A week before the primary election, clerk of court candidate Matt Gardi on Tuesday accused one of his three opponents for the Republican nomination of misrepresenting himself as a certified public accountant during a 2010 job hunt.
Gardi emailed news outlets throughout the Florida Keys a message addressed to Kevin Madok, along with a copy of Madok's 2010 application to the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District includes his resume.
Madok, who has worked for the Clerk Of Court's Office as assistant finance director since 2004, said Tuesday he hasn't worked as a CPA since 1990, but that he keeps up on the continuing education.
He said he had it on his 2010 resume as an "indication of professional achievement."
Madok had a valid California CPA license from Oct. 7, 1988, to Aug. 31, 1990, earning it while he worked for a Los Angeles accounting firm.
"Of note is his title at the very top of his resume, where he suggests he is a CPA," wrote Gardi, who said he obtained the paperwork through a public records request. "However, according to California his CPA has been cancelled since August 1990. Perhaps he has an explanation."
The CPA title and application come from Madok's time as a finalist for the chief account job at the Key Largo sewer utility, which chose Sal Zappulla for the job.
A year later, Zappulla stopped showing up for work and the utility let his contract expire.
Zappulla awaits trial next month on felony computer fraud charges for allegedly hacking into office computers at the sewer utility and downloading emails and documents related to him.
Madok, who throughout the clerk campaign has not brought up his CPA experience or referred to himself as one in his pitches or push cards, chalked up Gardi's emailed attacks to political excitement, and did not take offense.
"He enjoys seeing himself as a watchdog, which I respect," said Madok of Gardi. "Sometimes he sees things that aren't there. I respect people who think they're exposing wrongdoing. If there's wrongdoing, it should be exposed. Sometimes he gets excited about things that, in my opinion, aren't always issues."
Madok earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of San Diego, where he graduated in 1983 with honors and received a full ride to further his education. A year later, he earned a Master in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
After starting out as a CPA, Madok went on to become vice president at a Los Angeles bank and later, an offshore portfolio manager.
Madok moved to the Keys in 1999.
Gardi and Madok, along with Stuart Kessler and Amy Heavilin, want to succeed Danny Kolhage, who is leaving the job in January after 29 years.
Kolhage became a county commissioner, succeeding Kim Wigington, when he was the only one to sign up for the seat.
Gardi said Madok's 2010 CPA claim is a red flag.
"It speaks to credibility," said Gardi, who is the information technology director at the State Attorney's Office. "Kevin speaks with an air of authority, like Danny Kolhage, and people take them at their word. There is no gray area. He represented himself as a CPA."
Gardi also compared Madok's CPA credential to that of a top School District official who claimed on his resume to be a CPA in Florida.
Ken Gentile, chief of staff at the district, said he hasn't had an active license since 1993 -- only in New York -- but he added Florida to his resume along with New York because he has passed the CPA exam and could become active if he chose.
"I have a CPA license," Gentile said in June. "It's on my resume. I passed the exam. I've never said I was active in the state of Florida."
Gentile has said he will obtain a Florida license to silence his critics.
Clerk of court is on the Aug. 14 primary ballot.
The Republican who wins the primary will take on the sole Democrat, Joe Allen, in the Nov. 6 general election.