Thursday, December 18, 2014

6600 posts published; this is 6601

St. Augustine, Florida -- like Oak Ridge, Tennessee -- will never be the same again. Thanks to y'all for listening.

GAY MARRIAGE: GREENBERG TRAURIG Scares Florida Court Clerks, Has Long Global History of Fraud

From Wikipedia:

Lobbying and Jack Abramoff scandal[edit]
In January 2001, lobbyist Jack Abramoff left Preston Gates & Ellis to join Greenberg Traurig. Abramoff brought a book of business then worth more than $6 million annually to Greenberg Traurig, according to his own estimates. At the firm he assembled "Team Abramoff," a lobbying team that was involved in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal and the monetary influence of Jack Abramoff. A Greenberg spokesman said that its federal lobbying revenue in 2005 was 1 percent of its total revenues of $860 million.

In 2000, before Abramoff joined the firm, Greenberg had $3.3 million in lobbying fees. After he joined in 2001, the firm took in $16.2 million in fees. By 2002, that number jumped to $17.7 million, and $25.5 million by 2003.[15] The firm became one of the top 10 of Washington lobbying firms, moving from 16th place to fourth, according to the National Journal.[16]

In early 2004 Greenberg Traurig fired Abramoff and subsequently received praise from federal investigators and members of Congress for its cooperation in the Abramoff investigation, according to the ABA Journal.[17]

On July 12, 2006, the Alabama-Coushatta tribe filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against now-convicted Abramoff and his cohorts. Greenberg Traurig was not a named defendant. Its lawsuit states that "There was a nexus between Greenberg, the enterprise and the pattern of racketeering." According to the suit, internal Greenberg e-mails showed that Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon, although not a member of the firm, "billed hours to tribal clients through Greenberg and that members of the law firm, including attorneys Kevin Ring, Shawn Vasell, Stephanie Leger, Todd Boulanger and others, fabricated hours and time entries for Scanlon." The suit also says the firm allowed checks sent by the tribe to a bogus Abramoff-linked think tank to be funneled and cashed through Greenberg Traurig.[15]

In March 2008, prosecutors in Guam indicted Greenberg Traurig on felony counts of allegedly making improper billings to Guam's superior court under the guise of charging for lobbying services by Jack Abramoff.[18] In April 2008, the charges of deception, theft and conspiracy were dismissed by Guam prosecutors after Greenberg Traurig agreed to refund $324,000 in lobbying fees to the Guam judiciary.[19]

In November 2008, a New York State court refused to dismiss a suit alleging that Robert J. Ivanhoe, chairman of Greenberg Traurig's New York City office and head of its real estate group, disregarded his "legal and fiduciary duties" by taking a personal financial stake in a competitor to a client that had invested in a multibillion-dollar real estate venture.[20] The former client had sued Ivanhoe and Greenberg Traurig in April 2008 for breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with prospective economic damages, and malpractice. Greenberg Traurig responded that the allegations were "without merit" and that it would appeal the ruling.[21]
In June 2006, Greenberg Traurig agreed to pay the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation $7.6 million for its role as a legal adviser to the now defunct Hamilton Bank of Miami, to settle allegations that it had helped to cover up bank officers' financial misconduct. The firm paid an additional $750,000 fine to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for allegedly protecting the bank's officers "by making materially false and misleading assertions and by suppressing material evidence."[22]
In December 2008, the firm and several current and former firm attorneys (Harley Lewin and Steven Wadyka) were sued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by Catherine and Richard Snyder of Herndon, Virginia. Also named in the suit, Greenberg Traurig's client, Diane Von Furstenberg Studios, Conde Nast Publications, The New Yorker and New Yorker staff reporter, Larissa MacFarquhar. The Snyders' suit stems from a suit filed in the same court by Diane Von Furstenberg Studios against Catherine Snyder in December 2006 for trademark infringement, which resulted in an award of damages to DVF Studios. The Snyders' complaint alleges, among other things, that the Greenberg attorneys made false statements to the court when applying for a search warrant and that one (Wadyka) impersonated a federal officer by flashing a badge and stating that he was with the office of the U.S. Attorney. The suit also alleges that the attorneys failed to post a required bond and that the search of the Snyders' home exceeded the scope of the warrant and resulted in the seizure of many personal items. The suit also alleges that the firm's attorneys improperly brought New Yorker staff reporter MacFarquhar, who was profiling Lewin for a forthcoming article, into the Snyders' home while conducting their raid in December 2006 pursuant to the search warrant.[23]
In November 2006, Jay I. Gordon, the former chairman of Greenberg Traurig's tax practice, resigned from the New York bar and was disbarred for taking over $1.2 million in kickbacks on tax shelters that he had recommended to wealthy clients of the firm.[24]
In December 2005, Leonard Ross, an attorney formerly with Greenberg Traurig's Philadelphia office, was charged with fraud and corruption as part of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into city government. Ross was a friend and former law partner of Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street: Federal prosecutors alleged that Ross's employment at Greenberg was "entirely dependent on his relationship with Mayor Street" and "a motive for selling his office as a PLC [Penns Landing Corporation] board member."[22]
In May 2005, Philadelphia partner Robert S. Grossman plead guilty to charges that he had lied in a 1996 bankruptcy case to cover up his improper diversion of over $100,000 to his personal account when he worked as a real estate developer in Virginia. Greenberg Traurig professed surprise at Grossman's arrest the following November for failing to report to prison, and stated that Grossman hadn't disclosed the criminal proceeding to the firm. Greenberg has stated that it now does background checks on all new employees.[22]
In 2001, Victor Reyes, who headed the Hispanic Democratic Organization and had close ties to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, joined Greenberg Traurig and led the firm's Chicago lobbying practice. After Reyes's arrival, from 2001 to 2005, Greenberg earned $3.5 million in city-related legal fees, including for representing the city in the United Airlines and RCN Cable TV bankruptcies. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald subsequently alleged that Reyes's law office was central to a patronage scheme to funnel city jobs to pro-Daley campaign workers. Reyes resigned from Greenberg in August 2005, and in September federal prosecutors indicted five city employees, including a former Reyes aide, in the scandal. Reyes wasn't charged, but prosecutors called him as a "co-schemer" in the indictment.[25] Greenberg CEO Cesar L. Alvarez stated, "I don't know about anything [Reyes] did in the firm that was wrong. I can only know what I have seen, and I only know that he hasn't been charged."[22]
In 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission looked into insider trader allegations between United States House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health staff director Brian Sutter and Mark Hayes, a lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig.[26]

