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.

10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Billings Case.

Patrick Gonzalez Jr.’s latest appeal was denied, but it was expected by his attorney, Eric Pinkard. I, personally, was taken aback. During oral arguments, it seemed as if at least a couple of justices “got it”, but I suppose, they did not. The fight is not over; next is the re-sentencing that the PNJ is ensuring will end in the same result (death penalty) with their assertion of Patrick being, “the Mastermind” and writing articles stating he is a murderer as a fact, rather than saying he was convicted of murder. The two are vastly different, but why would they portray the case objectively now? They spew the nonsense the public regurgitates and that is just one way a person gets wrongly convicted.

But to get more FACTS out about the case, I put together 10 major errors by the ECSO. These 10 are not the absolute ONLY errors (by any stretch) but they are ones that may have changed the outcome.

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Thankfulness & Appreciation Series- Part 2

Sometimes the posts just write themselves. Thank God for that. Thank God for the Free Speech that would otherwise not be afforded to me in any other country. Free Speech Sir David doesn’t want to hear but that just delineates the need for such. If someone locally, won’t say it, I will. If not me then who? If not now, then when?

There were 2 different articles in the Mullet Wrapper this weekend that basically hit on the same points. The first is by my fave writer, Emma Kennedy, “Reopened death row, juvenile justice cases strain system” & the second, by my other fave writer at the Mullet Wrapper, Kevin Robinson, “Escambia County leads state in charging juveniles as adults”. 

To summarize the two issues, in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama, that mandatory sentences of life without parole for children under the age of 18 are unconstitutional. The weight of this decision is financially straining Bill Eddins’s office because………

First thing that comes to mind is that office has been pushing juveniles into adult sentences at a far higher rate than the rest of the state, which is pointed out in the second article, by Robinson. Scott McCoy of the Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC) points out that these kids are being pushed into the adult system only to get probation. If the crimes are not severe enough to actually result in jail time, why shouldn’t they stay in the juvenile justice system which would allow them the chance to not be labeled within the adult system? This seems to be a case of not liking that option because it isn’t seen as punitive enough (in NW FL), for Mr. Eddins or at least his perception of what his constituents wants?

Over the last few weeks, I have become more acquainted with what passes for “a case” by the State Attorney’s office. Ron Clark Ball, John Powell, Pat Gonzalez, Gary Sumner were just a few who have been escorted in front of cameras and called criminals but when the evidence is laid to bear…..our court system (and by extension the judiciary that allows them to play “law”) were the through-backs on the short bus in law school.

What are you thinking, Bill Eddins, when you allow a personal vendetta of one of the legal elite firms to rope you into a RICO case, where there is perjured testimony, charges galore that end up being dropped because they are just that charges…not actual crimes committed. The bill on that case will cost the taxpayers millions. What about the letting whomever, assist the Assistant State Attorneys in the grand jury room, when Fla Statutes say they must have a J.D. after their name? Greg Marcille surely knows that. What about letting a Sheriff shake GRAND JURORS hands telling them, “I’ve done my job; now it’s time for you to do yours”? This is a directive to people personally to indict. How many people have been deprived a fair trial for that. Screwing with Grand Juries , YEAR AFTER YEAR, seems to me that will cost the taxpayers BILLIONS WITH A “B”.

This is a case where people who are in charge shouldn’t be. Their decisions result in inequities on the people they were sworn to represent and protect. I am talking about CRIMES OF MORALITY THAT LET THE REAL CRIMINALS OUT WHILE PUTTING THE INNOCENT IN JAIL.

Please, as always, don’t just take my word for this. Go to Flcourts.gov, or FDLE.gov. The statistics of what is actually going on. The problem is these men, Eddins, Morgan are stewards of the county and they don’t play fair. Consequently, in the appellate stage, other courts look at their non-sense and kicks back the badly handled cases. That is an error that is coming to fruition while these men are still in office. Typically, this sort of thing hits the following administration or comes back to haunt the subsequent terms of politicians; however, the glut for power has kept them in office long enough to see the spoils of their injustices.

It is a no-brainer that if you have to pay for a job to be done and then redone because of it was inadequate, it costs more money. Doing the job twice due to shortcuts like not having the properly composed grand jury, pushing kids into an adult system for no reason other than perceived political capital, letting other officials subject court cases to retrial for inappropriate contact, all these things COST THE TAXPAYERS MONEY & on top of it, having to doing out punitive damages for ruining people’s lives COSTS EVEN MORE.

