Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Corrupt EPA Region 4 Administrator Jimmy I. Palmer Leaves Office on January 20th at Noon

Like Nero, EPA's Region 4 Administrator, JIMMY I. PALMER, fiddles. Wetlands die.

In other EPA regions, wetland violations are prosecuted. See below.

Here in Region 4, former anti-environmental lawyer PALMER builds his client roster, refusing to take action on wetland violations. PALMER was the defense lawyer for a Mississippi "developer" found to have been selling poor people homes in swamps -- homes where sewage from cesspools backed up. PALMER's client continued selling the wetland homes even after cease and desist orders, based on PALMER's putative legal advice. PALMER even testified in defense of the wetland killer while working as Regional Administrator.

The GEORGE W. BUSH Republican culture of corruption in general -- and PALMER in particular -- are two of the reasons why the ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARDS of the world thumb their noses at environmental values here in St. Augustine.

I've got news for ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD and his contemptible ilk -- on January 20th, at Noon, JIMMY I. PALMER leaves office. A GEORGE W. BUSH appointee, PALMER will go back to Mississippi and defend polluters again. The presidency of Barack Obama will restore law and order and can be expected to prosecute without fear or favor the dirty rotten polluters who

EPA Press Release: Alaska Property Owner and Contractor agree to pay $30,600 for wetlands violations

From: "U.S. EPA"
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 16:30:45 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Region 10 News Release: Alaska Property Owner and Contractor agree to pay $30,600 for wetlands violations
Alaska Property Owner and Contractor agree to pay $30,600 for wetlands violations
Contact Info: Bryan Herczeg, EPA Wetlands Program, (907) 271-5097,
Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203,
(Kotzebue, Alaska – December 30, 2008) Quality Asphalt Paving, Inc. (QAP) of Anchorage, Alaska and Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corp. (KIC) of Kotzebue has reached a combined $30,600 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The violation involved placement of fill material into wetlands adjacent to Hotham Inlet, without a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Permit. QAP has agreed to pay a $19,125 penalty and KIC has agreed to pay an $11,475 penalty.
According to EPA, in July 2006, fill material was discharged onto approximately 7 acres of wetlands during gravel mining activities. The site is located on Pipe Spit approximately 8 miles northeast of Kotzebue, Alaska. The parcel is owned by KIC who was the material supplier for a construction contract that QAP was working under for the State of Alaska. QAP conducted work prior to issuance of a Corps Permit to KIC and also conducted work beyond the area authorized in the Permit.
In August 2007 with EPA approval QAP removed the unauthorized fill material, regraded, and revegetated the site as required under the Corps’ Cease and Desist Order issued in September 2006.
According to Greg Kellogg, EPA’s Alaska Operations Deputy Director, the wetlands of Alaska provide important habitat for fish and other wildlife, which supports the economy of this State.
"Construction activities in the wetlands of Alaska should be undertaken after careful planning and obtaining the necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," said EPA’s Kellogg. "If you conduct work in jurisdictional wetlands, you must obey the law or face fines."
Both QAP and KIC have received previous permits and were aware of the CWA requirements and according to EPA records QAP has been involved in previous alleged CWA violations. This penalty action will serve as a deterrent against future violations of the CWA by QAP and KIC and other land owners and businesses.
For more information about Wetlands protection work, visit:

EPA Press Release: EPA Orders Oregon Landowner and Contractor to restore wetlands

Subject: Region 10 News Release: EPA Orders Oregon Landowner and Contractor to restore wetlands
EPA Orders Oregon Landowner and Contractor to restore wetlands
Contact Info: Michael Szerlog, EPA Wetlands Program Manager, (206) 553-0279,
Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203,

(Seattle, WASH. December 30, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Compliance Order to Mr. Kurt Carstens (landowner) and Mr. Steve Morrill (excavator operator), of Lincoln County near Siletz, Oregon, to address wetlands violations of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The violations occurred at Mr. Carstens’s 5 acre property (Site) along the Siletz River (4508 Logsden Road near Siltez, Lincoln County, OR) which includes impacts to wetlands, side channels and river banks.
EPA alleges that in September 2008, Mr. Carstens asked Mr. Morrill to remove woody material and vegetation from his property. This resulted in approximately 0.5 acres of wetlands, and other aquatic resources impacted at the Site in an area used as rearing habitat by coastal Coho salmon.
On December 3, 2008, EPA issued Mr. Carstens and Mr. Morrill a Compliance Order requiring them to cease unpermitted fill at the Site, and develop a Site Restoration Work Plan. Mr. Carstens and Mr. Morrill have 45 days from receipt of this order to submit the Plan to EPA. If Mr. Carstens and Mr. Morrill do not comply with the Order, they may be subject to civil penalties of up to $32,500 per day of violation under the CWA.
According to Anthony Barber, Oregon Operations Office Director for EPA, the Clean Water Act requires property owners and their contractors to avoid, minimize and mitigate the impacts of development on our nation’s wetlands and waters.
"Rather than illegally impacting these aquatic resources, the property owner should have gone through the permitting process with the Army Corps of Engineers," said EPA’s Barber. "That process helps ensure his compliance with the Clean Water Act’s requirements to avoid or minimize damage to wetlands and other aquatic resources. Impacts to aquatic resources extend beyond the individual landowner – they affect the entire surrounding community."
Under the Compliance Order issued, EPA has directed Mr. Carstens and Mr. Morrill to complete and implement the Site Restoration Work Plan by March 13, 2009. The Order requires Mr. Carstens and Mr. Morrill to restore the Site to its original condition to the maximum extent possible. Restoration activities must include:
• removing all of the unpermitted fill material from the wetlands and side channel; and
• replanting the area with native wetlands vegetation.
The goal of the CWA Section 404 permitting program is to ensure no-net-loss of wetlands. EPA’s wetlands program seeks to ensure an over-all net increase in wetlands nationally.
# # #
For more information about the importance of wetlands in flood control and habitat conservation, go to:
Subscribe to automatically receive Region 10 News Releases via email at:

Reply to City of St. Augustine

Dear John:
When were the DMRs in quo mailed by the City? Were they late? Would you please fax each of the return receipts and associated documents to me at 819-5817 and 471-9918?
Thank you.
With kindest regards,
829-3877 (o)

City of St. Augustine Says It Filed Its Quarterly Report on Waste Water Treatment Plant With EPA

Dear Mr. Slavin,

Your email corespondence dated 12/30/08 at 4:39 p.m. has been referred to our
office for response. City staff have investigated the entry on the EPA ECHO
Three Year Compliance Status by Quarter Report for the City's water and waste
water treatment plant showing a failure to file the DMR report for quarter 12 of
the three year compliance period.

The investigation reveals that the City submitted the DMR's in question and
possesses certified mail receipts signed by the agency showing receipt of the
reports. In addition, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's
Compliance representative, Karen Girard, concurs that the DMR's are on file and
could offer no explanation why the ECHO website indicates a reporting violation.
Ms. Girard further indicated that she will investigate the apparent error and
have the website corrected by next month.

In summary, any error appears to lie with the EPA website and not with the City
of St. Augustine.

Thank you for your attention to this response.

>>> 12/31/08 09:25AM >>>

Dear John and Martha:
Why were no reports filed by the City of St. Augustine for its Waste Water
Treatment Plant during the July-September quarter?
With kindest regards,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 4:33 pm
Subject: EPA ECHO website reveals "Significant Non-Compliance" Involving St.
Augustine WWTP -- National Response Center Report No. 893673

Dear John and Martha:
Please see attached PDF.-á Comments, please?
Thank you.
With kindest regards,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Dwight Hines
To:; Ed Slavin
Sent: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 12:22 pm
Subject: pdf of npdes evals St Aug 12-30-8


scroll down to three year compliance status by quarter-á
then look at far right end of table, under quarter 12, july september 08-á

"Lifelong Republican" Phillip Mays Questionaire Shows He's Lived In County SInce 2005, Claims He Never Lobbied the Government (Despite PUD Approval)

When a rich guy gets appointed to a temporary County Commission seat, we're all supposed to bow down and kiss his keister, I reckon. That's the attitude demonstrated by the St. Augustine Wreckord editorial (below) and the Republican vulgarians at

Interesting how none of them has used the "C" word to describe Mays, whose Questionaire for Gubernatorial Appointments says he moved to Ponte Vedra in 2005.

Calling Ken Bryan a "carpetbagger," calling Judith Seraphin a "carpetbagger," Republican rodomontade was ceaseless.

For the record, both Judith Seraphin and Ken Bryan have lived here longer than Mays.

But when Republican lickspittles prevaricate, they never let facts get in their way.

It is notable that the letter-writers who urged Governor Crist to appoint Mays agree upon at least one thing -- Mays is a "lifelong Republican." What a trite trope. How revealing of the pushy Republican people that used it to describe Mays.

Now, how can that be? Did Mays at birth proclaim his Repubicanism? How was Mays condemned to a life of Republicanism at birth, before his first words? Did he have 666 on his forehead? Did his parents proclaim, "hotsy totsy, another Nazi?"

So KAREN STERN, WASTE MANAGEMENT, former Sheriff NEIL PERRY and current Sheriff DAVID SHOAR got their way, as did the St. Johns County Republican Committee, whose letter said that Mays was the only person who met all their "criteria."