17 ^
18 ^ Greenberg Traurig Indicted in Guam
19 ^ Felony Charges in Guam Dropped Against Greenberg Traurig
20 ^ Nama Holdings, LLC v. Greenberg Traurig LLP, Index No. 601054/08 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. Nov. 18, 2008)
21 ^ Lawsuit Proceeds Against Greenberg Traurig, Real Estate Head
22 to: a b c d Will the Corporate Model Backfire on Greenberg?
23 ^ "Couple Sues New Yorker & Greenberg Traurig", from Court House News Service
24 ^
25 ^ Feds link close pal of Daley to hiring
26. ^ Lopez, Luciana; Raymond, Nate (4 July 2014). "House panel opposes giving SEC documents for insider trading probe". (Reuters). Retrieved 4 July 2014.

GAY MARRIAGE: GREENBERG TRAURIG Lawyers Threatening Court Clerks and County Court Judges -- Who are they?

Fred W. Baggett
Tallahassee Managing Shareholder
Direct: +1 850.425.8512
101 East College Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32301
T +1 850.222.6891
F +1 850.681.0207
Government Law & Policy
American Indian Law
Global Energy & Infrastructure
Insurance Regulatory & Transactions
J.D., Florida State University College of Law, 1970
B.A., University of Florida, 1967
Admitted to Practice
Profile|Professional Experience|News & Events
Significant Representations
Member of Greenberg Traurig team that represented MAT Concessionaire, LLC and its sponsors, Meridiam Infrastructure Fund and Bouygues Travaux Publics, S.A., in the Port of Miami Tunnel project, one of the first greenfield public-private partnerships in the United States.
Led coalition that repealed unitary tax law in Florida.
Led coalition that repealed interstate and regional banking prohibitions in Florida.
Primary participant in rewrite of Florida managed care laws.
Primary participant in rewrite of Florida child support enforcement laws.
Primary participant in the adoption of Florida’s Unified Building Code.
Created concept for issuance of $500 million bond by Florida Insurance Guaranty Fund to aid Hurricane Andrew victims; successfully convinced Department of Insurance to accept, then drafted and successfully lobbied special session legislation to allow issue within 45 days.
Primary participant in rewrite of Florida laws regulating the Nursing Homes industry.
Previous Experience
Executive Assistant, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida, 1970-1972

John K. Londot
Full Biography
Direct: +1 850.425.8539
Direct Fax: +1 850.681.0207
101 East College Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32301
T +1 850.222.6891
F +1 850.681.0207
Franchise & Distribution
Products Liability
Labor & Employment
J.D., Emory University School of Law, 1997
Research Editor, Bankruptcy Developments Journal
Research Assistant to Professor/Eleventh Circuit Conference Attorney Mori Irvine
Vice President and Co-Founder, Alternative Dispute Resolution Society
NITA Trial Techniques Advocacy Award Semifinalist
"Lemon Law" Arbitrator for Better Business Bureau
B.A., English Literature, Rhodes College, 1993
B.A., International Studies, Rhodes College, 1993
Admitted to Practice
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Supreme Court of Georgia
John K. Londot is admitted in both Florida and Georgia, and sees complex matters to trial and through appeal. He has first-chaired jury trials in both state and federal courts in Florida to complete verdicts for his clients. John practices in commercial, constitutional, employment, real estate, and securities litigation, as well as administrative and professional regulatory law. Well-versed in the varieties of litigation, John also represents elected officials in connection with their constitutional and statutory responsibilities, public officials and employees in proceedings before the Florida Ethics Commission and Division of Administrative Hearings, students and staff in the Florida university system in connection with disciplinary proceedings, and, in expression of his appreciation to those who serve, members of the United States armed services in connection with disciplinary actions and in pursuit of writs of habeas corpus.

