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Escambia County Contractor Competency Board member fired over recusals

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The Escambia County Commission fired a Contractor Competency Board member after he recused himself in cases dealing with contractors Matt Banks and Jesse LaCoste.

The Commission voted 4-1 to remove Larry Downs Jr. from the board that oversees construction contractors working in Escambia County.

Banks and LaCoste have multiple cases pending before the competence board alleging that they took payments for home remodeling jobs but never completed the work.

Downs, who owns a plumbing business and has served on the board since 2018, recused himself in the cases citing the appearance of impropriety as he had done plumbing work as a subcontractor for Banks from 2015 to 2017. Downs said he had also supported youth sports activities Banks were involved in.

Larry Downs Jr., an outspoken citizen advocate against government overreach and overregulation, was voted off Escambia County's Contractor Competency Board for recusing himself from the case of controversial contractor Matt Banks.

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Downs said he recused himself from LaCoste cases after he learned that LaCoste was Banks’ brother-in-law.

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