New Sheriff, Same LET Game

On June 21st, the PNJ ran an article about a foundation, The Escambia County Sheriff Foundation. This foundation’s mission is, as follows:

The Escambia County Sheriff Foundation, Inc. is a public  501 (c) (3) organization formed to support the mission and employees of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.  We will work to further and foster engagement opportunities while promoting public safety through community outreach.  The Foundation will endeavor to improve the quality of life for every citizen in Escambia County.

There are a few things wrong with this whole thing. While it is supposed to “divorce” the LET money expenditures for the ECSO, it then becomes an agency that handles that money and is less transparent. Let me explain: On April 6, 2018, as part of a huge voucher, the Panhandle Charitable Open received $20K from LET. According to WEAR, after the event, in November that year, $300K was raised, which will benefit 27 non-profits in the area. Now, to explain what the process should be:

  1. The fundraiser fills out an application for the LET funds
  2. The Sheriff approves it
  3. Then it goes to the BOCC for approval.
  4. The check is cut to the charity.
  5. Then the agency receiving the funds must provide an accounting of the LET money as a way to make sure it is properly spent. This is the ECSO’s responsibility.
  6. Lastly, it is submitted to the clerk of court for an audit by them to make sure all the players did what they should.

In Escambia County, as it has under Morgan, this is the process:

  1. The charity can fill out the application, or Morgan offers them money.
  2. He approves it and cuts a check.
  3. He then submits to the BOCC for reimbursement. Since the ECSO, is using their general fund to pay the charity, against statute, the BOCC is more than compelled to reimburse without question.
  4. And no one follows up on how the money is spent. The financial officer at the ECSO advised me that he is not responsible for that follow up paperwork; the clerk of court is. When I emailed the clerk, she acted like I was speaking a foreign language. She claims she didn’t know to check for that, she never has and frankly thought I was making up the particulars of the Statute. I also had to explain that as Comptroller, she is supposed to be the final verification of things being done correctly. She responded by telling me that Bill Eddins had worked out an agreement with the BOCC and worked around that. I told her she can’t be directed to not follow the statute. If the SA is telling you to do something that basically gives a pass on fiscal accountability. The email exchange is here.

Getting back to this foundation, I am not a criminal mastermind, but here is a scenario that seems like a way this process can be perverted. This purely an example I can see happening, since we are still playing by Morgan’s rules, let us review the Panhandle Open from requests funds from LET ($20K in 2017; $30K in 2018); it is approved; the Panhandle Open distributes the money to various charities without accountability to the ECSO. Then these charities can in turn, can use the money to “donate” to this ECSO foundation. It could even end up in a candidate’s donations. Now it is clean….laundered. The more people shuffle the money, the more chance there is for misappropriation PERIOD!

I mentioned the campaign donations because over the years, I have had a few people who were at charity events where Morgan bestowed LET money is a celebratory fashion. He literally handed the chair of organization a check and with the other hand, received checks in exchange. This was done openly and like I said a few people saw this and did not know it was wrong. But it is money laundering.

Real life examples:

Denver Sheriff’s Foundation (This foundation handled donations other than LET, but to the same end)

Milwaukee County Forfeiture Misappropriation

Capistrano Unified School District Foundation (This foundation operates similarly)

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Charged with RICO violations

Minnehaha, South Dakota Sheriff’s Office & Deputies Association Misuse of Forfeiture Funds

This list is not all inclusive. This is just one problem with this foundation.

The second issue is the composition of the board of directors. It is made up of people that are sketchy. The president is Brian Williams. He is connected to contractors that are committing fraud each day. That is another post soon to be released. The vice president is Whitny Lucas, the wife of a ECSO garage employee Jake Lucas. She is also the girlfriend of Chip Simmons, who is her husband’s boss. This all was revealed in another post.

There are other people on the board, such as Andy Hobbs who is a part of the admin who was promoted because of who he knew, not merit and he is a good friend of Chip. Of course, Tommy Lyter is in the mix. We have Chris Roney who is connected to Williams via Big Brothers & Big Sisters, an organization that was provided for lavishly by LET funds. We also have a Studer connection in DC Reeves. It is mixed in with Lewis Bear’s family. Unfortunately, they are backing Morgan for his mayoral run. This foundation is sit up in the midst of a corrupt agency, not yet cleaned from Morgan; the oversight of the money people who have an interest in receiving LET money. This foundation is easily susceptible to corruption and connected to a corrupt agency…well I think you get the picture.

So we have a vulnerable agency, not so-level board members and money. Draw your own conclusion.

FYI Corruption has certain characteristics, abuse of power (political favors), bribery/coercion, misappropriation of funds, money laundering and eventually tax evasion. All this equals RICO.

THIS IS CORRUPTION

PART 1

THE STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE OF THE FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF FLORIDA

It has already been reported that John Molchan publicly threatened Rakeem Florence with perjury in a capital case if he recants. Not a surprising move since Florence asserts that Molchan directed his testimony. So now, of course, Molchan is trying to prevent him from recanting.

Jpay email from Rakeem Florence on 5/22/2021

Now another monkey wrench has been thrown in Molchan’s efforts to prevent the truth from surfacing in this case. An attorney assigned to Gonzalez Jr. disclosed he had a conflict of interest because this attorney had represented someone ,who was not charged in this case, that has knowledge of what transpired that July night in 2009. The “confidential informant” has information that will exonerate Gonzalez Jr. This was discussed on the record in hearing.

So if Molchan were truly pursuing justice, he would want to make sure this death penalty case was handled fairly. Up until now, he has had no interest in making sure the conviction was sound.

Gonzalez Jr. had a hearing on June 10, 2021. This hearing was to discuss the reason his newly appointed attorney claimed he had a conflict and could not handle his case. The attorney disclosed to Judge Geeker and State Attorney Molchan that he previously represented someone on the periphery of the Billings case in a case unrelated to the murders. This person disclosed info about what happened in the house on that July night to his attorney. Being jammed up, this person had his attorney try to negotiate a deal for him on his case by providing information that would change everything in the Billings cases. Here’s what he says:

..

The State Attorney’s office was not interested in justice or truth. A white collar crime trumped the truth. That pesky paperwork to deal with verdicts already out there., there was no real time for that. Mr. Molchan, tell me again, why you are offended by the implication that you are anything but ethical??

This is a death penalty case….is it really too much to ask that things be done right?

The full transcript is available here.