In addition, John has served as an adjunct professor, teaching Administrative Law and Process at Barry University, and as a guest lecturer at Florida State University College of Law. John authored the chapter "Judicial Notice; Presumptions; Burden of Proof" in The Florida Bar’s manual, Evidence in Florida, 7th and 8th editions, and was a Speaker/Author at The Florida Bar’s Topics in Evidence Seminar (co-sponsored by the Code & Rules of Evidence Committee, Trial Lawyers and Criminal Law Sections), in March 2011, addressing the use of legal presumptions in jury instructions.

Before joining the firm in 2002, John served in the United States Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. As a military defense counsel, John served as a criminal defense attorney at Yokosuka, Japan in more than 50 jury and bench trials of cases ranging from murder, sexual assault, fraud, and Espionage Act violations (for the trial of which John received a Top Secret/SCI clearance), and was by-name requested to temporarily fill the position of Deputy General Counsel to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan. While stationed in Japan, John was also appointed by the United States Embassy as a Trial Observer, charged with ensuring the due process rights of service members and their family members when tried in Japanese courts. Later, as a senior trial counsel in the Navy’s busiest judicial circuit at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, John represented the government in the prosecution of offenses including sexual assault, kidnapping, fraud, medical malpractice, and torture.

Areas of Concentration
Appellate law
Administrative law
Public records law
Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act
Statutory and rule construction
Professional & Community Involvement
Member, American Bar Association
Member, The Florida Bar
Member, Georgia Bar Association
Member, Tallahassee Bar Association
Leader of Cub Scout Bear Den, Pack 118, Cub Scouts, Present
Past Two-Term President, Board of Directors, America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend
Former Mentor, Woodville Elementary School, 2007-2009
Awards & Recognition
Team Member, a Law360 "Employment Practice Group of the Year," 2011 & 2013
Team Member, a Law360 "Product Liability Practice Group of the Year," 2011
U.S. Navy Achievement Medal (twice awarded)
U.S. Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal
U.S. Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal
Significant Representations
Represented a major medical products manufacturer in products liability litigation.
Represented a national consumer products manufacturer in products liability litigation cases throughout Florida.
In a jury trial over the breakup of a medical practice, won partial summary judgment followed by a jury verdict awarding money judgment to client and rejecting a $4.6 million counterclaim by defendants.
Won summary judgment for a national restaurant franchisor against claims of violations of the Franchise Rule, Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Florida Franchise Act, along with a jury verdict and judgment for $1.1 million (including attorneys’ fees) against the former franchisee, and defeated franchisee’s multimillion-dollar claims; additionally, prevailed on appeal before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Represented a Florida Clerk of Circuit Court with respect to constitutional duties, procurement laws, tax surplus sales and government in the Sunshine laws.
Represented a national publishing company with respect to employment litigation throughout the United States.
Represented several national banks with respect to commercial foreclosure.

GAY MARRIAGE: Florida Clerks Threatened By Corporate Law Firm Memo

Florida is the only state to make it a crime (since January 1, 1999) for a court clerk, judge or other person to marry two people of the same sex. This places Florida aligned with the Nuremberg laws in Nazi Germany. Corrupt lobbyist JACK ABRAMOFF'S former corporate law firm, Republican-oriented GREENBERG TRAURIG, has threatened Florida's court clerks and county court judges with criminal prosecution under the law (never mind that Article VI, sentence w of the United States Constitution provides for Federal Supremacy -- these Florida hick hacks want Clerks and Judges to be afraid, very afraid, of marrying Gays and Lesbians on January 6, 2014.

How revolting.

GREENBERG TRAURIG has 1750 lawyers in 36 offices worldwide, each of whom should question firm management.

Greenberg Traurig has 36 offices worldwide.