Inquiring minds want to know -- exactly what are those "criteria" and what critters devised them?

Mays did not provide a resume or curriculum vita -- just handwritten answers on a cursory Governor's office questionnaire, in which the 41-year-old millionaire brags of his "Extensive Business (sic), legal & civic background and experience including significant work relating to finance and strategic planning." Well that's clear as mud.

Mays' questionnaire answers were sworn under penalty of perjury.

While claiming to have never lobbied the government, Mays admittedly obtained zoning favors (a Planned Unit Development) approved by St. Johns County Commissioners.

Mays claims to be a "Board Member" of the Ponte Vedra Coalition and the St. Johns Civic Roundtable.

Former County Commissioner Ben Rich told it like it was -- he called St. Johns County's corrupt developers "worse than any carpetbagger." Tree-killing, wetland-destroying "developers" now have one of their own on our St. Johns County Commission.

This should be an exciting time. Mays met privately with at least one St. Johns County Commissioner on his first day on the job, a Sunshine violation. Not one word in the Wreckord on that, eh?

Shriekingly shallow coverage of Mays' appointment by the St. Augustine Record -- and an editorial mash note adding to the 17 on file in the Governor's office -- lead to the question of the Record's biases. Too often, the Record has mocked people for having only moved here recently. When endorsing a Port and Waterway Commission candidate several years ago, The Wrecord noted his opponent had lived here only eight years and the Wreckord wasn't sure if he would stay!

But if your name is Phillip Mays and you're a friend of the Governor (who stays at your house in Ponte Vedra), the Wreckord gives you no scrutiny and a free pass. Pity the people who buy the Wreckord expecting news -- there's hardly any these days because there are so many issues that Republicans don't want covered (but want covered up). The St. Augustine Wreckord may be the only newspaper in America without a front page banner headline upon Barack Obama's historic election. How embarassing to those of us living in St. Augustine and St. Johns County -- the story was buried inside -- how hopelessly provincial the Wreckord is becoming (again), after making strides in 2005-2007.

Expect more indictments. Or in the immortal words of Bette Davis, "fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

Interim county commissioner is welcome addition

Interim county commissioner is welcome addition


Publication Date: 12/26/08

Gov. Charlie Crist's appointment of Phil Mays as interim District 4 St. Johns County Commissioner brings the commission back to its full complement of five members.

It closes the gap in the commission left when Crist suspended County Commissioner Tom Manuel, also the commission's chair, on Oct. 17 after his indictment on bribery charges. That left only four commissioners. If they had deadlocked 2-2, even good legislation would have automatically failed without the fifth vote.

Crist says Mays will serve for the duration of the suspension. Manuel's trial is due to start in April. If the charges are dropped or Manuel is acquitted after a trial, Crist would have to reinstate Manuel. His term ends in 2010.

As owner of Mays Equities, Inc., Mays has expertise in real estate investments. He knows the ropes when it comes to dealing with local governments from the other side of the dais. He also knows the needs of broad regions of St. Johns County: his home territory, upscale Ponte Vedra Beach, and West Augustine, a community in transition. He is a member of the Ponte Vedra Beach Coalition and the West Augustine Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Advisory Board.

He holds two degrees from the University of Florida, a bachelor of arts in political science and a law degree. He is a member of the Florida Bar and the Georgia Bar.

He can draw on his experiences and expertise as he deliberates as a county commissioner.

Mays, in a statement released by the county administrative office, said, "I am committed to working with the families of our county to assure a bright future for all. As a member of the business community, I am determined to see a strong surge in economic opportunities for our workforce. St. Johns County has a rich and distinguished history. I have a respect for its past, and I pledge to all citizens I will work to assure its future."

We welcome his pledge to help the county meet the need for more job opportunities for our citizens. A major priority of our county government should be job growth.

We look forward to Mays taking the oath of office and joining the County Commission on Jan. 6.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record

Crist chooses Mays

Crist chooses Mays

Investment firm owner to replace Manuel in Commission

Publication Date: 12/24/08

Ponte Vedra Beach resident Phillip J. Mays said Tuesday that he plans to bring a "very businesslike financial approach" to the St. Johns County Commission's District 4 seat.

In a short announcement Tuesday morning, Gov. Charlie Crist said he had appointed Mays to fill the District 4 County Commission seat once occupied by Commissioner Tom Manuel, who was suspended Oct. 17.

Crist's announcement said Mays "will serve during (Manuel's) suspension."

Mays, 41, is owner of Mays Equity Inc., of Jacksonville Beach, an investment management and recreational facilities firm.

Late Tuesday, Mays was returning phone calls to well-wishers and said that he and his wife, Stacey, their twin 7-year-old boys and their 7-month-old baby planned to leave town to spend the holidays with family in Clearwater.

"The next year or two will be a very challenging time for the county," he said. "With my business and legal skills, I can make a real difference in a positive way."

This requires careful budgeting, reduced spending and increasing the tax base by balancing the county's commercial-residential mix, he said.

"I feel proud to represent (District 4) and our neighborhoods on the Commission," Mays said in a prepared statement issued Tuesday afternoon. "I will continue to exemplify the same devotion I have shown to civic and community involvement in my new public service role."

Commission Chairwoman Cyndi Stevenson said she's met Mays and said he's appeared before the board on business.

"He's been on the other side," she said. "It'll be good to have five people on the commission again."

Stevenson said the completed commission can now determine its priorities, update county codes and review its budget.

"We must be realistic about what we'll be able to do with our resources. We're going to do the best we can to protect services," she said. "We're all very interested in the long-term prosperity of St. Johns County."

Mays graduated from the University of Florida in 1988 with a political science and history degree, then entered UF's College of Law and graduated in 1991.

Since his admission to the Florida Bar in 1992, he's worked almost exclusively as an investment management attorney for various firms before starting his own company.

In Mays' application for the position, he said his qualifications included "extensive business, legal and civic background and experience including significant work related to finance and strategic planning."

Greg White, chairman of the West Augustine Community Redevelopment Area's Steering Committee, said Mays gave much more to West Augustine than his resume shows. He did pro bono work for the CRA, negotiating with the county and non-profit organizations to get the West Augustine Community Center -- now about 80 percent complete -- and its swimming pool up and running.

"He did a fantastic job for us," White said. "He's never missed a CRA meeting and helped us to get infrastructure. I'm not talking about curbs or signs, I'm talking water and sewer.

"What he did helped all the people of West Augustine. We certainly need a lot more."

Mays said he had a desire to help people in need, and somehow his name came up at the CRA.

On Tuesday, he popped into the County Administration Building, saw his office for the first time and picked up a packet of papers to fill out, county officials said.

"I'd like to work on strategies for managing services more cheaply," he said. "The next two years will be a major challenging time for St. Johns County."

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record

Crist to replace Manuel

Crist to replace Manuel

Replacement to be named this week

Publication Date: 12/22/08

A replacement for suspended St. Johns County Commissioner Tom Manuel will be appointed this week, St. Johns County officials said Sunday.

Manuel's trial on two bribery charges had been scheduled for January, but U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard allowed Manuel's Jacksonville lawyers until April to permit the defense time to examine 42 recorded conversations and transcripts that are in evidence.

Crist had intended to wait for Manuel's trial to be over, but changed his mind when the judge granted the delay, according to a county official.

His office did not return phone calls asking for comment.

Manuel, 63, was suspended Oct. 17 after an 18-month investigation by the FBI. He could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Preliminary court testimony indicated that Manuel's recorded conversations were with Atlantic Beach developer Bruce Robbins and his attorney, George McClure of St. Augustine, who were acting as government informants.

Manuel allegedly took $50,000 and then another $10,000 from Robbins and McClure.

Robbins -- and the company he works for, The Falcon Group -- had in 2005 applied to build 5,000-home Twin Creeks project on 3,000 acres in St. Johns County, with part of that project spilling over into Duval County. Manuel was not on the County Commission in 2005.

To gain development approval by the County Commission, Falcon promised improvements at the congested C.R. 210 and I-95 intersection, but those were not made because the project began foundering in 2006. Manuel joined the County Commission in November 2006.

In April 2007, Manuel and fellow commissioners voted 5-0 to purchase documents, permits, plans and engineering studies for $2.15 million that had already been completed by Falcon over the course of a year. Adding in property the county wanted, and the cost rose to $3.5 million, county engineers have said.

The FBI is apparently trying to tie the money Manuel received to that vote.

Manuel has denied any wrongdoing and said he intends to clear his name.

His District 4 seat has remained vacant since his suspension, leaving the County Commission with a possibility of seeing a 2-2 vote on issues, meaning any motion on that issue is denied.

That has not yet happened, but Commission Chairwoman Cyndi Stevenson has asked Crist's office to take action sooner rather than later on an appointment to prevent that situation.

Stevenson did not return phone calls Sunday requesting comment.

Green, Mays leading contenders

So far, 12 St. Johns County residents have submitted their names to replace Tom Manuel on the St. Johns County Commission.

One has not been made public, but the others include former St. Johns County commissioners Karen Stern and Bruce Maguire, civil engineer Cheryl Robitzsch, Planning & Zoning Agency chair Henry Green. attorneys Anna Shea and Richard Lewis, retirees Terry Flesher and Harlon Westover, businessmen Phillip Mays and David Mariotti, and former journalist Mark Middlebrook.