According to the NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service),

Corruption can arise in virtually any area of local government activity, and will leave distinct traces according to the area -law enforcement, land-use regulation, purchasing, or tax assessment. It is possible to put together a diagnostic check list that will indicate possible corruption in a particular area. 

When corruption in government is suspected, there is a checklist of things people should look for. Some of those are:

  1. Have there been any cases tried in recent history of corruption? Statistically, there are going to be people involved in the moving parts of government trying to make money by cutting corners. Lack of this implies there are things not being caught which indicates incompetence or there are things overlooked indicating bigger corruption. Either way, the fact is something has to change for the county to retain its liquidity.
  2. Is there a high turnover in agency personnel? This indicates a systemic internal problem that cost taxpayers money and allows for corruption to flourish in the internal dissension.
  3. Are public positions filled when there is no need for the job, as hiring a
  4. swimming instructor for a park with no pool? This indicates the fulfilling of political favors for off the book gains ie corruption.
  5. Are those arrested for narcotics and gambling mostly street-level people
  6. rather than higher ups? This indicates incompetence in not investigating about the street-level soldiers in a more organized criminal enterprise.
  7. Is there an effective independent investigative agency to hear complaints of official misconduct? This is a check and balance approach to keep everybody honest.

The NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service) goes on to say:

“Some people who participate in corruption make no attempt to hide their activities, either believing that what they are doing is perfectly acceptable or expecting that no one will be watching. In most cases, however, participants will attempt to cover their tracks, both by making payoffs secretly and by attempting to provide a legitimate cover for their decisions. Where this is true, uncovering corruption problems can be difficult. Existing nvestigative bodies, such as the police and the prosecutors’ offices, are the obvious starting point because they can use surveillance techniques, subpoena powers, and the like, and can grant immunity to uncover evidence of specific crimes. Elected officials and agency heads who have daily contact with first-line supervisors or middle-level management are likely to have a fairly good idea of where the soft spots are, although they may be protected from below from any knowledge of specific corrupt acts or practices. Those who deal with local government from the outside – lawyers representing developers, contractors seeking building permits, salesmen seeking orders, or companies seeking contracts -will have certain knowledge of specific acts of corruption. Some will have little interest in exposing the acts that they profit from while others will be eager to see an immediate end to corruption (although they may be reluctant to aid in a suppression effort that entails personal risk). Newspaper, wire service, and television reporters may have more knowledge of corrupt acts than is revealed in their news reports, but may be reluctant to reveal it for fear of cutting themselves off from sources of other news. Outside of specifically chartered investigative bodies, the least reluctant sources of information about acts of corruption are official records.


” The desire to be respected by the public, so that being a politician or civil servant can be considered an honorable career, and election, appointment, or employment in government can be considered evidence of high personal standards of conduct. (They display:)• Recognition that corruption has a high social as well as monetary cost, and that even though the public may not seem to care in situations where corruption exists, and may continue to vote··in administrations that are either dirty or too stupid to be believed, the social cost is still being paid. When corruption and the costs of corruption finally become unacceptable, the result is likely to be personal as well as civic peril.• The awareness that there are standards of ethical conduct that can be agreed on, and principles of ethical action that can be applied, so that an employee or official can have confidence that he/she is acting ethically and need not be at the mercy of a superior’s whim or an investigative reporter’s slow news day. The most important ingredient of a (government leadership) management environment that is hostile to corruption is a strong and principled leadership. Without that, formalized guidelines for ethical behavior will be of little use. The next ingredient is credibility, which rests not only on sending clear messages that reinforce one another but also on keeping it all open and public”

Bottom line: Is this present in Escambia County? The articles in the PNJ tell the story….NO!

Why Chief Deputy is Wrong About Crime Stats

Local crime rate: Is it up or down?

This article was extremely inflammatory to me. As a criminologist, it is insulting  and it is ridiculous garbage.  Mr. Robinson, do you homework please.

Chief Deputy Haines and Prof. Hough are misleading the public with the interpretation of the statistics. First, Chief Deputy Haines is trying to look at the long term statistics to say you are safer today than in past decades. The problem here is that he is off point. The focus of all this is explicitly the time Sheriff Morgan has been in office. That is the time in question. Since he was sworn in, crime has been out of step with dropping crime rates within the state and within the country overall. The percentages have been disproportionately higher consistently throughout his administration. The attrition rate (loss of deputies) is directly correlated to this rate. Less officers = more crime.

