The Honorable Sheriff Morgan: Personification of Hubris

In the face of an active investigation of his misuse and misappropriation of LET funds,  Sir David shamelessly boasts about his fleecing the county on Facebook.

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This is an attempt to deceive the public into believing that what he did is lawful. However, if it was 100% above board, would the State Attorney be investigating this? The answer is NO. Sources inside the SAO claim that Pam Bondi has put Bill Eddins on notice that she expects him to do his job so that she won’t have to intervene. Clearly, there is some indication of concern of a cover-up. The implication here is indicative that Ms. Bondi foresees the gravitas of the issues coming out of this investigation. For example the impeachment or removal of county commissioners as well as ye olde Sheriff.

The members of the BOCC were suppose to govern this fund. The director of Management and Budget Services, Amy Lovoy was not aware of the necessity of the commissioners to monitor the fund. She has reportedly stated that very thing to the State Attorney’s office.  What that means is that the standard practice– as long as she has been involved–has been in violation of the statute. County Commissioners were also “unaware” of their duties. According to an opinion from Ms. Bondi’s site:

Att’y Gen. Fla. 81-99 (1981) (board of county commissioners vested with exclusive authority to decide appropriation of contraband trust funds to the sheriff’s office). See also Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 78-55 (1978), concluding that it is the duty and responsibility of the governing bodies of the affected counties and municipalities to approve or disapprove the expenditures from, and the appropriation of, funds collected under the contraband forfeiture act.

But folks we are dealing with people who reap huge salaries and haven’t read their own job description or the statutes that define how the county is supposed to work. HELLO! The bad thing is that Morgan seems to have played all of them. They look like fools for his crimes and yes, the misappropriation of over $1Million is a crime. Some organizations may even be compelled to return the funds which could throw this entire fiasco into an oblivion of chaos. These agencies, like the Filipino-American Club, has no justification to receive these funds; they have not provided documents to show that the money was appropriated to the specifications of the statute.

Historically, in the state of Florida, any money granted to an agency from special trust funds like this has caveats that be accountability as to how the money was spent. When that is not complied with–even assuming they were funded in good faith with crime/drug prevention in mind–it was required to be repaid. Grants and trust funds with this caveat could be asking charities that got the ill-begotten funds to return it to the county.  The Fil-Am Club received operating expenses out of this fund. That is illegal.

The most grotesque thing about this is that Morgan is acting as if he is being altruistic by helping the areas of the communities with these funds. Those of us that see Morgan for what he is, know that it is a way to manipulate people to donate money to his campaign.

Consider this, practically, if he used the money for the proper things to improve the agency, the county would be safer. However, he is selling the county safety in not training or retaining officers that WILL STAY. He is selling safety by taking money that could be used to provide more training for the new officers out there due to the high attrition rate and even better equipment to deal with the kinds of crime emerging. The big thing is Morgan has run off the better officers and the new ones don’t stay. That is a problem. That is Morgan’s problem. Yet the money he spends is on outward organizations as he puts the onus and responsibility for safety on the public.  He is undermining his organization for political gain.

The kind of corruption the media talk about, the kind the Supreme Court was concerned about, involves the putative sale of votes in exchange for campaign contributions–. James L. Buckley

Instagram photo by The Mind Unleashed - Jun 14, 2016 at 3-23 AM.clipular

 

ECSO Commits FRAUD to Cover LET Misappropriation

PART 1 OF A 2 PART SERIES:

ESCAMBIA CO. SHERIFF REVEALS COUNTYWIDE CORRUPTION

In addition to spending LET money with great abandon, the Honorable Sheriff Morgan debased himself to a new low by exploiting his discretion of this fund even more. It should be no surprise, as Mr. Doug Underhill stated in the Panhandle Politico,  Morgan has been soliciting LET money  to other organizations. This is unprecedented and unauthorized by Florida Statute.  As Ms. Jeanne Griffin stated, the process is that organizations request money from the Sheriff’s office…… ORGANIZATIONS REQUEST MONEY. The fact Morgan has to offer money to people who then have to jump through hoops to get to money, is out of the normal.  It begs the question of “why”?

Regardless of motivations, the most recent foolishness is the Hadji Shrine Temple’s recent golf tournament to raise non-deductible, non-501(3)c donations for operational costs for their organization. This was not something donors could right off. Standard advertising sponsorship was $100 for a sign at one of the tees.They also sold sponsorship for golf teams. It was $300 per 4 man team.

