Friday, July 31, 2009


It’s right there in the proffer of facts by the United States Attorney’s office – with which former COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN THOMAS GEORGE MANUEL agreed -- it is stated that MANUEL demanded a developer (FALCONE GROUP LLC and controversial lawyer GEORGE McCLURE) make contributions to MANUEL’s own campaign fund and to the COUNCIL ON AGING, or else their future business in St. Johns County would be in jeopardy. We call that a “shakedown.”

After that happened, controversial developer lawyer GEORGE McCLURE and his client then reported MANUEL to the FBI and secretly recorded conversations in which MANUEL accepted $60,000 in return for approving requests by FALCONE GROUP LLC and its TWIN CREEKS development to sell land to the County for an interchange at SR 210 and Interstate 95.

The longtime President of the COUNCIL ON AGING is none other than lawyer JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., the Mayor of St. Augustine.

On page 5 of THOMAS GEORGE MANUEL’s plea agreement, the former County Commission Chairman agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department in testifying against other persons, providing “substantial assistance” to the United States Department of Justice.

Those other persons must be sweating bullets right now.

Those other persons may include lawyers, developers, politicians and others who may have committed much bigger crimes – crimes against nature and crimes again our democracy.

Those other persons may include the satraps who pollute and who empower others who do.

Those other persons may include other bribe-takers and bribe-payers.

Those other persons may include the people who authorized 80,000 homes to be built, without making developers do enough to provide roads, bridges, sewers, water, schools, parks and other “infrastructure.”

Bribery (and its punishment by society) has ancient roots.

As Judge John Noonan of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals writes in his book, “Bribes – The Intellectual History of A Moral Idea,” some cultures execute bribe-payers and bribe-takers. Others tolerate bribery. Some pass laws against it but rarely enforce them. In our own Nation, Judge Noonan writes, the Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery was short of the required votes in Congress to send it to the states – until money as passed around.

Former California Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh said, “money is the mother’s milk of politics.”

One U.S. Supreme Court practitioner told his family in the 1960s that it had gotten really hard to bribe the Supreme Court now that Robert Kennedy was Attorney General.
One former Florida lobbyist told me that the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is that the Democrats want their money in a paper bag while the Republicans prefer it in a briefcase.


That's why we have problems enacting national health care and other reforms. That's why our economy collapsed, under the weight of Congressional and Presidential corruption that let big-shot crooks prosper, destroying our pensions and stealing our savings and investments.

We regulate bribes in this country, reporting campaign contributions to the Federal Election Commission and state and local offices where we can read them online.

Occasionally, one is shocked by the identity of alleged and convicted bribe-takers – the scholarly Harvard lawyer Congressman WILLIAM JEFFERSON, who rose from poverty to Congress, only to try to shake down African governments (leading to his being the first Congressman to be charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. and in another recent case (below) Judge BOBBY DELAUGHTER, who as Assistant DA successfully prosecuted BYRON DE LA BECKWITH for the murder of Mississippi civil rights leader MEDGAR EVERS. (DELAUGHTER was portrayed by Alec Baldwin in the movie, “GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI.”)

At today’s plea hearing, former County Commission chairman THOMAS G. MANUEL testified that he suffers from bipolar disorder, which he realized upon hearing the FBI tapes, in which he sounded rather “manicky,” verifying his impression he was bipolar with his ex-wife’s sister, a psychiatrist and seeking professional help.

MANUEL, a heart transplant recipient, is on some 21 different medications.
United States Magistrate Judge Howard T. Snyder carefully and compassionately examined MANUEL about his mental state and his knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of all of his constitutional rights to jury trial, confrontation, cross-examination, unanimous jury verdict and presumption of innocence. MANUEL testified that he was not pleading guilty due to any threat coercion or promise.

Judge Howard had a compassionate and earnest affect as he took the plea and asked the requisite questions – this is not a judge who looks down his nose at criminal defendants or civil litigants. He had a very kind, professional judicial temperament, asking MANUEL and his attorney, William Sheppard, to sit in front of the Courtroom Deputy’s bench while he asked the questions our Constitution requires. After the U.S. Attorney’s proffer, Judge Howard looked at MANUEL and said, “That’s what you did?” “Yes, sir,” MANUEL replied, humbly.

Some of the “yes, sir” answers that MANUEL gave were after some l-o-o-o-ng pauses – you got the impression he had something he wanted to say, and hopefully he will and hopefully it will involve the crooked one-party misrule of St. Johns County by the developers and their Republican toadies.

Before his arrest, I rather liked TOM MANUEL and was impressed with his brilliance. Of course, he was dumb as a coal bucket to take bribes, but he had some good ideas.
One of those good ideas was transparency – when he interviewed County Administrator candidates, he opened his interviews to the public – when Michael Wanchick, the successful candidate was interviewed, Indymedia writer Dr. Dwight Hines, Ph.D., reporter Peter Guinta of the St. Augustine Record, and I watched.