Robitzsch is a former PZA member and ran unsuccessfully for the District 1 commission seat against Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson.

Maguire and Stern served from 2002 to 2006, when they were beaten by challengers Tom Manuel and Ron Sanchez respectively.

None of the others has run for public office.

Green, president of Bank of St. Augustine, is a former St. Augustine commissioner and has had a personal relationship with Charlie Crist since college. Local odds makers say he and Phillip Mays of Ponte Vedra Beach, a strong supporter of Crist over the years, are the two leading contenders for the vacant District 4 appointment.

The district is mostly in Ponte Vedra Beach. Green lives in St. Augustine and Mays lives in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Judith Seraphin to Run for City Commission Again in 2010

Where are they now?

Publication Date: 12/29/08

* Who: Judith Seraphin, 66, of St. Augustine.

* In the news: Seraphin took center stage during a conflict with the city over illegally dumped landfill material. The city took dirt from an old landfill site on Riberia Street, near the Seraphins' home, and dumped it into a water-filled borrow pit on Holmes Boulevard. The state Department of Environmental Protection fined the city. Seraphin also ran unsuccessfully for a St. Augustine City Commission seat in the last election.

* Where is she now: Seraphin said she will continue to be a "watchdog" for City Hall and is scrutinizing some city projects that she is "not yet ready to talk about." She has also helped the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association, where she lives, and its Crime Watch combine to create even more oversight in her area. And she plans to run again for the City Commission in 2010.

"My main thing is caring about Lincolnville and about our city to make it better," she said. "I always try to see what's right (with the city), but I want to point out what's wrong to improve it."

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record

Monday, December 29, 2008


According to the EPA ECHO website, our City of St. Augustine, Florida is again out of compliance with environmental laws. The website shows that for the July to September 2008, our City was guilty of a significant noncompliance involving failure to report required data to the EPA during July-September 2008. The information is in red, bold, large print denoting "Significant Non-compliance (SNC) effluent violations."

The National Response Center has assumed jurisdiction of complaint number 893673, which was filed earlier this afternoon.

Why was this nonreporting not the object of any consent order language in the WWTP consent order rubber-stamped by our ineffectual Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP or "DON'T EXPECT PROTECTION" as my friend David Thundershield Queen calls it)? Perhaps all federal funds should be cutoff from FDEP and the City of St. Augustine for violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Calling the National Response Center results in public records being created, which makes it difficult to claim "plausible deniability." Call 800-424-8802 24/7

Our racist, incompetent City government is busy, busy, busy, polluting and covering up. Even after being fined (twice) by the State of FLorida for illegal dumping of 40,000 cubic yards of solid waste into the Old City Reservoir and illegally dumping treated sewage effluent into our saltwater marsh, our City of St. Augustine has done it again.

As you read these words, so do others throughout our City, State, Nation and Planet. The whole world is watching Environmental Racism in St. Augustine, FLorida.
Perhaps under a new President and new Attorney General, the FBI and U.S. Attorney will investigate environmental pollution and institutinoal racism in St. Augustine.

As Yogi Berra would say, this is "deja vu, all over again." Call 800-424-8802 24/7 whenever you see pollution or environmental violations.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Governor Crist Responds to Open Records Request: 17 Mash Notes In Support of PHILLIP MAYS' Nomination KAREN STERN, MARK MINER, SHERIFF SHOAR,...

Thanks to Governor Charles Crist, who swiftly responded to my Open Records Request (no charge):

There were at least 17 "mash notes" In support of 41-year old Atlanta developer PHILLIP MAYS' nomination to be County Commissioner: Ex-Commissioner KAREN STERN; her pet goober, current Commissioner MARK MINER; SHERIFF DAVID SHOAR; the PGA TOUR; the BOSELLI FOUNDATION; SIGNATURE (unsuccessful applicant to run County ampitheatre as government contractor), WASTE MANAGEMENT (globe-girdling waste firm founded as merger of mafia-controlled cartage companies as reported by the NY Times); JACKSONVILLE CITY COUNCILMAN ART GRAHAM; ST. JOHNS COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY; NATIONAL SAFETY COMMISSION; DRUMMOND PRESS; CHERYL DAVIS KNAPP; AMERICAN LEGION POST 194; LEWIS, LONGMAN AND WALKER lawyer WAYNE FLOWERS, GREG WHITE, Republican pollster/trickster/committeman JON G. WOODARD (and last but not least when you're dealing with the corrupt Republican political machine in St. Johns County), our incorrigible EX-SHERIFF NEIL PERRY of ST. JOHNS COUNTY. (Drum roll, please).

The Confederates (and their confederate) have just been empowered by Governor CHARLES CRIST.

Sorry, CHARLIE, but you're definitely not the People's Governor any longer.


Earlier today, at least one St. Johns County (Florida) Coybtt Commissioner reportedly met with PHILLIP MAYS, named earlier in the day by Governor CHARLES CRIST to fill temporarily the seat of indicted County Commission CHAIRMAN THOMAS GLAIZE MANUEL.

Is this is a violation of the Sunshine Law?

Florida's rigorous Sunshine Law takes effect immediately upon one being elected/appointed, and not swearing in.

With the Republican political machine in disarray, they keep doing things the same old way that got their pal THOMAS GLAIZE MANUEL indicted.

Crooked St. Johns County elected Republicans, you have the right to remain silent, but we wish you wouldn't.

The people of St. Johns County are fed up with your shennanigans and Good Ole Boy gooberishness -- our righteous wrath will help you be defeated in 2010 and 2012.

PHILLIP MAYS could not go through the first day as a Commissioner without meeting another Commissioner.


Shame on the partisan Republican Governor who would perpetuate the mediocrity of one-party misrule of St. Johns County, Florida.



FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2008 (202) 514-2007 TDD (202) 514-1888


WASHINGTON – A federal jury in Washington convicted David H. Safavian, the former chief of staff for the General Services Administration (GSA), of obstructing a GSA internal investigation and making false statements, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced today.

The jury convicted Safavian of four charges in an October 2008 superseding indictment, following a six-day trial and three days of jury deliberation. The jury found that from 2002 until 2005, Safavian made false statements and obstructed an investigation into his relationship with former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The investigation focused on whether Safavian, the chief of staff at the GSA from May 2002 until January 2004, aided Abramoff in his attempts to acquire GSA-controlled property in and around Washington.

The jury heard evidence at trial that Abramoff took Safavian and others on a golf trip to Scotland and to London in August 2002, and that Safavian made a false statement to a GSA ethics officer claiming that Abramoff did all of his work on Capitol Hill at the time Safavian was assisting Abramoff in acquiring GSA properties, and planning to travel with the lobbyist to Scotland and London. Safavian repeated similar statements to a GSA Office of Inspector General (GSA-OIG) special agent, again concealing the fact that Abramoff had business before the GSA prior to the August 2002 trip and that he was aiding Abramoff in his attempts to do business with the GSA. The jury also found that Safavian made false statements to an FBI agent investigating the lobbying activities of Abramoff, when he said he was not able to assist Abramoff in acquiring properties because he was too new at GSA. Finally, the jury also found that Safavian filed a false statement on his 2002 financial disclosure form without including information about the August 2002 trip.

The jury found Safavian not guilty of making false statements to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs by claiming to the committee during its investigation that Abramoff had no business before GSA at the time of the Scotland trip.

Safavian faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on each of the four counts, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. A sentencing date has not yet been set by the court.

Safavian was initially indicted in October 2005 on charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements related to his association with Abramoff. A federal jury found him guilty of four charges in June 2006 but the verdicts on two counts, concealment of material facts to a GSA ethics officer and to GSA-OIG, were later reversed on appeal. Also on appeal, the court vacated and remanded for a new trial the convictions on charges related to the obstruction of the GSA-OIG investigation and making false statements to a GSA ethics officers and a Senate Committee.

Abramoff pleaded guilty in January 2006 to charges of conspiracy, aiding and abetting honest services mail fraud and tax evasion, and was sentenced in September 2008 to four years in prison.

To date, 17 individuals, including lobbyists and public officials, have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial as a result of the ongoing investigation into the activities of Abramoff and his associates.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Nathaniel B. Edmonds and Albert Stieglitz Jr. of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Justin Shur of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case and the ongoing investigation are being led by the FBI, with assistance in this case from GSA-OIG.

Crist Was For Diversity Before He Was Against It

Governor Crist was for diversity before he was against it. As a state legislator and constitutional officer, he was for diversity, even rejecting non-diverse judicial nominees recently as Governor.

Yet he can only name Republicans from St. Johns County, from wicked evil KAREN STERN (to the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council) to PHIL PAYS (to the St. Johns County Commission).

Orlando Sentinel: Gov. Crist, lawyers argue over diversity of 6 judicial nominees,0,453310.story
Sentinel exclusive
Gov. Crist, lawyers argue over diversity of 6 judicial nominees
Aaron Deslatte

Tallahassee Bureau

December 5, 2008


Gov. Charlie Crist this week rejected six nominees submitted to him for an open seat on the 5th District Court of Appeal, saying the list wasn't sufficiently diverse because it contained no black nominees.

But instead of giving him a new list, a nominating commission of Central Florida lawyers took the unorthodox step of telling the governor to, in effect, pound sand.

