HOMESTEAD – A city of Homestead manager who exchanged graphic emails and sexually explicit text messages with several women while using his city-issued Blackberry has resigned.
“I was just informed that Mr. Robert Landen resigned effected [sic] immediately today,” Acting City Clerk Sherry Ader said in an email sent to the South Florida Times on Monday.
Landen was the director of the city’s Parks & Public Works Department, the city’s largest. He was also a reserve police officer. He was suspended on Thursday, Feb. 18, and was asked to clean out his desk, surrender his police equipment and city identification.
His suspension followed questions from the South Florida Times to city officials about the explicit messages.
“This letter shall serve as final and formal, written notification of my resignation of employment with the City of Homestead, effective February 22, 2010,” Landen wrote in his Feb. 22 resignation letter.
“Over the past few days, the safety of me and my family has been threatened. Due to these threats, I feel it is unsafe and may potentially pose danger to myself and my family if I continue employment with the City of Homestead. For this reason, I regret that I am unable to give a two week notice.”
Efforts to reach Landen about the specific nature of any threats have been unsuccessful.
Landen, 44, was employed with the city of Homestead for nearly 26 years. He earned an annual salary of $103,300. City officials say his resignation followed his request on Friday, Feb 19 to retire, a day after he was suspended. His resignation has been accepted, and his retirement takes effect on March 1.
City hall sources say Landen has a clean employment history. Several supporters insist that he is a respected family man in the community, and that he is being unfairly targeted.
Yet records show that Landen was one of the city’s most prolific senders and receivers of emails and text messages.
Sex-laced text messages are commonly referred to as “sexting.” Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos from one mobile phone to another.
In one discussion that Landen had with a woman on his city-issued Blackberry on Nov. 27, 2009, he asked, “How was ur [sic] turkey day? Did [sic] get enough breart [sic]?”
The woman, who has not been identified, replied, “My breast could be sucked.”
He responded, “I need to see them.”
That exchange led to an even more graphic discussion in which the woman honored his request to send him “some pics,” meaning pictures in texting lingo.
Many of the messages obtained by the South Florida Times are too graphic for publication. The topics include sex toys, masturbation, oral sex and descriptions of sex acts. Other messages included exchanges of photographs.
Landen has declined comment.
Landen’s electronic messages were revealed in records compiled by Franklin Investigations, Inc. of North Miami Beach, a firm the city hired to investigate fired former City Manager Mohammad “Mike” Shehadeh.
Investigators concluded that Shehadeh engaged in political activities, visited risqué websites – one of which was described by a city council member as “pornographic” – and sent steamy messages to former Deputy City Manager Johanna Faddis.
Franklin Investigations’ records also contain thousands of emails and text messages of council members. Sexually explicit messages of other city staff are also included.
Acting City Manager Sergio Purrinos has not responded to questions or repeated emails seeking comment on why disciplinary action has been taken specifically against Landen, who also distributed at least one racist email.
“OMG!! [Oh my God] Ur not going to believe this [expletive]!!!,” reads a Nov. 26, 2009 email sent to Landen, which he forwarded to other people using the city’s Blackberry device. “I got a tattoo of a [N-word] on my shoulder, and now my [expletive] arm quit workin [sic]!”
Pictured above is Robert Landen.