The entire scenario is sketchy.  One afternoon, while canvassing the area for donations, Sheriff Morgan approached Jay Cowick, in his yard. Morgan asked him if he was the man to see regarding sponsorship at the golf tournament. Jay said he was and explained the $100 per sign sponsorship they had. Sheriff Morgan responded that he thought he could probably do better than that. He’d have someone contact this Jay  with more information.

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The following Monday,  an unidentified woman called Jay and asked what $5000 would get the Sheriff’s Office. Shocked, Jay said they would have 18 signs, 1 at ever tee (value of $1800) and 2 teams (value of $600).  There was nothing else really that they had to give. They could come up with a banner for the Sheriff for free.  This was agreed upon.

Sources within the ranks of the Hadji Temple confirmed that no further documentation was provided to the Sheriff’s office for this transaction. They did not sign anything; no justification documentation went to the Sheriff’s Office and a check was received.Upon a inspection of a public records request, there is an entire packet of documentation attached for this check. There is an unsigned request form, an email from Alison Morgan to Jay Cowick asking about where to send the check, a letter from Jan 2016 asking the Sheriff’s office to donate items to be given away at the door for this tournament–oh by the way, if they are interested in sponsorship here are the basics. Additionally a Sunbiz printout with the Hadji Temple’s 501(3)c listing , a copy of the tax exemption form, which has no bearing on the request as the money is not for tax-deductible funds.  The troubling part of this is that the Sheriff’s office, according the Hadji Shrine Temple, put this documentation together without their knowledge and hastily so that they did not see that the donations were not going for the crippled children, directly. This entire transaction was doctored up. IT IS FRAUDULENT!

But wait there’s more…

The golf tournament was on May 14, 2016. The morning of the tournament, Sheriff Morgan and entourage arrive with a huge number of campaign signs and starts placing them everywhere. This had the other Shriners questioning just what this check was going to cost them. Upon inspection, the donation was out of the LET fund.  The Shriners did not formally provide a request, necessary by Florida statute. The check came to them after being solicited by the Sheriff.

shriners

This one transaction shows the corrupt nature of this Sheriff and his view of the fund. He went to people and asked them what he could give for donations. What purpose is there to ask people to give. Maybe we can break it down a little. For the Shriners, 18 holes with 18 signs would have been $1800. Morgan got 2 golf teams registered at $300 per team. That is $600 + the sign money is $2400 in total.  He did not get a thing more than if he had only written a check for $2400 to the Shriners. Why $5000?  Influence & power to put up signs illegally without the organization questioning him. This solicitation to DONATE money is bizarre and seems to have proverbial strings, but Doug Underhill corroborates this in the Panhandle Politico article when asked if he intiated the $25K  donation for Cyberthon. His response was, “during a conversation about the program, Sheriff Morgan offered to support the event with LET funding.”

There seems to be some sort of expected quid pro quo for these donations. It is possible that the recipients do not know they are selling their souls to Sheriff Morgan for unspoken future favors. I made this assertion in regards to the GCKH donation in 2014. I am even more convinced of it now.

Recruiting high dollar donations with the caveat of “what can you give me for this money” is a perversion of the altruistic facade the Honorable Sheriff receives accolades for, not to mention the overt cover up the facts surrounding these donations, specifically by fraudulently creating documentation to make the Shriners look like they came to Morgan is simply criminal.  This is exactly the reason the entire Escambia County Board of Commissioners should be impeached along with this Sheriff. The BOCC members have a responsibility to the taxpayers to govern and make sure the money for the county is handled correctly. By giving up those rights, they are faltering in their duty to the taxpayers. The buck stops with them and not knowing is not an excuse for allowing this. The inmate is running the asylum, while the commissioners do nothing.

Commentary on the Escambia County Sheriff’s Forum May 23, 2016

I don’t know what to say. Should I start with the biased reporting of Kevin Robinson by claiming John Johnson “attacked” Sir David? Mr. Robinson does not understand the meaning of the word “attack” if he thinks that is what Johnson did.  Johnson merely unveiled the current conditions to the people. Morgan likes to whitewash the community erosion by saying it does not exist.  Escambia County isn’t Never Never Land. It evokes the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes.  Sir David would have the citizens believe his rhetoric over the statistics, experiences of people around him. Let’s not forget the community vulnerability that cannot be explained away. Citizens are targets in their own sanctuary of Escambia County.  Where there is smoke, someone should be looking for fire.