Melbourne lawyer James Fallace, chairman of the commission, wrote to Crist on Thursday that after more "deliberation," it would resend the same names.

"It is the firm opinion and belief of our Commission that the above-named list of nominees certified to you on Nov. 6, 2008 . . . consists of the most qualified applications for nomination and your consideration for the current vacancy," Fallace wrote.

Crist has taken some heat over the diversity of his judicial appointments since he named two white men to vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court, including one created by the resignation of a Hispanic judge.

Monday, the governor sent back the six nominees to the Judicial Nominating Commission for Central Florida's 5th District. He complained that the list submitted for an opening on the Daytona Beach-based court of appeals excluded "at least three well-qualified" black candidates who were among the 26 that applied.

Crist singled out two of the applicants, Orange-Osceola Chief Circuit Judge Belvin Perry Jr. and Circuit Judge Hubert Grimes of Volusia County, as qualified for the seat.

"I requested that you give due consideration to diversity in the nominating process," the governor wrote.

The opening was created by the upcoming Jan. 5 resignation of Robert Pleus Jr. of Orlando.

Florida's Constitution dilutes the governor's power over judicial appointments. The governor appoints members of judicial nominating commissions, who in turn recommend up to six candidates for a vacant appellate or Supreme Court seat. The governor then must choose one of those nominees.

Several judicial watchers said Thursday that the showdown was highly unusual.

Crist's office would not comment on whether he would reject the list again or appoint one of the six nominees: four men and two women. Fallace also would not comment.

At least one organization that supports black lawyers, the Virgil Hawkins Florida chapter of the National Bar Association, applauded the governor's move.

Apopka lawyer Rachelle Munson, the group's president, said the chapter "strongly feels that the courts should reflect the diversity of this state. To that end, any ideology or belief that goes contrary to that is a disservice to this state and the community," she said.

"Absolutely there are qualified African-Americans that are worthy of consideration."

But one appellate lawyer applauded the panel's decision to stick by its guns.

Shannon Carlyle of The Villages wrote a letter of recommendation for one of the six nominees, Ocala defense lawyer Angela Flowers, and said Crist's move "undermines the entire judicial selection process."

She also pointed out that only one of the 5th District's 10 judges is a woman and that Crist's action potentially kept a qualified woman from joining the appeals court. The court also has one black judge.

"His demand is an accusation that the [commission] engaged in a discriminatory practice against minority candidates, and is wholly unwarranted," said Carlyle, a registered Democrat who said she was a Barack Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

"I would have no qualms if the six recommended were all black, Hispanic, white, men, women, purple, yellow, ugly or supermodels," she said, "as long as they were the most qualified."

Aaron Deslatte can be reached at or 850-222-5564.

Copyright © 2008, Orlando Sentinel


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December 23, 2008


(850) 488-5394

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today announced the appointment of Phil Mays to serve on the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners. Mays will fill the vacancy created by the suspension of Thomas Manuel and will serve during his suspension.

Phillip J. Mays, 41, of Ponte Vedra Beach, is the owner and operator of Mays Equities Inc. Mr. Mays holds a law degree from the University of Florida College of Law and has been a member of the Florida Bar and Georgia Bar since 1992. He also serves on the Ponte Vedra Coalition and on the West Augustine Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Advisory Board.


By Deirdre Conner

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Phillip J. Mays today to temporarily replace Tom Manuel on the St. Johns County Commission. Manuel is currently suspended from office. He is fighting federal charges of bribery.

Mays, 41, of Ponte Vedra Beach, is the owner and operator of Mays Equities Inc., according to a news release from the governor's office, and holds a law degree from the University of Florida. He also serves on the Ponte Vedra Coalition and on the West Augustine Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Advisory Board, the release said.

Check back with for more details or read Wednesday's editions of The Florida Times-Union.

Republican Governor Appoints Republican Developer To St. Johns County Commission

IN the immortal words of JIM GARRISON, Orleans Parish District Attorney and later Louisiana Appeals Court judge (hero of Kevin Costner's movie, JFK), "what do you expect from a pig but a grunt?"

Florida Times Union: Manuel's job popular -- 10 now want it

Last modified 12/1/2008 - 10:12 pm
Originally created 120308

Manuel's job grows popular: 10 now want it



Even though Gov. Charlie Crist said he has no plans to appoint an interim replacement for suspended St. Johns County Commissioner Tom Manuel, more people are filing applications for the seat.

Ten people have submitted applications to the Governor's Office to fill in for Manuel, of Ponte Vedra Beach, and the county's Republican Party has interviewed three of them.

Becky Reichenberg, the state committeewoman for the Republican Party, said three of the 10 applicants contacted her to set up interviews. She said party officials interviewed the three, but haven't been contacted by any others. She said she contacted the Governor's Office to pass on their opinions about the interviewed candidates. The three who have been interviewed are Cheryl Robitzsch, a civil engineer who lives in the Palencia area; Phillip Mays, a Marsh Landing resident and owner and operator of a recreation facilities company; and Henry Green, president of a gift importing wholesaler who lives in St. Augustine.

"They're all qualified. I enjoyed interviewing them," Reichenberg said. She wouldn't comment on any of the individual candidates.

Manuel was recently indicted on two counts of bribery by a grand jury. He's set to go to trial next month.

Crist has suspended Manuel from office but has no plans to appoint an interim commissioner. That, however, hasn't stopped county residents from applying for the position and requesting interviews with party officials.

Other applicants who live in district 4 include lawyer Anna Shea; David Mariotti, general manager of the Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach; Mark Middlebrook, a former journalist who in recent years has been involved in conservation issues; and Bruce Maguire, whom Manuel replaced on the County Commission in 2006.

Applicants who live in other parts of the county are retiree Terry Flesher of St. Johns; Harlan Westover of Nocatee, a retired fire department battalion chief, and St. Augustine lawyer Richard Lewis.

Christina Abel can also be reached at (904) 249-4947, ext. 6319.

County Commissioner Appointee Phil Mays Has A Private Website That Requires a Pasword

Phillip J Mays Inc
3340 Peachtree Road NE,
Atlanta, GA 30326
Phone: (404) 812-7110

Phil Mays Often Asked for Local Government Favors Before Being Named to County Commission


KERRY McCARTHY, pay-for-play WFOY-AM Radio host and lobbyist for developers

See below. Just the kind of guy you want voting on whether bribepayers get zoning variances. He's backed by the ISSUES GROUP, SYDNEY PERRY (wife of ex-Sheriff NEIL PERRY), KERRY McCARTHY and KAREN STERN -- the same gang of robotic, Earth-destroying clones (and clods) who have done so much to destroy nature and wildlife in St. Johns County, Florida -- the proverbial "Gang That COuldn't Shoot Straight."

Beachfront home called a safety hazard

Beachfront home called a safety hazard

Staff Writer
Publication Date: 10/07/04

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH -- Police are keeping careful watch on a beachfront home that began to crumble Friday night under the weight of dozens of stacks of shingles placed on the roof before renovations.

The condemned home at 1 Second Lane is a danger to people who may try to get near for a closer look, said St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Richard Hedges.

"It's a safety hazard, to say the least," Hedges said. "We have extra patrols to make sure there are no children that are curious that go by. If it does collapse, it could injure someone."

Trespassers will be arrested, said St. Augustine Beach Police Officer Sarah Smith during a patrol Wednesday. She said officers patrol the home on each shift, circling around and looking through windows to make sure nobody is inside. But that's as far as she'll go.

"I'm not going in it," Smith said. "I don't want the roof to fall in on me."

When the weight of the shingles caved the roof about 11 p.m. Friday, the walls of the home pushed inward and outward. Building officials went to the home Monday morning and condemned it immediately, saying the home could collapse at any time, according to Gary Larson, director of the Building and Zoning Department at St. Augustine Beach. He said a home has to have more than 50 percent structural damage to be condemned.

"The house is collapsing into the inside," Larson said. "Structurally, it can't be saved."

Outside the home are warnings posted: "No Trespassing," and "Danger. This building is deemed unsafe for human occupancy."

Larson said if you own a home built prior to 1970 and want to remodel, contact your city or county building department to get a recommendation on the integrity of the structure.

Phil Mays bought the home in 2001 and said it was in excellent condition. He said it survived the tropical storms in August and September, with only a few shingles lost. The home was restored about five years ago to maintain its old Florida character. He said the home had all pine floors, bead boarding on the walls and ceilings and new bathrooms, a Jacuzzi and steam room.
"That's why I bought the house," he said.
Though the tropical storms didn't cause so much as a leak in the roof, he said it was time to renovate it.

He said it was ironic that it appears to be the hands of man, rather than Mother Nature, that destroyed his home this hurricane season.

Now he is awaiting bulldozers to begin demolishing the home so he can get inside to see what he can salvage. He said with the unstable walls on all sides, even he is not allowed in the home.

He said he is still waiting for an insurance adjuster to check into the losses before he begins talks with the contractor.

"We need to get the insurance adjuster out there, that's the first thing," he said. "Until I talk to them, I don't know where I'm going to go next."

He did not know the value of the home, but said it was priceless to him with its old Florida-style renovations.