When MANUEL pushed for the County Charter (which lost twice last year), it was seemingly with good intentions. But the execution was flawed, the drafting was horrible and the Charter was poorly written. When I proposed a series of strengthening amendments to the County Commission, including provisions for an Ombuds and an Inspector General, MANUEL had read them and said as I approached the podium, “You have extra time,” letting me make the proposals and answer questions for some ten or twelve minutes.

That may have one of the few times (perhaps even the only time) in history that anyone spoke favorably to St. Johns County Commissioners about Gay and Lesbian rights (I asked Commissioners to add GLBT people into Section 10.06 of the County Charter, which would have banned discrimination by the government). A prior Commission had voted unanimously to allow rent-free use of the $16.9 million County Convention Center at World Golf Village for a March 15, 2005 anti-Gay hate rally, presided over by President Reagan’s former UNESCO Ambassador, Dr. Alan Keyes, Ph.D. [Less than three months later, a federal court ordered the City of St. Augustine to fly Rainbow flags on our Bridge of Lions, an action I encouraged be brought by the St. Augustine Gay Pride Committee because of the arrogance of the Gay-haters in our local government, like KAREN STERN, JIM BRYANT and BRUCE MAGUIRE, all of whom supported the taxpayer-subsidized Gay-bashing KKK-style meeting in the County Convention Center.]

In contrast to Commissioners STERN, MAGUIRE and BRYANT, TOM MANUEL didn’t have a bigoted bone in his body – he professed to be – and impressed me as -- a “Nelson Rockefeller Republican,” one who defended human rights.

That is apparently one big reason why the local KKK types get nasty with him. Former Commission Chairman Ben Rich recently told Folio Weekly that St. Johns County is “one of the last bastions of the Ku Klux Klan.” How true. Ever read and It’s the KKK metastasized and gone fully electronic.

TOM MANUEL gave one hope that the developers might no longer be in control, which is why it was so disappointing that he took bribes from one of them.

I always found County Commission Chairman THOMAS GEORGE MANUEL to be a fascinating, intelligent person, both in public and in a few private discussions in MANUEL’s office with Dr. Hines and me. (Wonder if any were taped by the FBI? Stay tuned.)
When MANUEL took on the Anastasia Mosquito Control Commission of St. Johns County, he seemed to have bitten off more than he could chew. On one occasion, he seemed, rather arrogant, dismissive and rude and laughing and making joking remarks to me in the back of the Mosquito Control Commission meeting room, as I tried to take notes.

It now makes sense to me that MANUEL has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

I felt like MANUEL wanted to take over the Mosquito Control Commission for self-aggrandizing reasons – he wanted their $5 million surplus and he wanted a victory. He enjoyed the game of politics. Having survived a heart transplant, he wanted to make his impact, to make life better for others.

I explained to MANUEL publicly and privately why Mosquito Control should remain independent. At least he listened.

Having been a student of American politics since I was six years old), I easily figured out his game with the Airport and Mosquito Control and told him so – and he grinned from ear to ear. What I told him was that the academic literature on hostile corporate takeover offers shows that whether the takeover effort succeeds or not, it shakes up corpulent mangers, and increases shareholder value. He grinned when I told him I knew what he was doing and why. I think MANUEL said something like, “so you understand there’s a method to my madness.” We had a good laugh.

MANUEL thereafter used the phrase “increase shareholder value” as a mantra in threatening takeovers of Mosquito Control and the Airport.

Although they are independent taxing districts, he held them up to questions and accountability (and that’s a good thing).

When I spoke to the Commission meeting about the Airport Authority’s status, an Airport manager who did not identify himself came up to me at my seat during a recess, called me a liar and put his finger in my face, demanding I tell him my source for the assertion that Airport Authority Commissioners earlier opposed scheduled airlines because they’d make things difficult for rich guys to land their airplanes. (The source was his own website). I cussed the energumen out, dismissed him and told him where to go. An Airport Authority minion then called over a Sheriff’s deputy, who gave me one of this LEO come hither gestures and asked me to “wait here.” I told him, “I’m not waiting anywhere” and walked right up to County Commission Chairman TOM MANUEL, told him exactly what had taken place (including my space being invaded, my nose being intruded upon and the exact curse words that I told the Airport manager). MANUEL thereupon directed the Sheriff’s Department to leave me alone because I was within my rights. We had a good laugh and shook hands, knowing that his efforts to hold the Airport accountable would succeed, whether or not the County took over the Airport or not.

MANUEL dreamed of taking over the City of St. Augustine through consolidation. He said he’d let them “keep their little swords,” but that there was much waste. I told him that if we didn’t elect reformers in November 2008, I’d help him take over the City of St. Augustine in 2009. That never happened – MANUEL was indicted and arrested on October 15, 2008.

