Anna Maria mayor bans developer, cites public safety

Shawn Kaleta isn’t welcome at city hall in Anna Maria.

Citing public safety, Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy said Sept. 12 he is denying future building permit privileges to Kaleta, owner of Beach to Bay Construction LLC at 5702 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Kaleta resides on Willow Avenue in Anna Maria.

Murphy said until Kaleta and his company make reparations for past deeds, they’re banned from future building projects in the city.

Any permits Kaleta or his company already have for work in the city will remain valid.

The last straw for the mayor is Kaleta backing out of an agreed payment for damage to city property and the discovery of unpermitted work at 9802 Gulf Drive, a residence owned by Kaleta.

“It’s not just these incidents,” Murphy said. “It’s a totality of circumstances. I have an obligation to the city and he’s endangering its citizens.”

Murphy said Kaleta is reneging on paying for damage to city property on Magnolia Avenue.

A March 3 letter from Kaleta states that he agrees to pay damages done to the alley behind the 200 block of Magnolia Avenue, Anna Maria, during construction of five new homes.

Now, Murphy said, Kaleta isn’t going to pay. He is denying responsibility.

At 9802 Gulf Drive, a bungalow built in 1938, Murphy said he received complaints in July about work going on in the home, and that the home was being renovated to become a restaurant. He sent city building official Jimmy Strickland to investigate.

Strickland found men working inside. A stop work order dated July 31 was placed on the exterior window of the residence.

Strickland wouldn’t confirm Sept. 10 what type of work was being done, but did confirm unpermitted work was being done in the house.

Code enforcement manager Pamela Gibbs said she didn’t know about the work, but has cited the property for trash and plant debris in the yard.

Murphy ordered the building department to contact Florida Power and Light and Manatee County utilities to cut off the building’s electricity and water.

By Sept. 11 a new stop order had been placed.

“The stop order was torn down. I have pictures of men working inside,” Murphy said. “This has to stop.”

As to the claims for 9802 Gulf Drive, Kaleta said the property is rented and any work that was performed was not done by him or his construction company. He also said the air conditioning has not been replaced in the time he’s owned the property. The property has been owned by a Kaleta company, 9802 Gulf Drive LLC, since 2012.

“(Kaleta) needs to clean up his act,” said Murphy. “No other builder in the city has the track record he does and I’m tired of it.”

Murphy said he’ll lift the permit ban when Kaleta comes to terms and fixes his past actions.

“Until then, no new permits will be issued,” Murphy said.

City attorney Becky Vose said Sept. 12 that she spoke Sept. 11 to Kaleta’s attorney, Aaron Thomas, of the firm Najmy Thompson Attorneys at Law of Bradenton.

“I told Mr. Thomas that his client has repeatedly done unpermitted electrical work and building work in the city. It’s a fire hazard; an issue of public safety,” she said.

She said she told Thomas if Kaleta wants to do work in the city, then he can get permits and inspections like everyone else.