Tuesday, December 24, 2019

LARIZZA-BOLANTE FAMILY FAVORITISM? Will State's Attorney LARIZZA Recuse Himself from SAPD Theft Case

Historic City News scooped everyone. Merry Christmas!

In a December 23, 2019 arrest, St. Augustine Police Communications Supervisor LOREN TIFFANY BOLANTE was arrested for organized scheme to defraud.

But Assistant State's Attorney Rachel Demers, acting on behalf of State's ATTORNEY RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA sua sponte dismissed petty theft and forgery charges against LOREN TIFFANY BOLANTE, without a hearing and without giving a reason. This leaves the third charge, organized scheme to defraud, spanning at least one pay period.

A violations. of Florida Statute 817.034(4)(a)(3) is charged in the amended complaint, a third degree felony. Notice of the charges has been sent to the FLorida Ethics Commission.

A hearing is set before Judge Howard M. Maltz on January 6, 2019. No recusal appears in court records.

Why didn't controversial St. Johns County State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA recuse himself from the payroll-padding theft scheme to defraud by felony defendant, LOREN TIFFANY BOLANTE, daughter of Flagler College Public Administration Dept. Chairman JOEL BOLANTE, former UnderSheriff and former Acting St. Augustine Beach Police Department Chief?

You tell me. He recused himself from cases of JEREMY BANKS, RAYE BRUTNELL, ROBERT THORNTON SMITH and ROBERT GOBER, among others.

Why hasn't LARIZZA recused himself from a case involving LOREN TIFFANY BOLANTE, daughter of Flagler College Public Administration Dept. Chairman JOEL BOLANTE, former UnderSheriff and former Acting St. Augustine Beach Police Department Chief?

Will this case be "fixed?"

I've asked:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin
Sent: Tue, Dec 24, 2019 1:39 pm
Subject: Request No. 2019-702: Recusal analysis in State of Florida v. Loren Tiffany Bolante

Dear Mr. Larizza:
1. Will you please recuse yourself from State of Florida v. LOREN TIFFANY BOLANTE (charged with organized scheme to defraud the St. Augustine Police Department) or, if not, will you be so kind as to explain why?
2. Please provide all documents on this case, including the decision to dismiss two criminal charges.
3. Please provide documents on your office's recusal law research and any applicable binding legal precedents such as your 2011 and 2018 recusals in the JEREMY BANKS and RAYE BRUTNELL cases.
4. Please call me to discuss ASAP.
Merry Christmas!
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Here is the HCN story:

Bolante on leave from city police department arrested in Putnam County Friday

In and out of the Putnam County Jail in a record 10-minutes, 34-year-old Loren Tiffany Bolante, the daughter of David Shoar’s former undersheriff, Joel Bolante, herself a Police Department Communications Supervisor for the City of St Augustine, was arrested in Palatka Friday on a St Johns County capias issued by Circuit Judge Howard Maltz charging her with engaging in an organized scheme to defraud, a third-degree felony.
Initial charging documents sent by the city police department to the State Attorney show that Bolante was accused of petit theft, a third-degree misdemeanor, as well as uttering a false or forged instrument, another third-degree felony; although, those additional charges were dropped by the State Attorney before the arrest was made.
The criminal complaint stems from allegations and findings in an investigation conducted by SAPD Sergeant Jon F. Marston into excessive time away from work that Bolante billed to the city.  Several coworkers came forward as witnesses with statements, including Jeannette Baker, Patrice Drinkard, Donna Flanagan, Diane Foreman, Patrick McCaulley, Assistant Chief Anthony Cuthbert and Chief of Police Barry Fox, in addition to Bolante herself.  Recorded interview tapes and other documents, including time cards, schedules, and camera footage recorded within the police department, were assembled by Marston as part of his investigation.
On November 11, 2019, Loren Bolante filled out her own time sheet showing 80-hours worked during the pay period for October 29, 2019 through November 11, 2019.  She turned that time sheet in and was paid for the 80-hours. St. Augustine Police Department Assistant Chief Anthony Cuthbert checked these times against the times Bolante was seen at the Police Department on video surveillance cameras.  Cuthbert reported that he found quite a few hours unaccounted for.
After interviews with several St. Augustine Police Department personnel, including Bolante, there were still twenty-one and one-half (21.5) hours unaccounted for.  Bolante could not give any reasonable explanation for the missing hours. At Bolante’s current hourly rate of $26.88 per hour, this accounts to about $577.96 that Bolante was paid — but, for time that she did not work.
“Bolante filled out her own time sheet and signed it, while she knew it was false,” Marston told local Historic City News reporters.  “Although there is a belief that Bolante may have done this in the past or may have plans to do this again in the future, the scope of this criminal investigation is from October 29, 2019 to November 11, 2019.”

Felony arraignment is set for January 6, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 328 of the Richard Watson County Courthouse before Circuit Judge Howard M. Maltz.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Has this gone to court yet?