The roof contractor could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record

Traffic plan envisions changes to Holmes

Traffic plan envisions changes to Holmes

Improvements designed to mitigate impact of traffic from proposed developments

Publication Date: 08/07/06

The developers of two projects in West Augustine -- attempting to mitigate the traffic impact of their combined 1,083 homes -- have offered the county a $1 million plan to improve Holmes Boulevard from State Road 207 to Four Mile Road.

This plan must be accepted if the two developments are to go through.

Public hearings on the traffic proposal, and on the two housing projects themselves, are scheduled at Tuesday's regular meeting of the St. Johns County Commission.

According to commission agenda documents, the two projects are:

232-acre St. Augustine Lakes, planned west of Holmes Boulevard, south of Thompson Bailey Road and northeast of Carter Road on vacant agricultural timberland.

The applicant, Phil Mays of Mays Real Estate Investment Group of Atlanta, hopes to build 380 single-family units and 420 multi-family town homes there. The School Board estimates a total of 393 school-aged children will be generated by this project.

However, the county's Planning & Zoning Agency on April 6 recommended denial of this project in a 4-2 vote.

The Planning Division said it has "serious concerns" that 800 homes would all have to use one access road.

280-acre Morgan's Cove, planned north of County Road 214 east of Interstate 95. Fourteen of the 283 single-family homes will be equestrian lots and have barns and stables.

The site contains 117 acres of wetlands and will generate 125 school-age children.

The county's Planning & Zoning Agency recommended approval of the rezoning July 20 in a 5-1 vote.

Bill Hartmann, the county's transportation planning manager, told the commissioners in a July 25 memo that the proposal "will serve as the developers' commitment to build the transportation facilities necessary to serve the impacts of (those developments)."

The $1 million would pay for adding a southbound left turn lane and a southbound right turn lane at Holmes Boulevard and County Road 214.

In addition, improvements would include a southbound left turn lane at the King Street Extension at Holmes Boulevard.

The county's Concurrency Review Committee voted 3-0 to support this agreement.

However, the committee also found that there isn't enough existing road capacity for either project right now.

St. Augustine Lakes only has enough traffic capacity for 192 of its proposed 800 homes.

Morgan's Cove has capacity for only 20.

But there's more at stake than a delay. A county staff report said, "If the (concurrency) agreement is denied, the proposed rezonings for both (residential) projects cannot be approved."

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record

County OKs two projects

County OKs two projects

Publication Date: 08/09/06

St. Johns County Commissioners in a 4-1 vote Tuesday approved two housing developments that will net them only minor improvements to Holmes Boulevard and expanded water and sewer lines for West Augustine.

St. Augustine Lakes, 232 acres west of Holmes Boulevard and south of Thompson Bailey Road, was given approval for 162 homes because that's all the traffic Holmes Boulevard can carry.

With more road capacity, developer Phil Mays would probably have secured the 800 homes -- 230 single-family and 570 multi-family -- he intends to build eventually.

Richard Davis, a long-time county resident who owns commercial property off Holmes, said traffic there is bumper-to-bumper now.

"That road is booked solid," Davis said. "It cannot take any more (traffic), because it can't handle it. (The developer) needs to do more."

The other development, Morgan's Cove, 280 acres east of Interstate 95 and north of State Road 214, got approval for 177 of its 283 homes.

The agreement with the county covers both developments. They must now build a southbound left-turn lane and southbound right turn lane at Holmes Boulevard and County Road 214 and a southbound left turn lane at the King Street Extension and Holmes Boulevard.

The developers did not say how turn lanes will increase the capacity of Holmes Boulevard.

These road projects will cost an estimated total of $1.28 million, county documents said. But the developers will be getting a $985,000 tax credit that will offset the $1.25 million in impact fees they must pay.

Commissioner Ben Rich, who cast dissenting votes on the transportation agreement and the two projects, said, "So, basically, the roads will not cost the developer anything."

St. Augustine attorney Doug Burnett of Rogers Towers, represents Mays and said he also plans to install $4 million in "site-related" improvements, such as internal roads, drainage and infrastructure.

The St. Johns County Planning & Zoning Agency had denied giving its recommendation to St. Augustine Lakes in April. The Planning Agency had said the project was not consistent with the neighborhood, could create adverse environmental impacts and had no traffic capacity.

However, county planning staff on Tuesday recommended approval.

Burnett said St. Augustine Lakes would have only a "small impact" and "greatly enhance" the area. The ball fields and a fishing pond will be open to everyone, he said.

The commission especially liked the 16-inch water and sewer mains coming to West Augustine.

Commission Chairman James Bryant said the two large mains will "greatly enhance the health, safety and development of West Augustine. Sometimes it's give and take on these issues."

Commissioner Bruce Maguire said the rezoning complies with county development guidelines.

"We are following state law with respect to property rights and the Comprehensive Plan," he said.

TEXT:St. Johns County Commissioners in a 4-1 vote Tuesday approved two housing developments that will net them only minor improvements to Holmes Boulevard and expanded water and sewer lines for West Augustine.

St. Augustine Lakes, 232 acres west of Holmes Boulevard and south of Thompson Bailey Road, was given approval for 162 homes because that's all the traffic Holmes Boulevard can carry.

With more road capacity, developer Phil Mays would probably have secured the 800 homes -- 230 single-family and 570 multi-family -- he intends to build eventually.

Richard Davis, a long-time county resident who owns commercial property off Holmes, said traffic there is bumper-to-bumper now.

"That road is booked solid," Davis said. "It cannot take any more (traffic), because it can't handle it. (The developer) needs to do more."

The other development, Morgan's Cove, 280 acres east of Interstate 95 and north of State Road 214, got approval for 177 of its 283 homes.

The agreement with the county covers both developments. They must now build a southbound left-turn lane and southbound right turn lane at Holmes Boulevard and County Road 214 and a southbound left turn lane at the King Street Extension and Holmes Boulevard.

The developers did not say how turn lanes will increase the capacity of Holmes Boulevard.

These road projects will cost an estimated total of $1.28 million, county documents said. But the developers will be getting a $985,000 tax credit that will offset the $1.25 million in impact fees they must pay.

Commissioner Ben Rich, who cast dissenting votes on the transportation agreement and the two projects, said, "So, basically, the roads will not cost the developer anything."

St. Augustine attorney Doug Burnett of Rogers Towers , represents Mays and said he also plans to install $4 million in "site-related" improvements, such as internal roads, drainage and infrastructure.

The St. Johns County Planning & Zoning Agency had denied giving its recommendation to St. Augustine Lakes in April. The Planning Agency had said the project was not consistent with the neighborhood, could create adverse environmental impacts and had no traffic capacity.

However, county planning staff on Tuesday recommended approval.

Burnett said St. Augustine Lakes would have only a "small impact" and "greatly enhance" the area. The ball fields and a fishing pond will be open to everyone, he said.

The commission especially liked the 16-inch water and sewer mains coming to West Augustine.

Commission Chairman James Bryant said the two large mains will "greatly enhance the health, safety and development of West Augustine. Sometimes it's give and take on these issues."

Commissioner Bruce Maguire said the rezoning complies with county development guidelines.

"We are following state law with respect to property rights and the Comprehensive Plan," he said.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record


So much for diversity. We've got five County Commisisoners who are known Republicans, who dance and drink in public with other known Republicans. Ditto, five constitutional officers, all Republians.

So did our Governor, CHARLES CRIST, decide to name to our County Commission to counteract the inbreeding of this Ku Kluxed Klan county government, whose Republican COunty Commission Chairman is under indictment for bribery from a developer and his lawyer?

1.A community activist?

2. A homemaker?

3. A Democrat?

4. An independent?

5. An environmentalist and Green Party member?

6. An intellectual?

7. A professor?

8. A farmer?

9. A fisherman?

10. None of the above?

The answer is 10, none of the above.

Named by our phony-baloney "People's Governor," CHARLES CRIST, is the fox-in-charge-of-the-henhouse.

Our new County COmmissioner is one PHIL MAYES, a Republican "tennis club owner" and developer from Atlanta, a contributor to Commissioner MARK MINER.

Yes, a developer. An Atlantan. A Republican. Big surprise. One of those wretched Republican varmints who denudes wetlands, destroys forests and wants a government bailout for their reckless speculatin' peculating ways? Time will tell.

One with whom Governor CHARLES CRIST stays in Ponte Vedra every time he visits our area. Yes, politics makes strange bedfellows.

Our Governor has now directly contributed to the continuing corruption in St. Johns County -- he is in pari delicto. What do you reckon?

Racist Bob Jones University Apologized for Racism, But Will Right-Wing FLAGLER COLLEGE EVER APOLOGIZE?

Statement about Race at Bob Jones University

At Bob Jones University, Scripture is our final authority for faith and practice and it is our intent to have it govern all of our policies. It teaches that God created the human race as one race. History, reality and Scripture affirm that in that act of creation was the potential for great diversity, manifested today by the remarkable racial and cultural diversity of humanity. Scripture also teaches that this beautiful, God-caused and sustained diversity is divinely intended to incline mankind to seek the Lord and depend on Him for salvation from sin (Acts 17:24–28).

The true unity of humanity is found only through faith in Christ alone for salvation from sin—in contrast to the superficial unity found in humanistic philosophies or political points of view. For those made new in Christ, all sinful social, cultural and racial barriers are erased (Colossians 3:11), allowing the beauty of redeemed human unity in diversity to be demonstrated through the Church.