Finally, to end this rant of bias by PNJ, Mr. Robinson, being a journalist, you should have a better grasp of vocabulary. Could you have used more legitimate wording?  Certainly! Challenged, confronted, impeached are all better descriptions of the dynamics of the forum. Unless Robinson’s vitriol was part of the propaganda machine of Team Morgan, there is no reasonable explanation of Robinson’s choice of words.  Ignorance or Venom—you decide.

P.S.

Mr. Robinson, do you or the PNJ get LET money to provide endorsements of political candidates?

Issues in the Forum

One of the most conspicuous things I noticed was roughly 19 minutes into the video. The moderator noted the long-standing corruption problem and asked what the candidates would do to increase public trust in the ethical (snicker) behavior of public officials. Sir David either misunderstood the question or he chose not to address “ethical behavior”. Funny how there is no reference to the “Good Ole Boy crew” he claims to have removed with McNesby. He’s put that song and dance to bed. Apparently, his hypocrisy has some limitations.

But He does jump into the fact he doesn’t have a “hate-filled Facebook page”.  What does that have to do with corruption or even unethical behavior? It is social media and campaign ads are simply not unethical.  What is unethical is putting a senior officer on admin leave for something that is purely a civil action between his mother and another officer. What is unethical is the targeting of personnel that do not agree with you and forcing another senior officer into early retirement for liking a anti-Morgan Facebook post. How about targeting women and minorities to make their employment environment a living hell of discrimination and condescension? These are unethical.

Perhaps Mr. Robinson and Sir David should take the same vocabulary lessons.

I could continue with the 10+ blatant prevarications & misdirections throughout the forum but I want to discuss something more offensive.  Sir David repeatedly started bombastic, defensive proclamations with “If Escambia County is so bad”.  This is a tragic effort to validate his re-election campaign by trying to bring the virtues of the county to light. He tried to take credit for everything Escambia County great.

So why do I care? There seems to be a perception that I am an outside agitator. That is far from the truth.  I spent the majority of my life in Escambia County.  I came to live with my Dad in 1986. He was a fisherman and a supervisor for BE&K (worked at International Paper).

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His name was Jim Barnett (that’s why I’m Jimmie). My Dad was an exceptional man in a very un-exceptional world. He was a straight-shooter that people tended to love. His friends will attest to that, I was the pride and joy of his life. As his only child, he spoiled me rotten but in that, he did teach me the difference in right & wrong.

He passed away May 23, 1997. He was a veteran and was buried in Barrancas. There will always be a part of me in Pensacola.

I told that story to talk about the greatness of Escambia County, despite Sir David’s damage. Escambia County is not “so bad” as he would make it sound but he has been detrimental to entire county. He had no hand in making Escambia great, therefore he doesn’t have the power to take away that greatness.

The things that make Escambia great are the people, the values and the ability to live in a community for decades and NOT HAVE TO LOCK THE DOORS. By systematically fleecing the taxpayers, disrespecting the deputies and insulting the citizens, Sir David attempts to blame the community, but I submit to you that he cannot take away anything the constituency doesn’t allow him to take.

As for the disease of corruption, Sir David is patient zero. He is currently the biggest albatross Escambia County has. It is not the Sheriff Dept—it is him. He is either psychopathically delusional or sociopathically indifferent to the crime problem in the county. Sir David is the nexus of racism and discrimination in ECSO as well.  A double digit number of employees have filed lawsuits for discrimination, civil rights violations and hostile work environment.  DOUBLE DIGIT.  This is the largest number in recent history. Ronnie Mc did not have this sort of litigiousness.  When there are this many people seeking judicial relief because of animus at work, maybe it is time to consider the Sheriff is the problem.

In any other job, if you fail so completely by maliciously endangering the community, you get fired or arrested. If you misappropriate money, you go to jail. Why is Sir David allowed to sit in his office? Only the people of Escambia County can unseat this albatross.

Make Pensacola great again, VOTE MORGAN OUT-2016.