Greenberg Traurig's largest office is in the MetLife Building in New York City. The New York office is one of many offices founded in the 1990s, when GT expanded from a local Miami firm to become one of the largest in the United States.
Boca Raton
Boston (One International Place)
Dallas (JPMorgan Chase Tower)
Fort Lauderdale
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
Mexico City, Mexico
Miami (Founding Office)
New Jersey
New York (MetLife Building)
Orange County
San Francisco
Silicon Valley
Tysons Corner
Washington, DC
West Palm Beach
White Plains

Amsterdam, Netherlands
London, England (Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP)
Warsaw, Poland (Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak sp.k.)
Milan, Italy (Strategic Alliance with Studio Santa Maria)
Rome, Italy (Strategic Alliance with Studio Santa Maria)

Seoul, Korea
Shanghai, China
Tel Aviv, Israel

GREENBERG TRAURIG lawyers -- all 1750 -- should question firm management about Florida's Nuremberg law and their role in propping it up, threatening court clerks and county court judges with criminal prosecution!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"30 Years in 30 Minutes": Department of Energy Oak Ridge Documentary on Environmental Cleanup

I am touched, titillated and tickled that the Department of Energy (a/k/a "Denier of Everything") made a 30-minute documentary about its Oak Ridge cleanup program, "30 Years in 30 Minutes." On May 17, 1983, our Appalachian Observer newspaper won declassification of the largest mercury pollution event in world history (Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant, 4.2 million pounds, mercury "lost" into creeks and groundwaters (still leaking and requiring a new $125,000,000 plant sponsored by Senator Lamar Alexander) and pouring into Y-12 plant workers lungs and brains (no respirators and no protection) at levels 30-60 times then-prevailing health standards. I left for law school at Memphis State (now University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law) a month after my July 11, 1983 testimony before then-Rep. Al Gore, calling for criminal prosecution of Union Carbide and government officials. Check out the video:

What do you reckon? Was it a mistake going to law school? Should I have stayed in East Tennessee? As Justice Robert Jackson, our prosecutor at Nuremberg, once asked his law clerk impressed with his prodigious stack of law books amidst a research project, "But what does it all mean?"

Should I make a documentary?

Or write novels and movie scripts? You tell me. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

City Visioning Committee Lacks Diversity: IN HAEC VERBA -- Letter to Two New Commissioenrs

Dear Mayor Shaver and Commissioner Neville:
May I please suggest that each of you, as new Commissioners, each kindly appoint three (3) new members to join the Visioning Committee?
The Visioning Committee is all white and middle or upper class.
Each member was appointed by a City Commissioner. Two of those commissioners have left office.
Thus, 40% of the members were appointed by former elected officials.
Our Visioning Committee lacks diversity.
No African-Americans.
No Hispanics.
No working class people.
No openly Gay or Lesbian people.
No noted civil rights, environmental or historic preservation activists.
How embarrassing.
We expect better of our Nation's Oldest City.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