The Christian is set free by Christ’s redeeming grace to love God fully and to love his neighbor as himself, regardless of his neighbor’s race or culture. As believers, we demonstrate our love for others first by presenting Christ our Great Savior to every person, irrespective of race, culture, or national origin. This we do in obedience to Christ’s final command to proclaim the Gospel to all men (Matthew 28:19–20). As believers we are also committed to demonstrating the love of Christ daily in our relationships with others, disregarding the economic, cultural and racial divisions invented by sinful humanity (Luke 10:25–37; James 2:1–13).

Bob Jones University has existed since 1927 as a private Christian institution of higher learning for the purpose of helping young men and women cultivate a biblical worldview, represent Christ and His Gospel to others, and glorify God in every dimension of life.

BJU’s history has been chiefly characterized by striving to achieve those goals; but like any human institution, we have failures as well. For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it.

In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful.

On national television in March 2000, Bob Jones III, who was the university’s president until 2005, stated that BJU was wrong in not admitting African-American students before 1971, which sadly was a common practice of both public and private universities in the years prior to that time. On the same program, he announced the lifting of the University’s policy against interracial dating.

Our sincere desire is to exhibit a truly Christlike spirit and biblical position in these areas. Today, Bob Jones University enrolls students from all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, representing various ethnicities and cultures. The University solicits financial support for two scholarship funds for minority applicants, and the administration is committed to maintaining on the campus the racial and cultural diversity and harmony characteristic of the true Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

White Christmas at Nearly All-White Flagler College -- Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Complaint Number 04-08-2149

St. Augustine, Florida is the place that made world history in 1964, with mean racists beating hell out of Andrew Young (twice), helping Lyndon Johnson break the Senate filibuster, leading to the enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Our Civil RIghts Foot Soldiers in St. Augustine, joined by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and hundreds of others, made it happen. Right here.

Racism remains a fact of life in our governmental institutions and private organizations, even including a college founded by the illegitimate sons of HENRY MORRISON FLAGLER, convicted monopolist and antitrust violator behind Standard Oil.

Currently under investigation for possible discrimination by the U.S. Department of Education, FLAGLER COLLEGE recently fessed up to just how lily-white it is -- the right-wing college in the middle of our beautiful City of St. Augustine turns out to be whiter than Ivory Soap.

Whiter than Velveeta.

Whiter than Wonder Bread.

Here are the statistics, straight from a December 4, 2008 letter from DoEd in my mail box:

Of 2447 students in St. Augustine and Tallahassee for the 2008-2009 school year, there are 57 African-Americans. That's 2.1%, or less than even Bob Jones University, which went to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight for its right to receive tax breaks while banning interacial dating.

Of 27,334 inquiries from prospective students, 2445 were from African-Americans, or 8.95%. Of that large number, only 92 applied (3%). Did Flagler's white-bread and non-diverse college catalog discourages African-Americans from applying?

Of that number (92), 35 wsre accepted (38%). Of that number, 23 enrolled (65%).

Now let's look at the FLAGLER COLLEGE faculty. No one has tenure. Ideational fluency is not encouraged at this illiberal college.

For the 2008-2009 academic year, Flagler has 91 full-time faculty, of whom 2 are African-American.(2%). There are 103 part-time faculty members, of whom 3 are African-American. (2.9%). DoEd says there are also "others," but they are not identified and further data is being requested (by me, one of the complainants).

Comparable numbers for my undergraduate alma mater, Georgetown University -- Asian American, 11 percent; African American, 7 percent; Hispanic, 5 percent; and Native American, less than 1 percent. Of course, Georgetown has a faculty union, tenure, and a 219-year tradition of respecting diversity, with students from around the world, unstunted by anti-literate educational energumen administrator-slavemasters like CHANCELLOR/REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM L. PROCTOR.

Look at the FLAGLER COLLEGE Board of Trustees -- is there one African-American?

Look at the FLAGLER COLLEGE founders -- illegitimate heirs of monopolist Henry Flagler, including the late Lawrence Lewis, as racist and recondite a crew as ever drank soup without a spoon.

Flagler College was founded as a haven for the Flagler heirs' money, to avoid taxes on their Ponce de Leon Hotel, and as a way of 1960s' right-wing kooks to educate their children without subjecting them to reality (anti-war professors, liberal ideas, freedom of speech, desegregation). At its inception, FLAGLER COLLEGE discouraged interracial dating, just like Bob Jones University, which has since apologized for its racist policies. (See above).

Flagler students say they see few dark-skinned African-American students -- most are from the Caribbean. Flagler students long joked that the basketball team was the only place where one would find more than three African-American students at a time.

It is little wonder that the meanest man in St. Augustine -- WILLIAM L. PROCTOR -- stands atop this white-bread colossus, where faculty members have no union, no tenure and no respect from MASSA PROCTOR.

Ex-coach WILLIAM L. PROCTOR is FLAGLER COLLEGE Chancellor and 20th District Representative, and Republican Lord of All He Surveys, but as Bob Dylan says, "the times they are a-changin'!"

Long-tailed weasel, is he one of WILLIAM L. PROCTOR's ancestors? Notice the resemblance?

CHANCELLOR/REPRESENTATIVE/SCROOGE WILLIAM L. PROCTOR bitterly defends FLAGLER COLLEGE's deadbeat-dad relationship to our City of St. Augustine -- FLAGLER COLLEGE has property worth over $120 million but pays no payments in lieu of taxes (unlike Harvard, Yale and other academic institutions run by real mensches who are part of their communities). FLAGLER COLLEGE does pay some $121,000/year for two police officers, whom WILLIAM L. PROCTOR once asked to arrest David Thundershield Queen for picketing fascist PAT BUCHANNAN (on a public sidewalk in front of the auditorium).

So, they're having a white Christmas at Flagler College, except that our next President, Barack Obama, has appointed a Secretary of Education of honor and integrity, and I'm planning to pursue the inquiry against Flagler College to where DoEd actually investigates, instead of equivocates.

The DoEd OCR complaint number is 04-08-2149. The baby-talking bureaucrat who recently wrote to say DoEd could find no "facts" involving discrimination has afforded us 60 days within which to request reconsideration. We shall. And we shall overcome.

The notion that a government-subsidized "college" without diversity can exist in our midst so subsidized is obnoxious in this time of economic bubble-bursting. FLAGLER COLLEGE msut be desegregated, if it takes the 82nd Airbonre to do so.

What do you reckon?

Monday, December 22, 2008

FBI Director Robert Mueller: Corporate Fraud and Public Corruption: Are We Becoming More Crooked?

Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
American Bar Association Litigation Section Annual Conference
Washington, D.C.

April 17, 2008

Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be here among friends and colleagues.

Anyone who follows the news these days, and sees repeated references to corporate fraud and public corruption, might think the nation is in the midst of a moral crisis.

Have we, as a society, become more corrupt? Or have we in the FBI simply become more adept at rooting out fraud and corruption?

Corruption, in one form or another, is nothing new. The so-called “robber barons” of the Industrial Age cheated each other, their competitors, and their consumers. During Prohibition, public officials who decried the vices of liquor by day were bootlegging by night. Even the so-called Chicago “Black Sox” of the 1919 World Series played their part in American history.

As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The robber barons of today have brought a laundry list of corporations to ruin. Billions of dollars lost, thousands of shareholders victimized, and pension funds destroyed.

We have seen a similar laundry list of politicians who have violated the public trust for their own benefit, from the halls of Congress to the city councils of small-town America.

It would seem that desire for the good life has become what Teddy Roosevelt once termed the “get-rich-quick theory of life.”

Today, I want to talk about the need for integrity—integrity in the marketplace, in the boardroom, and in government. I want to focus on the importance of integrity in the FBI’s mission as well. And I would like to touch on your role in this ethical calculus.

The FBI and Corporate Fraud

In the wake of September 11th, counterterrorism became the FBI’s top priority. Yet at the same time, we were confronted with a rash of corporate wrongdoing, including Enron, WorldCom, and Qwest. We needed to prioritize our resources to effectively combat both crime and terrorism.

Today, we have more than 1,800 agents working nearly 17,000 white collar cases, from public corruption and financial fraud to health care and mortgage fraud.

The number of corporate fraud cases we investigate has increased by more than 80 percent since 2003, despite the change in our priorities.

We obtained more than 490 corporate and securities fraud convictions in 2007. Thirty-three insider trading indictments were returned against employees of companies such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and UBS Securities. A number of you may be more familiar with these cases than I am.

Last month, five former executives of National Century Financial Enterprises were convicted of a $1.9 billion dollar fraud scheme.

Last July, former Hollinger International CEO Conrad Black was convicted of racketeering, money laundering, and fraud.

And in June, three former vice presidents at Countrywide Financial Corporation pled guilty to insider trading.

As Wall Street analysts would say, business is booming for the FBI, and, by extension, for those of you who are defense counsel.

The agents and analysts who work these cases do some of the most complex, tedious, and—ultimately—significant work we do for the American public.

But we do not hold the slightest pretense that we could do this without the larger team—the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and our partners in the United States Attorneys Offices, among others. Our success depends on these partnerships.

We likely will see more corporate fraud cases in the months to come, because of the ripple effect of the subprime crisis and its impact on the credit market.