 

 

VMO2016 #5-Sheriff Morgan’s Money Handling Skills Need Attention

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In September 2015, Sir David jeopardized the Filipino-American Club’s tax exempt status. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, they have to abstain from political activity in any form and be complete apolitical . Yet they rented out their building, which they own, to the Republican candidate Morgan. This is violation that the IRS does not let slide easily. This was one of many of Morgan’s “karaoke night” fundraisers which fellow blogger Dr. James Scamanaci was escorted out of by Chief Deputy Haines even though he paid the $10 donation entrance fee to the event.  Yes, I said entrance fee and donation in the same sentence.

But the onus was not merely on the Filipino-American Club, Sir David should have done his due diligence to not put a supportive organization under the gun for involvement in his campaign, but he didn’t.  Not that anyone is surprised.

Florida Statute 106
(b) Candidates, political committees, affiliated party committees, and political parties may not solicit contributions from any religious, charitable, civic, or other causes or organizations established primarily for the public good.
(c) Candidates, political committees, affiliated party committees, and political parties may not make contributions, in exchange for political support, to any religious, charitable, civic, or other cause or organization established primarily for the public good.

IMG_0271 (1)

But WAIT, THERE’S MORE……

 

On October 27, 2015, the Irish Politicians Club hosted a fundraiser with high dollar people, supposedly in attendance, like Sandy Sansing & Jim Reeves.  These guys give and give big.  Yet look at the total amount of contributions reported for this “high dollar” event.Candidate Reports - Candidate Log In.clipular (3)

Somehow with all the money people hosting Sir David, he only walked out of this fundraiser with $100 cash from 1 couple. Really? No one else gave to Morgan ?  The cost of the invitations and flyers alone wouldn’t be worth it.  For just $100.  I would suspect that the money NOT REPORTED that changed hands or perhaps the fact that out of all the people there who supposedly hosted this event, Sir David failed to impress, thus not receiving funds.  Either way, there is something rotten going on and it is a pattern of behavior for Sir David.

Given that Greg Marcille had Greg Fink arrested for failing to have a disclaimer on the bottom of a flyer, it stands to reason that NOT REPORTING CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS & ACCEPTING FUNDS IN VIOLATION OF FLORIDA STATUTES ie Filipino-American Club.

So which is it did Sir David just blow an opportunity to wow the elite of the community or did he embezzle the funds he collected?  I say embezzle because money off the books is embezzlement.

Statutes & Constitution -View Statutes - Online Sunshine.clipular (3)

 

Sheriff Morgan Campaign: LETF Out, Donations In

Sheriff Morgan Campaign: LETF Out, Donations In

Sheriff Morgan uses the Law Enforcement Trust Funds for many reasons.  He apparently provides funds for deserving organizations, like the $50,000 he provided to Gulf Coast Kids House, which cares for abused children, to expand the facilities because they were operating at twice their operational capacity.

Or, sometimes he gives money to the haves so that they have more, like the AFCEA Blue Angels that received $20,000, on March 3, 2015, according to the Law Enforcement Trust Fund expenditures given to CJ’s Street Report’s public records request.  Or, the $15,000 Sheriff Morgan gave to the National Flight Academy after he gave he speech there.  The donation was made on March 25, 2014.

Or, he gives money to his ideological allies in the Christian Right in Pensacola.

Like the $10,500 he gave to the Assembly of God’s Teen Challenge, also known as the Pensacola Men’s Center, for “drug treatment” that is a cover for outright Christian proselytizing.

Like the $5,000 he gave to the Men’s Barn Meeting which functions as a networking hub linking Baptist churches in the local area to Southern Baptist Convention leaders in the Christian Right.

Like the $7,000 he gave to the Alabama-based Youth Reach Gulf Coast, despite the organization not having provided any services to any youth or young man from Escambia County, Florida.

When advised by Americans United for Separation of Church & State that these specific donations violated the U.S. and Florida constitutions, the response of the Sheriff’s Office was that they were not going to respond to the Americans United’s legal inquiry.

Or, he gives money to worthwhile causes and the person receiving the Law Enforcement Trust Funds then later makes a donation to Sheriff Morgan’s re-election campaign, as happened when Sheriff Morgan authorized a rapid donation of $1,000 for the non-existent Light the Night Foundation (in reality the Alabama-based Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with no business license in Florida) that was delivered to Pete Moore.  Pete Moore and his wife later made two $500 donations to Sheriff Morgan’s campaign.  Pete Moore gives to Republican sheriffs and candidates, so the $1,000 donated from the Sheriff’s Office is not a factor.  But, it does not look good.  While there is no quid-pro-quo here, it is amazing the Sheriff can write a donation check to a non-existent foundation.

