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.

Why Chip Simmons’s Fall from Grace Will Keep Him Out of Public Office

As it has been predicted, the prophesy that Chief Deputy Simmons (aka Chipper) would be more of the same if elected to the office of Sheriff, has come to fruition. Several months ago, an employee outed an affair Chipper was involved in. She was disciplined for having an extramarital affair. Naturally, wanting the policies and rules to be evenly upheld, the employee believed it was wrong that she would be disciplined for an affair and Chief Simmons would not suffer any discipline for having an extramarital affair himself. There were ample details given to investigate this Chipper’s affair via a complaint made to the ECSO. This entire situation should have been investigated, especially since one of the possible victims of the extramarital affair is an employee at the ECSO and Chief Simmons is his boss.

Ultimately, two employees lost their jobs for having an affair. Neither employee was a part of the reported Chipper’s affair. The affair he had (or is having) was never investigated. The rules apparently don’t apply to Pensacola’s fair-haired boy. While the public once saw him as their favored and “honest” political personality, and he played the part by acting like such, he can no longer deny he is just as corrupt and as much of a hypocrite as Morgan or Haines.

The sad part is his conscience isn’t impeding his race for the top. Just imagine, knowing two employees were terminated, effectively ending their careers, for having an affair and you are doing the same thing without fall-out, should weigh heavy if you have any moral compass at all. Yet, with Chipper, not so much. He smiles and shakes hands with campaign donors while the people under him see him as minion of Morgan. As long as he abandons those he is supposed to lead (as he did when Haines held well earned raises over their heads) and stands by watching careers go down the drain for things he is guilty of while he basks in the sunlight, he doesn’t deserve the public trust just like the current administration doesn’t deserve the public respect and trust that was placed in them.

Let’s not forget there is a husband who calls Chipper his boss. This man must smile and grin, knowing that his boss is sleeping with his wife. That is twisted. That within itself is just not the stuff true leaders are made of.  Playing Devil’s advocate, if this is purely rumor wouldn’t any competent leader want to get to the truth in this matter?  However, it seems like, if an investigation were started, it would be documented that Chipper is an adulterer and has abused his power over the husband of his mistress and that is no good for political campaign.

Chipper wants to be the top law enforcement officer in our county. The citizens have the right to know if he is the person, he claims he is. He has worked diligently in his career to build a reputation in the public eye. Yet in almost 4 short years since he was hired, he has become as vile as the man that hired him. I, personally, would like to see some questions answered. I, personally, would like to see an appropriate investigation into this matter. I’d like to see him explain why an extramarital affair makes him worthy of being a Sheriff.

A true investigation would find Chipper involved in an extramarital affair and then there would be questions. He would have to answer why he watched two employees lose their careers because of something he was also doing without consequence. He would need to explain what makes him believe he should be Sheriff after lying about having an affair. I would want to know if he ever feels guilty for allowing himself to avoid responsibility for an act that cost others their career. Two people he knew well and worked with daily. People that he knew was aware of his inappropriate relationship if determined to be true.

One other question of great interest to the ECSO deputies is why he was exploiting his brother’s nepotism. Ken Simmons, Chipper’s brother, was promoted to a Captains position. There is not a career path for becoming a Captain. Historically it has been a political appointment. Morgan promoted Chipper’s brother when the statute is clearly being violated. None of the leadership at the ECSO stepped in and voiced concern for blatant law violations. (FSS 112. 3135) It would be difficult to argue Chipper had no input in the matter or for that matter, that it appears that Morgan was doing him a favor by promoting his brother over more competent candidates.

Neither issue is as concerning to the public as the deafening silence by Chipper, while he is able to make changes. If he is not actually allowed to rule against Haines, then he must be courageous enough to step away and fight to be elected. Taking a path of going along to get along is discouraging. That isn’t a new idea at the ECSO. That is an example of what is not needed. There have been several attempts to reach out to Simmons and beg for his leadership. He has ignored all the calls from employees to help the ECSO survive the failure of leadership. Tell me again why this is the person for the job of Sheriff?

The Famous Chicken Video Distraction

I wasn’t going to dignify this video with a response but I reconsidered. It is important to speak out when it is necessary and this video reverberates the lack of respect this man has for his constituents. This was an overblown social media story that was essentially a misunderstanding but instead of correcting the misperception, Sir David decided to mock and even arrest a constituent because this misunderstanding.

Without further adieu, the Famous Chicken Video….

The fact he is the citizen thought they heard a gunshot and it was simultaneously when the deputy rolled by with his window open. If you perhaps heard, then exactly what happened might be ambiguous. That being said the deputy didn’t stop to say check on the animal or attempt to locate the owner as he would have probably done had it been a conventional pet. The fact he didn’t stop added to the misunderstanding of what happened. Had he stopped, he could have cleared the situation up immediately. But instead, he drove away knowing that there were witnesses. The owner was subsequently arrested for filing a false police report because he stated the officer shot the chicken.

Morgan is effectively mocking his constituents and looks like an ass in doing so. This situation was unfortunate but it was preventable with clarification and by not belittling the situation or people involved. It shows how low Morgan is for assuming he is any better than anyone, particularly when this same deputy was allowed to resign last week after being caught in a prostitution sting involving him providing illegal drugs for sex.

Now view the moral high ground the Sheriff is taking. He sounds like a jackass for talking down to citizens and building the moral high ground for this deputy because he obviously above shooting a chicken, right?

Ridiculous and sad that the Escambia County Sheriff even says you should be glad he and his office have a “modicum of character and integrity” for NOT ARRESTING A DEPUTY WHO COMMITTED MULTIPLE FELONIES, BUT DID NOT SHOT A CHICKEN.