And as housing prices continue to fall, more financial misdeeds will no doubt come to light. As financier Warren Buffett said in his annual letter to shareholders last month, “You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out—and what we are witnessing…is an ugly sight.”

We are investigating more than 1,300 individual mortgage fraud matters. Perhaps more importantly, we have identified 19 corporate fraud matters related to the subprime lending crisis—cases that may have a substantial impact on the marketplace.

We are targeting accounting fraud, insider trading, and deceptive sales practices. These investigations may well lead to other instances of fraud, from investment banks and private equity firms to hedge funds.

We do not take these investigations lightly, nor do we open corporate fraud cases without careful consideration. We do understand the impact that public disclosure of a criminal investigation may have on a company’s reputation and economic standing.

These investigations further emphasize the need for independent board members, auditors, and outside counsel. Shareholders rely on the board of directors to serve as the corporate watchdog. But often, we see conflicts of interest in the corporate suites.

Board members may be beholden to the executives they are expected to oversee. Many directors may be current or former senior executives, with a mutual interest in maintaining the status quo.

They may be key shareholders who want to improve the value of their investment. And if anything goes wrong, they may start circling the wagons, rather than sounding the alarm.

Hearing anyone say they are surprised by such behavior is like the police chief in the movie “Casablanca” announcing that he is “shocked…shocked” to find gambling going on under his nose in Rick’s Café…just moments before he collects his roulette winnings from the night before.

Many of you here today are those to whom business leaders turn for counsel. You are often one of the first lines of defense. You are the gatekeepers—the ones who must say, “This is the right thing to do.”

I will say that we in the FBI have also had our share of missteps resulting from inadequate internal controls. And we understand that we need to do a better job of ensuring compliance in our own house. To that end, we have recently taken a page out of the private sector’s book.

Last year, we created a Bureau-wide compliance program. The Office of Integrity and Compliance will help ensure that we comply with both the letter and the spirit of the laws and policies by which we are bound.

As we all understand, it is better for a company to self-report and remediate its own wrongdoing before the FBI and the Department of Justice become involved. Executives who let the situation escalate to the point of a sudden restatement—and a resulting loss of shareholder confidence—often do greater harm to the companies they are trying to protect than if they had exercised early intervention.

In my days as defense counsel with a firm representing corporate targets, I met a number of executives who could rationalize every bad decision. They would say it was “business as usual”—that they were acting in the best interests of the company, given financial constraints and the pressures of running a business.

And I would think to myself, “You broke about 14 laws before breakfast. How could you fail to see you were doing anything wrong?”

I saw executives who did not start out intending to break the law. They would argue they were playing by the same rules as everyone else. They began to believe their own explanations. But it is a slippery slope from behavior that skirts ethical or legal boundaries to behavior that crosses the line completely.

It calls to mind the saying: If you jump out of a window on the 100th floor, and you seem to be doing fine as you pass the 40th floor, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a big problem. Rationalization will not provide much padding when you hit the pavement.

The FBI and Public Corruption

I want to turn to public corruption for a moment. Unfortunately, the private sector has by no means cornered the market on greed.

Public corruption is our top criminal priority, for the simple reason that it is different from other crimes. Corruption does not merely strike at the heart of good government. It may strike at the security of our communities.

The vast majority of public officials are honest in their work. They are committed to serving their fellow citizens. Unfortunately, some have abused the public trust.

We have more than 2,500 pending public corruption investigations—an increase of more than 50 percent since 2003. In the past five years, the number of agents working public corruption cases also has increased by more than 50 percent. We have convicted more than 1,800 federal, state, and local officials in the past two years alone.

For a nation built on the rule of law—and on faith in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people—we can and should do better. Ultimately, democracy and corruption cannot co-exist.

The FBI is uniquely situated to address public corruption. We have the skills to conduct sophisticated investigations. But more than that, we are insulated from political pressure. We are able to go where the evidence leads us, without fear of reprisal or recrimination.

Many of our investigations are well known. Others may be familiar only to local residents, but they are no less important.

For example, 22 individuals from the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina have pled guilty to drug conspiracy, racketeering, and fraud.

A state legislator from Georgia pled guilty last month to laundering what he believed to be proceeds from the sale of cocaine.

And a long-term undercover operation in Arizona snared nearly 70 military and law enforcement personnel for accepting hundreds of thousands in bribes. These individuals conspired to smuggle cocaine, drug money, and illegal immigrants across our southern border.

But if you would sell your oath and your honor for drug money, where does one draw the line? For the right price, would such individuals permit terrorist operatives to enter the country?

In the end, it does not matter if the corruption is national or local. It does not matter if it is millions of dollars, or merely hundreds. There is no level of acceptable corruption. The violation of trust is the same. The damage to the taxpayers is the same.

We must continue to dedicate the resources necessary to investigate public corruption. For if we in the FBI do not handle such cases, no one will.

* * *

Politicians who betray the trust of their constituents harm the integrity of our government. Executives who betray the trust of their employees and their shareholders harm the integrity of the marketplace. Left unchecked, corporate fraud and public corruption will rip the very fabric of our democracy.

General George Patton once said that no good decision was ever made in a swivel chair. Integrity requires that we stay on course, that we stay true to principles of honesty, ethics, and transparency…without swinging back and forth to meet the demands of the day…without altering our position to suit the economic, political, or social climate.

At the turn of the 20th century, Teddy Roosevelt took on the robber barons. He targeted corporate fraud and corruption, and commissioned what later became the FBI to continue that mission.

Roosevelt asserted that “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual, and of nations alike.” These words ring true today. Character will be our deciding factor.

It is my hope that by working together, we can reduce corporate fraud and public corruption. We each have a role to play.

Together, we can bring to light the wrongdoing that threatens our economy, our security, and the welfare of our nation. Together, we can help create a culture of integrity.

Thank you for having me here today, and God bless

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scrooges in St.Augustine Still Harassing Artists and Entertainers, Resulting in a Dull St. George Street, Discouraging Visitors

Pity WILLIAM B. HARRISS. He got his way. Our City has repeatedly violated the First Amendment, treating St. George Street artists and entertainers like vermin to be suppressed. Look at St. George Street today. Are you happy, Mr. HARRISS? Respond here.

Getting 'up-to-date' on St. George performers

Web posted Monday, July 31, 2000

Getting 'up-to-date' on St. George performers
Staff Writer

It puzzles citizens of foreign nations to learn that what has long been permitted in almost all countries -- playing a musical instrument or selling one's art on the street -- is against the law in St. Augustine.

Hundreds of people all over the world have have been recorded as signing on to a World Wide Web site dedicated to St. Augustine's street artists, said its creator, J.D. Pleasant of St. Augustine.

Pleasant, an independent videographer, said he created the Web site two or three months ago, after the city reinstated its ban against performances or sales on St. George Street.

"I had been videotaping that story for five years, before the last ban,'' he said. ""That (ban) was overturned (in federal court) and there were a lot of colorful people involved in the celebration. There was a rally in the Plaza, a torchlight parade down St. George Street and jugglers.''

But when a new ban was imposed, he said, there was shock among the artists.

"The public outrage of the locals and tourists is much more notable this time. I couldn't find anybody to support the ban except for some of the merchants on St. George Street,'' Pleasant said.

He started a Web site to post photographs from his digital videos. The address is:

Twice Pleasant's video camera has been grabbed by angry merchants while trying to film the street performers playing for the Fox Network.

Pleasant said, "That was one of the things that made it personal. Also, it was a human drama and I was there.''

He's now working on a documentary about the issue and each time he goes into the editing phase of the project, something else happens. Recently, for example, the Hispanic Garden was closed by the St. Augustine Foundation.

The Garden was a place where many street artists played to avoid arrest.

"The other day, I was at St. George Street and noticed how empty it was (without the artists drawing crowds),'' he said. "You could have shot a cannon down the street and not hit anyone.''

Trying to help the street artists and performers in her own way is Judy Lease of St. Augustine, who knew many of the musicians and performers over the years she has lived in the city.

She said most are poor and cannot afford to pay for paper or copying when they need flyers done.

In a computer store one day, she had an idea: make a calendar.

"I said, "I can do this.' I got a program that makes the calendar outline, then put photographs on top of them. Most of the pictures are mine,'' she said.

She had them wire-bound, bringing her total cost to about $6 each. Twice she sold her entire stock at $8 each and is having the third run printed now.

They are very crudely done, with fuzzy black and white photographs having no identifications of who is pictured, but she uses any money she makes for flyers or printing services for the artists.

"They're like an extended family to me,'' Lease said. ""They got a raw deal in 1995 and 1998, and are getting one this year. As many times as (the ban's) been overturned, why keep using taxpayer money to keep them out? They're not hurting anybody.''

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NY TIMES: Is Florida the most corrupt state in America? Perhaps yes, based on number of convicted officials.

Published: December 13, 2008
Where is officialdom most crooked? Last week, many guessed it must be Illinois, after news that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was taped making brazen personal demands in exchange for his selection of a Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama.

In Illinois, a Virtual Expectation of Corruption (December 14, 2008)
Times Topics: Rod R. BlagojevichThe state's image took a hit despite its long history of producing famously principled political figures, from the bowtied Senator Paul Simon to the great man on the penny.