"White Christmas" At St. Augustine Beach and St. Augustine, Florida

"White Christmas" At St. Augustine Beach and St. Augustine, Florida

They're celebrating a "White Christmas" at the City of St. Augustine Beach, Florida.
In the WPA Guide to Florida, Stetson Kennedy called it "the Oldest White City in America."
My late mentor, Stetson Kennedy, told the truth.
So did Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who called our community the "most lawless" in America, writing a letter that resulted in sixteen (16) rabbis being arrested here on June 18, 1964, the largest mass arrest of rabbis in American history.
The City of St. Augustine Beach, established in 1959, is a place where the ocean was once racially segregated, enforced by energumen local lawmen, until federal court orders in 1964.
Of fifty (50) City of St. Augustine Beach employees, there are no African-Americans.
St. Augustine Beach African-American residents and visitors are made to feel uncomfortable.
Concerns about this fact have fallen on uncaring ears and mocked by the likes of Mayor ANDREA SAMUELS, who was herself once a victim of employment discrimination as a Jewish woman nurse in Northeast Florida.
Mayor ANDREA SAMUELS publicly mocked me at a Commission meeting when I said the City of St. Augustine Beach would be ripe for an EEOC pattern and practice race and sex discrimination case. I pity and forgive her -- she often emotes without thinking.
St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by some 800 Spanish, including 50 Africans.
In 1566, the City moved from the mainland to the island, at or near today's St. Augustine Beach, after Temucua Indians torched Spanish buildings.
today, the "twin cities" lack diversity.
The much older of our "twin cities," our City of St. Augustine, is not much better than the CIty of St. Augustine Beach.
Zero African-Americans on the City of St. Augustine "Visioning" Committee. None.
Zero Hispanics on the City of St. Augustine "Visioning" Committee. None.
Little interest in growing the economy to "raise all boats" -- it took the Chamber of Commerce to point that out.
Zero African-American firemen in the City of St. Augustine. None.
Zero African-American policemen in the City of St. Augustine.. None.
The highest-ranking City of St. Augustine African-American City employee is underpaid.
Others are galactically underpaid and underemployed.
The "recruitment patterns" at the City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County local governments is typical of hick hack sad sacks -- they don't post and advertise positions and they hire relatives and friends and friends' relatives, particularly for top positions.
That's what defeated City of St. Augustine Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, Jr. did in hiring his friend, DANA STE. CLAIRE, to run our 450th commemoration and ISABELLE LOPEZ as City Attorney
No advertising. Duked in. DANA STE. CLAIRE is "the smartest man in St. Augustine," BOLES once called him at Flagler College Auditorium. LOPEZ "protects us," he said.
From whom, for whom?
Our City government dumped a landfill in a lake in one African-American community (West Augustine), then demanded to bring it back to another African-American community (Lincolnville) in 2000 truckloads.
We stopped the fools.
We pity them and forgive them, but have they learned anything in ten years?
Lack of diversity makes for bizarre decisions -- solid waste and sewage pollution in minority communities, for example.
The lack of diversity and equal employment opportunity in local governments is the result of rabid racist Southern officialdom, including former City of St. Augustine City Managers WILLIAM POMAR, WILLIAM BRUCE HARRIS, et al., and KKK and John Birch Society sympathizers, including notorious CIty of St. Augustine Mayor JOSEPH A. SHELLEY, M.D. Dr. SHELLEY was a beloved baby doctor who delivered countless babies while delivering countless threats to African-American protesters, including an embarrassing 1964 NBC Today Show appearance and a fatwa threatening arrest and ruin for any young people joining civil rights protests.
In 2014, City of St. Augustine Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, Jr. was defeated in part because of his rank insensitivity to civil rights issues.
Mayor BOLES said Commissioners only got to hire three employees, but Commissioners make policies and enact ordinances.
Commissioners also appoint Board members -- all fifteen members of the St. Augustine Visioning Committee are white.
(African-American Greg White was on the board but resigned and was replaced).
Yesterday, Mosquito Control Commissioner Jeanne Moeller rightly questioned Vice Mayor Roxanne Horvath about the lack of diversity on the Visioning COmmittee.
There are no African-Americans and no openly Gay or Lesbian members on the City Visioning Committee.
Are there any Jewish or Muslim members?
Any working class people?
Any liberals?
Is the "vision" for St. Augustine's future for conservative middle class white Christian heterosexuals only?
Would Mayor SHELLEY be right at home here now?
Will our new mayor (Nancy Shaver) and new Commissioner (Todd Neville) need to appoint new members, expanding the committee?
Or will they tolerate intolerance and endorse discrimination, sub silent?
To our elected Commissioners of the Cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County:
We can do better.
We must do better.
We will do better.
Make us proud and not ashamed.
You were elected to do a job.
Do it.
Do it now.
Do it with fidelity and honor.
"Earn this" (as Tom Hanks' character said at the end of "Saving Private Ryan")
Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah. Happy Solistice.
As LBJ said to Congress after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!"

Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085

Monday, December 15, 2014


So cold that surfers are wearing wetsuits. And I have been wearing socks for several days.

Healthy, Vibrant Economy

Carol Saviak from Chamber of Commerce just made good comments on St. Augustine Visioning Committee about the need to focus on a sustainable economy. Good comments.


LEN WEEKS is still on our City Visioning Committee.
Ex-Mayor CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. destroyed 210-year old Spanish colonial building on September 25, 2014.
Fined only $3600. Not cross-examined. City Attorney ISABELLE LOPEZ hugged him after the wrist-slap.
Tacky Chairman WEEKS actually said Parking and Traffic Committee should meet on MLK Day because "everyone has off."
He's still there -- Visioning meeting going on now.
Tell me why he has not been fired or resigned.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Great Expectations

Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, Jr. is gone.
Thank God.
Gone too is his political-economic fantasy of spending more than $41 million on our 450th, like Jamestown, Virginia did on its 400th anniversary.
What we need now is some common sense, which Mayor Nancy Shaver was elected to provide.
Thank God.
See below.

6.5 Years Later, No 450th Vision, Volunteers Untapped: City website on June 25, 2008 "Community Kickoff" Meeting


Members of the community listen as a panel of experts moderated by
Mayor Joe Boles discusses the City’s 450th Anniversary Commemoration
in Flagler College’s auditorium during the Community Kickoff.

Countdown begins to city's 'big do'
Over 200 people braved threatening weather to attend the Community Kickoff to launch planning for the 2015 commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the founding of the City of St. Augustine.

Held in Flagler College’s auditorium, the public event was held on Wednesday June 25 and featured a lively panel discussion that introduced some of the opportunities and challenges of what is expected to be a nationally recognized event. In addition, all those in attendance had the opportunity to sign-up to be included in future communications and planning sessions.

St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles moderated the evening’s program that started with a brief report from Kevin Doyle, State Director of US Senator Mel Martinez’s office regarding federal legislation to create the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission, (S. 2359).

Just prior to the start of the panel discussion, special guest Jeanne Zeidler, Mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia, addressed the audience regarding the 400th anniversary commemoration of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia held last year. Mayor Zeidler served as the executive director of Jamestown 2007 which oversaw the commemoration.