And, now we have Sheriff Morgan’s re-election campaign using the property owned by the Filipino-American Association of Pensacola, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization for his fundraising event on September 26, 2015.

Not only is the Filipino-American Association a 501(c)3 organization that is prohibited from engaging in politics, but in 2014 it received $7,000 in two donations:  $2,000 on May 28, 2014 (reference V10719) and $5,000 on August 26, 2014 (reference V11991).  CJ’s Street Report has a public records request for all the documentation, plus any donations made to the Filipino-American Association since October 1, 2014.

Again, while there is no quid pro quid, we find the same pattern of Law Enforcement Trust Funds going to an organization that, in turn, provides a venue for a fundraising event tapping its own members for donations.

Thus, while there is no doubt that the Filipino-American Association does fine work in the community and has been recognized by the county and state officials for their good works–as evidenced by the plaques expressing support on one of the walls of the hall–the fact is the organization is prohibited from engaging in political activity.

Here is the Internal Revenue Service’s guidance on political activity:

“Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.”

Thus, a 501(3) organization is “absolutely prohibited” from “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign.”  There really isn’t much wiggle room to “absolutely prohibited” and “directly or indirectly.”  How Sheriff Morgan convinced them Filipino-American Association to violate this IRS guidance is a mystery.

CJ’s Street Report attended the fundraising event for a very short time.  Upon my third entrance, Deputy Chief Haines congratulated me for my “valiant attempt” to attend the fundraising event, but I was informed it was a “private function” and I was not welcome.  However, before being graciously and humorously turned away, I did manage to take photographs of the event and keep my receipt.

The sign outside the front door.
The inner door decorated with “Re-elect Sheriff Morgan.”  Once inside the door, you gave your donation via check and received a receipt.
Although my check was returned, I kept the receipt.  The receipt reads, in part:  “You are cordially invited to a candidate Fundraiser to re-elect David Morgan For Escambia County Sheriff….Hosted by Virgil Domingo and Friends AT the FilAm Center, 234 Oakfield Rd, Pensacola, Fl.”
Stage and dais where Sheriff Morgan was to speak at the event.
Long view of the stage with more “Re-elect Sheriff Morgan” signs.

Sheriff Morgan’s website invitation to the event begins, “Back by popular demand…Karaoke fundraiser on September 26th.  Besides Karaoke, there will be dancing, socializing, and Filipino Food.”

Now, Karaoke night just happens to be one of the Filipino-American Association’s fundraisers, according to Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  In 2011, Karaoke brought in a net of $2,193.05.  In 2012, the Filipino-American Association spent $3,100.95 on Karaoke equipment and tables, and brought in a net of $2,144.06.  In 2013, Karaoke night brought in a net of $1,084.25.

Thus, when Sheriff Morgan’s invitation exclaimed, “Back by popular demand…Karaoke fundraiser,” he was clearly referencing an annual fundraising event put on by the Filipino-American Association that over the past three years had netted the organization $5,421.36 or an average of $1,807.12 per year.  Except this year, checks were to be made payable to the “Re-elect Morgan Campaign.”

Why would Sheriff Morgan not do his due diligence and recognize that giving at least $7,000 to a non-profit corporation and then having them host via their own venue a campaign fundraiser would not raise questions, and, why would he not consider what effect, if any, that campaign fundraiser would have the Filipino-American Association’s tax-exempt status?

One possible answer is that Sir David Morgan simply does not believe that the U.S. Constitution, the Florida constitution, and Internal Revenue Service regulations apply in Pensacola.

Another possible answer is that the officers and board members of the Filipino-American Association (as reported on the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Form 990s) have personally donated to Sheriff Morgan $1,740.  Thus, he may have deliberately targeted the Filipino-American Association’s board and officers for the fundraiser knowing that they personally support his candidacy and might not consider the possible ramifications.

One last observation, apparently, this hyphenated name, Filipino-American, does not upset Sheriff Morgan as the term “African-American” to him is dysfunctional and “divisive.”

NOTE: Ms. Jimmie Staley co-authored this report.