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Date of Issue: May 26, 2010

Shrimp boat sale results in suspension

In the movie “Forrest Gump,” a shrimp boat was the difference for Gump between a possible career as a pingpong player and one overflowing with shrimp and money.

When the character Bubba, Gump’s best friend, asked Gump if he’d ever been on a real shrimp boat, Gump paused. Then he said, “No. But I’ve been on a real big boat.”

In the Cortez fishing village, a “real” shrimp boat donated by Kathe Fannon to the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage didn’t lead to enormous profits.

It led to a suspension.

Cortez historic sites manager Roger Allen, also a member of FISH, who works out of the Florida Maritime Museum, reportedly sold the shrimp boat to a man for $500.

And the officer for which Allen works, Manatee County Clerk of Courts, recently suspended Allen five working days, in part for selling the boat without consulting FISH board members.

The clerk of courts would not allow Allen to comment.

“FISH and Roger just need to make sure there’s communication with everyone on board,” said clerk of courts public information officer Christine Clyne. “Roger made a poor decision, and he has to deal with the discipline involved. Now it’s done.”

Karen Bell, FISH board member, office manager of A.P. Bell Fish. Co. and owner of Star Fish Co., said the boat was worth about $2,000, and that the man refused to sell the boat back to FISH for $2,000.

“I think Roger has a lot of real good qualities,” Bell said. “I’m sure he’s a fine grant writer, because the FISH board is faring well on its goals.”

During his suspension, Allen, who works from the Florida Maritime Museum in Cortez, was moved to the clerk of courts office in downtown Bradenton to write grants.

“It was an error in judgment,” Clyne said. “And he accepted responsibility for it.”