Mayor Zeidler then participated in the panel discussion along with Dr. Michael Gannon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Florida; Nick Sacia, Executive Director, Economic Development Council of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce; and Glenn Hastings, Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & the Beaches Visitors & Convention Bureau.

Members of the panel for the Community Kickoff were (left to right)
Michael Gannon, Glenn Hastings, Nick Sacia and Jeanne Zeidler.

At the conclusion of program those in attendance had the opportunity to sign-up for notifications of future planning meetings and to receive communications updating them on the progress of the planning for the 450th.

To read more about the program, please follow the links below from The St. Augustine Record.

Tourism can get boost from 450th celebration

Birthday will cost millions

Mayor: City can exceed Jamestown's $42M program in 450th celebration

For more information, contact the City of St. Augustine Public Affairs Department at 904.825.1004.

No room at the inn -- tourism bigotry in St. Augustine and St. Johns County

My mentor, St. John Barrett, with President Lyndon Johnson (family photo)

VCB and TDC Must Halt Invidious Discrimination

VCB Director RICHARD GOLDMAN Has Limited Appreciation of Diversity in Tourism Marketing

No room at the inn
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1964 decision in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, on December 14, 1964.
The Court unanimously an expedited case upholding the 1964 Civil Rights Act against segregationists. The action did not start after St. Augustine civil rights protests helped President Lyndon Johnson break a Senate filibuster and enact the la.
St. John Barrett, for whom I worked in 1980 as an antitrust paralegal, was in 1964 a Justice Department lawyer who spearheaded defense of the law.
St. John Barrett, known as "Slim," died in 2012, and his former boss, John Doar, praised his courage and knowledge of civil rights law. (Mr. Doar died this year). In his book, Mr. Barrett wrote that working on civil rights "was the best job a lawyer could have."
After enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a motel located conveniently near two interstate highways in Atlanta sued. that lawsuit enabled the Justice Department to win speedy victories in trial (before three federal district judges) and before the United States Supreme Court.
Heart of Atlanta Motel had fifty billboards and sought interstate guests. It refused to rent rooms to black people.
Katzenbach v. McClung, the companion case, was decided the same day, involving Ollie's Barbecue in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Supreme Court held that the Commerce clause permits Congress to ban discrimination.
The Supreme Court held that it was not a violation of the Fifth Amendment prohibition on depriving liberty or taking property without just compensation, or a violation of due process.
The Supreme Court held that it was not "involuntary servitude" to force hoteliers to serve minority guests, and thus no violation of the Thirteenth Amendment.
There was "no room at the inn" for African-American travelers at U.S. hostelries then.
Tourism was for whites only.
There was literally "no room at the inn" for African-Americans at most U.S. lodgings.
Putative "Christian" conservatives demanded to segregate businesses, even beaches (even the ocean was segregated in St. Augustine Beach).
It took the force of federal law, and the courage of people diverse here in St. Augustine, to enact that law.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and some 1000 people were arrested here by KKK-run police and sheriff departments.
Our future UN Ambassador, Andrew Young, was beaten at the intersection of King and
There is still so much work to be done.
Particularly here in St. Augustine, St. Johns County and Northeast Florida.
Today, do the St. Johns County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Inc. and the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council -- a government contractor and government agency, respectively -- still discriminate against African-American, Hispanic and Gay tourists? They're avoiding any marketing that would reach us. They prefer spending money on Reader's Digest and Better Homes and Gardens.
How gauche and louche.
This is $3.4 million in OUR bed tax money, seemingly mostly wasted on tacky tourist advertising.
We're not advertising adequately for historic and environmental tourists, who spend twice as much and stay twice as long.
We're not promoting enactment of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore legislation.
Ask dodgy VCB Executive Director RICHARD GOLDMAN and the board of this no-bid government contractor why they're not adequately marketing St. Augustine to African-American, Hispanic and Gay tourists.
Ask them if its spending money avoiding African-American and Hispanic tourists under "color of law" (it is).
Ask them if County Attorney PATRICK McCORMACK is prepared to defend it in federal court.
We look forward to St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver remedying the discriminatory situation of VCB and TDC marketing.
Reform Mayor Nancy Shaver is the newest member of VCB and TDC.
Former Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. often missed VCB and TDC meetings. Not once did BOLES speak up about civil rights issues, which I repeatedly raised at City Commission and at the VCB and TDC.
We look forward to greater diversity, sharing St. Augustine with "market segmentation" and sophistication, instead of 1950s-style supercilious glib goofy gooberishness.
The alternative is people filing complaints with the Justice Department Civil Rights Division during our 450th year, and resulting national and international exposure if DOJ must seek injunctive relief against VCB and TDC. (Just ask the City of Memphis, Tennessee, which was successfully sued by DOJ at my suggestion in 1989 over Fifteenth Amendnent violations involving racial gerrymandering and annexations).
The alternative is people treated with disdain and disrespect when they ask VCB for a list of Gay-friendly accommodations. Our friend Terry from Texas asked for such a list in 2009 and was told to "look elsewhere." I asked for such a list last year, and was never given a proper response. After waiting on "hold" several times for a total of nine (9) minutes, I just asked for one again from VCB's inept 800-number, 800-653-2489
Still nothing, after all these years.
The call center operator apologized. I told her it was not her fault, the fault is here in St. Johns County, where bumptious bigots from Ponte Vedra still run our tourism marketing.
I could hear her whisper, "oh my God," to her colleagues as we ended our call.
After all of these years, SJC VCB Executive Director RICHARD GOLDMAN is still a crass conservative capitalist tool -- he is inept, insensitive and ought to look for another job.
We need tourism marketing that makes us proud, not that embarrasses us -- all of us --- and makes us look like Heart of Atlanta Motel.
No more racist, homophobic bigotry in tourism marketing, please.
No more potential international incidents with the King and Queen of Spain and Pope Francis invited to visit during our 450th.
No more discrimination in our name.
We are a diverse city and we need to present ourselves as such to the world, and not through decrepit,
Yes we can!
The whole world is watching.