But bloggers from competing hotbeds of wrongdoing proclaimed that theirs were the worst officials in the land, thank you. New Jerseyans seemed especially sure that their leadership came out on top in the race to the bottom.

Not so. And not so for Illinois, either.

There are several ways to gauge levels of government corruption, all of them a bit, well, corrupt. We present three methods here in the interest of keeping the arguments going.

Number of Guilty Officials (Graphic)

In a Department of Justice tally covering the last decade, Florida wins by its sheer number of guilty. The report, released last week, itemizes convictions in federal public corruption cases at local, state and federal levels in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and three United States territories.

Illinois ranks only seventh, with 502 convictions. At the squeaky-clean end of the scale, Nebraska barely managed an average of about one guilty official per year.

But the bigger the state, generally, the more officials it has, criminal or otherwise. So places like Florida, New York and Texas pile up big numbers. Let's adjust the data for population.

The Guilty, per Capita (Graphic)

A better measure, perhaps, showing how many convicted officials are produced for every one million constituents. Seems fair - unless you're North Dakota.

The District of Columbia wins big, for obvious reasons: its high concentration of public officials amid a relatively small population. Also, the local United States attorney's office focuses on rooting out corruption, adding to conviction rates.

USA Today published a similar list last week, declaring North Dakota the most corrupt state. Statewide outrage followed. (The newspaper omitted the District and the United States territories.) Mike Jacobs, the editor and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald, called it "a stunning and incomprehensible result" and could recall few cases of public misdeeds over his four decades in North Dakota journalism. (One that sprang into his mind: the head of a state office who was accused of shoplifting peanuts in a grocery store. The charges were dropped. That was in 1981.)

So what's going on out on the Prairie? Two large cases of embezzlement by local officials ran up the conviction numbers, plus a smattering of mostly small-bore crime. Selling a Senate seat? Not yet.

Meanwhile, Nebraska continues to shine as a beacon of good government.

A Survey of Journalists (Graphic)

Researchers asked state house reporters to assess their subjects and ranked responses on a scale of 1 (clean) to 7 (crooked) in a 2003 study. Nebraska? Good, not great. For North Dakota, sweet vindication: it tied with South Dakota and Colorado for least corrupt.

USDOJ Press Release: National Lampoon CEO Among 7 Individuals Charged with Securities Fraud

Department of Justice Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 15, 2008 United States Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Contact: Patricia Hartman, (215) 861-8525

National Lampoon CEO Among 7 Individuals Charged with Securities Fraud

PHILADELPHIA - Acting United States Attorney Laurie Magid today announced the unsealing of three indictments and an information1 charging seven individuals with conspiracy and securities fraud. The charges pertain to four separate schemes designed to artificially inflate the prices of publicly traded stocks. Among those charged is Daniel Laikin, CEO of National Lampoon, Inc. which owns interests in the film Animal House and the Vacation series. These cases were the result of a long-term investigation, conducted in coordination with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), that detected ongoing stock manipulation schemes in the national securities markets. The SEC today filed separate civil actions against the same individuals.

“Protecting the integrity of our financial markets is a critical function of federal law enforcement,” said Magid. “These defendants all sought to defraud the investing public through their manipulative conduct by artificially inflating the stocks to make them appear more valuable than they were. These schemes were designed to corrupt the market and reap large profits for these defendants at the expense of the average investor.” “The defendants in this case engaged in organized and on-going schemes to manipulate and artificially inflate stock prices of publicly traded companies for their own financial benefit,” said Janice K. Fedarcyk, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. “And in so doing, they defrauded all of the legitimate market investors who bought and sold shares in these companies. The entire investment market suffers when individuals violate the legal and fiduciary trust of their positions.”

All of the schemes involved efforts to manipulate the prices of publicly traded stocks by paying undisclosed kickbacks to individuals to purchase and hold the stock to create the illusion of market interest in the stocks. The objective was to induce the investing public to purchase a stock based on this artificial trading volume and, thus, increase the stock’s value. Most of the charged defendants, including the corporate officers described below, had significant holdings in the stock or stocks they sought to manipulate and could have made millions of dollars if they had successfully inflated the stock prices. The remaining defendants benefitted financially by receiving the illegal kickbacks to purchase the stocks.

To make the increased interest in the stock appear more legitimate, the defendants coordinated purchases with the release of news by the companies and frequently shared nonpublic information about the company with other co-conspirators. In each case, a witness secretly cooperating with law enforcement (the “CW”) was paid a kickback to make purchases in the target stock with the objective of artificially inflating its value.

The schemes involved the following stocks2:

National Lampoon, Inc.
National Lampoon, Inc. (“National Lampoon”) is a company based in Los Angeles,
California, that is involved primarily in media projects including feature films, television programming, online and interactive entertainment, home video, and book publishing. National Lampoon owns interests in all major National Lampoon properties, including the movies Animal House and the Vacation series. National Lampoon also operates a college television network and humor website. National Lampoon is publicly traded under symbol “NLN” on the American Stock Exchange.3

According to the charges, between March and June 2008, National Lampoon CEO Daniel
Laikin conspired with Dennis Barsky, who is listed on National Lampoon SEC filings as a “consultant,” to pay others, including Eduardo Rodriguez and the CW, to artificially inflate the price of National Lampoon stock. Rodriguez enlisted Tim Dougherty, a Rochester, New York stock promoter, to assist in the scheme. Dougherty was paid approximately $40,000 to make purchases in National Lampoon stock with the objective of driving up the share price. Dougherty made his purchases over the course of a number of days and used various accounts to give the false impression of a steady demand for the stock.

Rodriguez 2 is also charged with a scheme to manipulate the price of a stock that has not yet been publicly identified due to an ongoing investigation.

3 Effective October 1, 2008, the American Stock Exchange became known as “NYSE

Laikin told Rodriguez and the CW that he wanted the stock price to increase from approximately $2 per share to $5 per share to make it more attractive for “strategic partnerships” and “acquisitions.” In addition to paying others to purchase the stock, Laikin shared confidential financial information regarding the stock, non-public news releases, and confidential shareholder lists, and coordinated the release of news with the illegal purchases in the stock. Barsky helped direct the purchases and facilitated the kickback payments.stock based on this artificial trading volume and, thus, increase the stock’s value. Most of the charged defendants, including the corporate officers described below, had significant holdings in the stock or stocks they sought to manipulate and could have made millions of dollars if they had successfully inflated the stock prices. The remaining defendants benefitted financially by receiving the illegal kickbacks to purchase the stocks.

Advatech, Corp.
Advatech Corporation (“Advatech”) is a West Palm Beach, Florida, corporation that describes itself as an early stage biotechnology company engaged in the research and development and the commercialization of non-invasive electrical therapies. Advatech stock is publicly traded under the ticker symbol “ADVA” on Pink OTC Markets Inc., an inter-dealer electronic quotation and trading system in the over-the-counter (“OTC”) securities market commonly referred to as the “Pink Sheets.”4

Defendant Richard J. Margulies is the chief financial officer and a director of Advatech.
Margulies owns and/or controls significant portions of Advatech stock either directly or through nominees. In June 2008, Margulies paid Rodriguez and the CW a 20-percent kickback on purchases of Advatech stock that were made as part of the undercover investigation. Before Rodriguez and the CW made the illegal purchases, Margulies provided them with shareholder lists, confidential information about the company, and non-public press releases. Margulies coordinated the release of news with the purchases and instructed the CW that they should “move [the stock] up nice and slow, so it doesn’t look like we’re a bunch of idiots.”

Swedish Vegas, Inc.
Swedish Vegas, Inc. (“Swedish Vegas”) is a Delaware corporation, based in Arcadia,
California, that describes itself as “building a global brand name with a website, a line of
microbrewed beer and a restaurant/bar concept.” The company’s stated plan was to “launch a series of themed eateries with an extensive beer and wine menu and reasonably priced lunches, dinners and appetizers.” Swedish Vegas was publicly traded under the ticker symbol “SWDV” on the Pink Sheets.

4The companies traded on the Pink Sheets tend to be closely held, extremely small, and/or thinly traded. Most do not meet the minimum listing requirements for trading on a national securities exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ Stock Market.

According to the charges, between June and July 2008, defendants Alex Kanakaris and
Richard Epstein, two significant investors in Swedish Vegas, paid a kickback to Rodriguez and the CW to buy and hold Swedish Vegas stock. The objective was to make the stock price “fly.” Kanakaris and Epstein believed that a portion of the money they paid the CW was being used to secretly bribe brokers to purchase and hold the stock in their clients’ accounts. In reality, CW “purchased” the stock using undercover FBI funds. After CW made an initial stock purchase in July 2008, the SEC halted trading in the stock.

Daniel Laikin Los Angeles, CA 46
Dennis Barsky Las Vegas, NV 60
Tim Dougherty Webster, NY 29
Eduardo Rodriguez Livingston, NJ 49
Richard J. Margulies Edison, NJ 58
Alex Kanakaris Newport Beach, CA 52
Richard Epstein Parkland, FL 60

If convicted of all charges, defendants Laikin, Barsky, Dougherty, Margulies, Kanakaris, and Epstein each face up to 25 years in prison and defendant Eduardo Rodriguez faces up to 80 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Derek A. Cohen and Louis D. Lappen.

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