Charlotte County Commissioners Send “The Beach Guy” Packing

Earlier this year, Englewood Beach found itself at a crossroads concerning its beach concessions, sparking a wave of social media support for local vendor Tim Chula. Chula known as “The Beach Guy”.Chula supplied beach umbrellas, chairs and other beach equipment for rent on Englewood Beach. Tim Chula, alleging that county staff harbored personal animosity towards him, rallied his supporters and publicly scrutinized the county’s decision-making process.

The county had initiated a “request for proposal” (RFP) process to evaluate bids from potential vendors. Despite Tim Chula’s bid being ranked second by county employees, it was surprisingly overlooked in favor of Bike and Roll, a Miami-based company. However, Charlotte County Commissioners opted to deviate from the standard RFP process in November, inviting vendors to make presentations and undergo interviews in January.

In an unforeseen twist, Bike and Roll withdrew from consideration the following day, prompting Commissioner Doherty to express regret over the county’s handling of the situation. Doherty questioned the necessity of a formal RFP process for umbrella and beach chair rentals, raising broader concerns about private businesses operating on public property.

Adding to the complexity, Doherty highlighted 26 complaints from residents against “The Beach Guy,” citing instances of alleged verbal assault and claims that Tim Chula’s team behaved as if they owned the beach. A 17-minute video posted on Facebook by Tim Chula, later removed, allegedly contained threats against county employees, leading commissioners to take decisive action.

Commissioner Deutsch stressed the importance of maintaining a professional image while on the job. In the interest of public safety, Commissioner Tiseo requested the video be forwarded to law enforcement. The commissioners were troubled by the fact that the two employees Tim Chula allegedly threatened had given him high marks during the bid process.

Ultimately, the board unanimously voted to terminate Tim Chula’s contract with a 60-day notice, as stipulated in the agreement. Tim Chula expressed devastation over the decision, admitting to posting the controversial video but attributing it to emotional distress following personal hardships.

Despite feeling unfairly targeted, Tim Chula intends to explore vending opportunities in Sarasota County, where he believes the business environment is more favorable. The controversy sparks discussions about the delicate balance between private enterprise and public spaces, eliciting varied opinions among residents and officials.