St Augustine Record can't count to hundreds of thousands?

St Augustine Record can't count to hundreds of thousands?
Those were "hundreds of thousands" of patriotic demonstrators opposed to senseless police killings and shootings nationwide.
The Record's inept headline-writer did it again, heading wire copy with another misleading biased headline.
Not "thousands," but "hundreds of thousands."
If Editor Kathy Nelson were not so busy writing her thumb-sucking column, or sucking up to the owners and controllers, she'd see to details.
She's never been to the St. Augustine City Commission, and behaved badly as "moderator" of the League of Women Voters county candidate debates.

St. Augustine Record editors STILL can't spell "CRICHLOW?"

St. Augustine Record can't spell "CRICHLOW?"
No "T" In CRICHLOW. And no proofreading in Record?
Thrice this morning's St. Augustine Record print edition misspelled the name of former City Commissioner Donald W. CRICHLOW.
There's no T in "Crichlow."
This is not the first time the Record misspelled Don's name.
This time, it did it thrice in his own column!
You may correct it in the electronic version, but the print edition will forever, forever, forever show your lack of a proofreader or copy editing competence.
If Editor Kathy Nelson were not so busy writing her thumb-sucking column, or sucking up to the owners and controllers, she'd see to details.
She's never been to the St. Augustine City Commission, and behaved oafishly as "moderator" of the League of Women Voters county candidate debates.
When will they ever learn?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Commissioner William McClure & Mother Medicare Fraud Affidavits Unsealed

