Sunday, February 04, 2018


UPDATE:  Proposal was modified to be legal at the February 6, 2018 County Commission meeting, where Sheriff DAVID SHOAR did not deign to appear.
Thanks to government watchdog Tom Reynolds, Historic City News and Michael Gold for blowing the whistle on St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's latest financial chicanery:

UNJUST STEWARDS AND FELLOW HOGS AT THE TROUGH: St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK (left) shakes hands and massages the right elbow of right-wing St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR, who legally changed his name from "HOAR" in 1994.

Historic City News:

Sheriff attempts misappropriation of law enforcement funds

Historic City News learned Friday that St Johns County Sheriff David B. Shoar has apparently attempted to misappropriate $10,000.00 in public funds making a material misstatement that the use of those funds by a third-party organization complies with the requirements of state law.  To further conceal the misappropriation sought by the sheriff, the request appears only on the “consent agenda”; recommended by administrative staff for approval without public comment or board discussion.
The Sheriff’s Office is requesting an expenditure from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund in the amount of $10,000.00 to support a local and non-profit organization, “Forward March, Inc.” in its efforts to “assist veterans in need” throughout the community.  This is the private group restoring the American Legion building located on the Bayfront at Anderson Circle.  The board of directors largely consists of Shoar’s political campaign supporters, financial contributors, and cronies from his past relationship with the Florida National Guard.  They are NOT a law enforcement agency or perform a law enforcement mission for the community.
For the Tuesday morning meeting of the St Johns County Commission, Assistant County Administrator, Joy Andrews, wrote “Forward March, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded for the specific purpose of supporting the increasing public awareness of and the growing interest in the historic heritage of the greater St. Augustine, Florida area through educational programs and charitable activities” — NOT a law enforcement purpose.
Andrews’ suggested motion and recommendation reads, “Motion to transfer $10,000 from Law Enforcement Trust Fund Reserves to support Forward March, Inc. in its efforts to assist veterans in need throughout the community.”  — NOT a law enforcement purpose.
Sections 932.701-932.706, F.S., comprise the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, which provides for the seizure and civil forfeiture of property related to criminal and non-criminal violations of law.  The proceeds from forfeitures shall be deposited in a special law enforcement trust fund established by the Board of County Commissioners.
According to 932.7055, F.S., titled, “Disposition of liens and forfeited property”, such proceeds and interest earned therefrom shall be used for:
·       school resource officer program
·       crime prevention program
·       safe neighborhood program
·       drug abuse education and prevention programs
·       other law enforcement purposes
·       defraying the cost of protracted or complex investigations
·       providing additional equipment or expertise
·       purchasing automated external defibrillators for law enforcement vehicles
·       providing matching funds to obtain federal grants
At issue is a letter addressed to Chairman Dean, submitted by Shoar in his official capacity as sheriff, which states:
Dear Chairman Dean,
The Sheriff’s Office is requesting expenditures from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund in the amount of $10,000.00. The funds will be used for the support of a local and non-profit organization, Forward March, INC. and will be dedicated to assisting veterans in needthroughout our community.
Should the Board approve this expenditure, it is in compliance with Florida Statute 932.7055. Once funding is approved, the invoice will be paid and all proper documentation will be presented to Mr. Allen MacDonald for reimbursement.
Your consideration in this matter is greatly appreciated. Please do not hesitate to contact me should I be able to provide additional assistance or information.
David B. Shoar
Shoar specifically represents, “Should the Board approve this expenditure, it is in compliance with Florida Statute 932.7055.”  Since the money is not being used by the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and Shoar simply intends to give it away to his friends, Forward March, Inc. must apply to the sheriff for an appropriation and its application shall be accompanied by a written certification that the moneys will be used for an authorized purpose, from a somewhat more restricted list.
When used by an agency or organization, other than the seizing agency, such funds may be used only for:
·       school resource officer,
·       crime prevention,
·       safe neighborhood,
·       drug abuse education,
·       drug prevention programs
·       other law enforcement purposes
Although a cause supported by Sheriff Shoar, “assisting veterans in need throughout the community” is NOT an authorized purpose specified in the Florida Statutes.  For Shoar to tell the Chairman and elected members of the Board of Commissioners that it is, puts them all in jeopardy of violating the law based on Shoar’s false and misleading representation.
Further, an agency or organization that receives money pursuant to this subsection shall provide an accounting for such moneys and shall furnish the same reports as an agency of the county that receives public funds.
The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. in the County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View.  Readers who wish to express themselves on this or other matters may address the commission at that time.  Public Comments are one of the first orders of business on the agenda, so come early if you wish to speak.

Historic City News:

Forward March chairman asks for and gets amended request

Reporting in Historic City News was mentioned by several speakers during yesterday morning’s meeting of the St Johns County Commission. Our article preceding the meeting, and individual e-mail copies sent to the chairman and commissioners, resulted in the $10,000 funding request, by Sheriff David Shoar, being taken off the “fast track” consent agenda and modified to bring the requested action into compliance with state law.
The illegal request, as originally worded, would have been item 2 on the consent agenda. It was appropriately moved to item 1 on the public agenda and opened for public comments. Several spoke on the matter including Forward March, Inc., president Ronald E. Birchall, and Veterans Council chairman Bill Dudley. Sheriff Shoar did not appear to speak.
Community Activists Tom Reynolds of St Augustine Beach and Ed Slavin of St Augustine both spoke in support of local veterans while concurring that the request, as worded, did not comply with state law and had all appearances of a political favor to a pet project of the sheriff.
The county attorney had to rewrite the motion to specify a required “law enforcement purpose” so that the commission wouldn’t violate state law by approving the sheriff’s request. Commissioner Jeb Smith was vocal in his concerns that such an improperly composed request would come forward.
Following Birchall’s statement, Commissioner Jimmy Johns admitted that he had no idea of the identities of officers and directors of Forward March, Inc. When Birchall could not recite the members of his board, stating that they change from time to time, Johns asked if that organizational information could be provided outside of the meeting. In the interim, during comments by Ed Slavin, he provided Johns the state website address ( where Johns could look the information up for himself. Johns apologized for not being prepared with that information.
Because Forward March, Inc., is not “the seizing agency”, they will be bound to public disclosures provided in Chapter 119 F.S., with respect to accounting for these moneys. With the new educational purpose delineated to include a crime prevention and drug abuse education aspect, the board unanimously approved the amended request, 5-0.

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