reserve Community in September 2019. She later uncovered he was given that job by his longtime live-in girlfriend, Management 35 Firm owner Sherry Raposo.

Commissioner Fred Hawkins has called for a criminal investigation into Raposo. He told 9 Investigates he wants her out of Osceola County.

“We’re going to work all we can and stay united with this community until Sherry and Management 35 are gone,” Hawkins told 9 Investigates back in October 2019. “If Sherry’s watching this, and she wants to have her attorney send me a cease-and-desist letter like everyone else, go ahead and do that, Sherry.”

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Now, the letter sent by Raposo’s attorney to the Florida representatives and senator who work on behalf of Osceola County residents in Tallahassee, alleges that Hawkins’ statements were “slanderous and malicious.” The letter states Hawkins "falsely accused Ms. Raposo and her company of improperly or illegally enforcing traffic and trespassing laws and backdating fines against homeowners,’ going on to say that he acted “wrongfully and maliciously against Ms. Raposo.”

The letter also accuses Hawkins of a “political stunt” in an incident in November 2019, in which security officer Aileen DePena was arrested on suspicion of battery. According to her arrest report, Hawkins was considered a victim in the incident; however, Raposo’s attorney accused him of “potentially committing battery against” DePena instead.

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The attorney closed the letter stating that Hawkins "may be subject to an ethics complaint for his… statements and actions.”

Hawkins wasn’t available for comment Wednesday, and our calls to Raposo’s attorney went unreturned.

Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.