Records: St. Johns County Commissioner McClure, mother accused of overbilling Medicaid, Medicare
Posted: December 12, 2014 - 7:36pm
Newly unsealed search warrant documents show that state and federal investigators believe St. Johns County Commissioner Bill McClure and his mother, Paula Stowell, falsely billed Medicaid and Medicare, forged prescription documents and kept controlled substances at their medical offices without certification.
The accusations are in relation to the two county locations of the Medi M.D. clinics, and they are revealed in search warrant records that have recently been made public.
The Florida Attorney General’s Office served warrants at the clinics in Palencia and on South Plantation Island Drive on Oct. 9, taking office computers, boxes full of documents and even containers believed to hold controlled substances.
On that day, a basic version of the search warrant was released that said the clinics were being investigated for possible charges of: Health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, Medicaid Provider fraud, grand theft, falsifying a death certificate and practicing medicine without a license.
In the detailed version obtained Friday from the St. Johns County Clerk of Courts office, the warrant includes a report detailing specific unlawful acts that McClure and Stowell are accused of. The accusations are based on interviews of mostly former employees of the clinics.
McClure said he couldn’t comment directly on any of the accusations.
Although the search warrants were served more than two months ago, McClure said it was just this week that he was able to see the affidavit from investigator Mark Linde and signed by Circuit Court Judge David Walsh of Flagler County.
“I’m disappointed in the misinformation given to investigators,” McClure said. “It’s a one-sided story and I’m eager to present my side to the Attorney General.”
According to the affidavit establishing probable cause, the investigation of the Medi M.D. clinics began on Feb. 5 when a woman named Angela Carr notified the Attorney General’s Office that she believed Medicaid fraud was being committed. She was one of several former employees cited in the report who accused the clinic of fraud.
Investigation ongoing
McClure’s attorney, Mark S. Barnett of Fallgatter & Catlin, P.A., said they were still going through the state’s findings.
“From the outset of this case, we have cooperated fully with the Attorney General’s Office and will continue to do so,” Barnett said in an email. “Naturally, an application for a search warrant is a one-sided document, that is based on hearsay, and often includes information from persons who are either lacking knowledge, or have an honest misunderstanding.
“We had no notice of their presentation, and no opportunity to respond, or set the record straight. Now that these documents have been made public, we have the opportunity clarify and correct these issues. Once the truth comes out, Mr. McClure’s good name will be cleared, and he can continue as the outstanding public servant that he is. We are committed to the truth, and confident that, once the truth is known, this investigation into Bill McClure will be closed.”
No charges have been filed. On Friday, the Attorney General’s Office press secretary, Whitney Ray, would only say that the investigation is “active and ongoing.”
Carr was a patient at one of the clinics in November 2013 and worked for the clinics from December 2013 to February 2014. She was interviewed by investigator David Schwab and claimed that Stowell and others billed Medicaid and Medicare for services that were not rendered.
“They charge for another office visit for like therapy on a Friday even though the patient came in on the one day,” Carr said, according to the document. “So they would charge an office visit for two different days on a day that they wouldn’t even be seeing patients. Then there are some office visits that were even dated on Sunday. So there was a lot of it, seemed like everybody was being double billed when it came to Medicaid and Medicare.”
Another former employee, Celeste Laster, told investigators that McClure told her to change the billing codes from the service actually performed to something with a higher reimbursement rate from Medicare.
Former employees give statements
Latonia Maier, also a former Medi M.D. employee, said in an interview with investigators that she had witnessed fraudulent billing. Even more serious, she said that she personally witnessed Stowell fill out narcotic prescriptions and issue them without a doctor’s knowledge. Stowell is a nurse practitioner.
Among the controlled substances Maier said Stowell prescribed were Adderall, Concerta, Vyvanse and Valium (Schedule II substances according to state law).
A Medi M.D. employee named Sydney Smith said she was fired after working there for a little more than a year because she questioned the company’s billing practices.
Donna Dalton, who worked for Medi M.D. for about two years, said she was directed to bill Medicaid and Medicare for dates of service not consistent with actual visits.
Among the most serious accusations were the ones made by former Medi M.D. employee Rose Ann Smith. She said that she personally saw Stowell forge a doctor’s name on prescriptions and that she was directed to bill the government for two visits for each one made.
Another interview was conducted by investigators on Sept. 4 of Cedelia Triggs, who was a Medi M.D. employee at the time.
Triggs said during the phone conversation that bottles labeled at “testosterone” were currently being stored at the clinic on South Plantation Island Drive. Linde wrote in the report that Medi M.D. is not licensed to store controlled substances at its clinics.
Another investigator, Emmanuel Ignacio with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, said in a report that Medi M.D. had been reimbursed for 21 Medicaid recipients for services provided by Stowell on dates in which she was out of the country.
Ignacio also reported that Medi M.D. had been reimbursed for 18 Medicaid recipients for services provided by Dr. Lindsay Israel-Gaines on dates in which the doctor was out of the country.
The affidavit concludes with a report from Special Agent Brett Rowland of the U.S. (sic) [Florida] Dept. of State.
Rowland determined that: “Medi M.D. Medicare claims data is (sic) consistent with information provided by cooperating witnesses, indicating that Medi M.D. is currently and has been engaged in a scheme to defraud the Medicare Fund.”
McClure has continued his duties as a commissioner during the investigation, and the clinics remain open. McClure said that when the entire process is over, it will be clear that he did nothing illegal.
“Every allegation is defensible,” he said.

Weeks-Boles Win Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award for 2014 for Arrogance, Flummery, Dupery, Nincompoopery, Dumb Luck and Stunning Chutpza

1. BOLES-WEEKS: Renewing no-bid, below-market lease without assignment approval of City commercial property 81 St. George Street while insulting the public.
2. BOLES: Running for re-election in the most graceless manner, acting as if entitled to it.
3. WEEKS: Destroying 62A Spanish Street and acting all huffy when we reported it to OSHA and called for maximum code fine.
4. BOLES: Not calling Mayor Nancy Shaver to congratulate her.
5. BOLES: Not shaking Mayor Shaver's hand on inauguration night, in the presence of Judge Robert Tinlin and Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince.
6. BOLES-WEEKS: Acting like dull pompous Republicans of all they survey in a Democratic town.
7. WEEKS: Cutting in line on inauguration night.
7. BOLES: Spreading lies about Nancy Shaver door-to-door and acting offended when caught.
8. BOLES: Spreading lies about Nancy Shaver risking non-profit foundations and churches' tax-exempt status.
9. BOLES & PROXIES: Threatening city employees.
10. BOLES-WEEKS & PROXIES: Ignoring support from Ambassador Andrew Young, Maurine Boles, Sheriff David Shoar, et al and blocking the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore for yet another year (Congress just approved seven (7) new national parks, nine (9) new national park expansions and eight (8) national park studies.

To the Titanic duo, ex-Mayors JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr. you earned it:
The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate (h/t to Rowan & Martin's classic "Laugh-in" prop)
(drum roll please):