The next misleading thing Haines throws out is about total arrests. Total arrests is no indication of crime. How many arrests were thrown out, improper or even resulted in numerous crimes being committed under that 1 arrest?  He is trying to confuse you with interchanging 2 terms that are not the same.

Moving on, the following graph shows the God’s honest truth. Escambia County  (from 2009-2015) has a higher crime rate than the state average—consistently. As for Dr. Hough’s suggestion that the .1-.3 percent increase is insignificant, in real numbers, that.1-.3 percent  accounts for 200-250 more violent crimes.  That is significant in Escambia County.

Now to address Dr. Hough’s claim that 2/3 of all crimes are committed indoors.  The semantics here are ALL crime vs violent or street crime. His statement is about all crime. It is misleading  by throwing in other crimes to diminish the statistical value. To make Dr. Hough’s 2/3 statement true, you must include white collar crimes such as embezzlement, fraud and identity theft. Those are not considered “violent”or street crimes and have no place in the statistics. Removing those crimes takes the veracity out of his assertion that 2/3 of crimes (that we are talking about) are committed indoors.

Subsequently, having directed patrolling (patrolling in high crime areas routinely, maintaining a police presence) has always positively affected crime rates. People are less likely to be the victim of a crime in the areas where there is more of a threat of incarceration. This is not rocket science. This concept can be reduced to simple human interactions. When you take your eye off of a kid, will they take a cookie they know they are not supposed to have? Possibly. Will they do it while you are there? Less likely. Reducing the opportunity for crime in the areas where it is most likely to occur is the fundamental cure to high crime.

Please don’t take my word for it. In Journal of Human Sciences, Vol 3 from April 2016, Murat Ozkan discusses the conclusion to his research which boils down to exactly this point. The article is called, “A paradigm shift in policing: Crime reduction through problem oriented policing”.  The main high point of this article is that policing that focuses on people and their motivations for crime, doesn’t work; focusing on reducing the opportunity for crime to occur (ie locking doors, having police presence, proper lighting in high crime areas etc) works.  This is an old concept that is still the most valuable approach to reducing crime.

Sheriff Morgan is trying to put the responsibility of crime on society. He does this by implying citizens don’t control their kids.Then he is implementing numerous neighborhood watch programs trying to make communities the police. If that worked, he shouldn’t have a job to begin with. People with the authority to put other people in jail are more compelling than people without that power, who potentially endanger themselves to try to stop a crime in progress. That is just good sense. It is denigrating for him to say “your bad ass kids cause crime and don’t call the police, fix it yourself”.  That is the line of crap he is laying out.

Finally, Prof. Hough claiming that 2/3’s of all crime happens indoor is lumping in many other crimes than we are talking about here. Many crimes initiate out of doors. What crimes (relevant to the problem in Escambia County ) happen outdoors? Typically, prostitution, car jackings/theft, car burglaries and drug deals happen in open areas. Cervantes Street is known for a reason. Very few car burglaries, which are the big problem here, happen to cars within a parking structure or garage. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, most crimes happen to people transitioning between activities. In a car, leaving work or the mall, or even leaving home to go to work, school or what have you is where you are most likely to be victimized. That is the crime that can be reduced by police presence.

Also, be aware that according to senior deputies within the ECSO, there is a skewing of these statistics. Deputies have been told to code or report crimes with the least severe code they can. Making a burglary a petit theft for instance would keep that crime off the statistical radar. Sir David is shifty like that.

In the end, people feel the change in safety. More guns are sold; more padlocks or additional security items are flying off the shelves. This isn’t because they feel safer. Also, Eric Haines is doing the community a disservice by skirting the issues and misrepresenting the facts. He is still trying to justify his own inadequacy as Chief Deputy.

Moral of the story: Don’t let anybody try to throw statistics out to convince you one thing is true when you know it is not true. Several different organizations have labeled Escambia County more dangerous than it should be. The talking heads of the ECSO can’t explain that away. (Mostly because it reflects badly on them personally). And by the way, no billboard will make you safer either.

By the way, Mr. Robinson, you should fact-check the people you try to make look smart. You are slanting the information being delivered just as much as the Chief Deputy. You discredit yourself.

haines statistics - DocHub.clipular