When he ran for Commissioner in 2006, MANUEL was dogged by accusations from Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a DAVID HOAR that MANUEL was a mafia associate. MANUEL won anyway, and the proof of the SHERIFF’s charges was never provided. Later the Sheriff was said to be plotting to “set up” TOM MANUEL. As head of the St. Johns County political machine, it appears our High Sheriff succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

Like Jerry Brown as Governor of California, MANUEL believed in asking questions and
stirring things up – satyagraha, as Gandhi called it. That drove the KKK and the crooks nuts, because as United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis said that “sunlight is the best disinfectant and electric light is the best policeman.”

A former banker, tourism business operator and consultant, MANUEL did indeed try to shake things up in this corrupt county.

But MANUEL also took bribes, “corruptly” taking money from a developer. That’s a tragedy and a sin.

My Catholic religious tradition teaches us to hate the sin and not the sinner.

Sitting in Federal Court this morning hearing former County Commission Chairman THOMAS G MANUEL plead guilty to bribery, I felt a wave of compassion toward former MANUEL, his wife and family.

Bribery is wrong. That is a moral absolute. But so is selective prosecution wrong.
Was this the first time in world history that devilish developer lawyer GEORGE McCLURE ever provided money or other things of value to a politician? What do you reckon?

If ex-SHERIFF NEIL PERRY committed crimes and he wasn’t prosecuted, why wasn’t he? Is it because he was a friend of JEB BUSH. And if SHERIFF DAVID SHOAR bragged about how he was going to “set up” MANUEL, will he now be prosecuted?

I sincerely hope that TOM MANUEL writes a book about this corrupt county. As President Richard Nixon once noted when he feared he might go to prison, many best-selling books were written in prison. In fact, reports that people who wrote major works in prison include these eighteen world-famous authors: Saint Paul, Saint Thomas More, Boethius, Machiavelli, Cervantes, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Bunyan, Henry David Thoreau, Dostoevsky, Oscar Wilde, O. Henry, Wittgenstein, Gandhi, Genet, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ezra Pound, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and (drum roll) Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hope TOM MANUEL starts working on his own book, and wish him well – I hope it reveals everything and becomes a best-seller.

Dr. King also wrote a famous letter from the St. Augustine Jail to New Jersey rabbis on June 12, 1964, inviting what became the largest mass arrest of rabbis in American history, the following week – in that letter he excoriated local segregationists and called the government of the City of St. Augusine the “most lawless” in America – that’s still true.

To combat that “most lawless city” and the surrounding county, I also hope that TOM MANUEL now helps the feds throw the book at every crooked, grasping, greedy, materialistic developer, politician, lawyer, and henchmen in St. Johns County, from the City of St. Augustine to Ponte Vedra to St. Augustine Beach to Fruit Cove to Hastings to Marineland.

With THOMAS MANUEL’s promise in paragraph 5 of his plea agreement for “cooperation” with the feds, there is nothing that the FBI, a Grand Jury and the U.S. Attorney won’t be able to do. There could be dozens of criminal prosecutions before they’re through.

I reckon we’re going to clean up this city and county – now with THOMAS MANUEL’s “substantial assistance,” as promised in the plea, in the case of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. THOMAS GEORGE MANUEL.

Our county is a paradise, and it deserves a St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway in time for the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine, the 500th anniversary of Spanish Florida and the 50th anniversary of civil rights demonstrations that helped bring about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Like the late Senator Jim King, County Commission Chairman TOM MANUEL said he liked the National Park idea and he wanted to increase environmental and historic tourism. He also sought to increase “shareholder value” for the Tourist Development Council.

The crooks who would turn our paradise here in St. Johns County into an unreasonable facsimile of Ft. Lauderdale must now realize that they are no longer in control. Ironically, if they set up TOM MANUEL, their actions have let loose a terrible swift sword – the FBI and the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The awesome powers of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice are now focusing like so many Tomahawk cruise missiles on the corrupt and the corrupters here in St. Augustine and St. Johns County. I just wish my friend David Thundershield Queen had lived to see this day.

As JFK said, “here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”

What do you reckon?

Times-Picayune: Jurors in William Jefferson's case go home for weekend

Michael DeMocker/The Times-Picayune

ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- Jurors in the trial of former Democratic Congressman William Jefferson have gone home for the weekend and will resume deliberations Monday at 9:30 a.m.

The jury met for about six hours today after deliberating for about four hours Thursday . Closing arguments were delivered Wednesday with jury instructions Thursday morning.

Given the complexity of the 16-count indictment that includes charge of bribery, fraud, money laundering and racketeering, legal experts have said they expect the deliberations to take several days.

The trial began with jury selection June 9 and included six weeks of testimony.

Federal prosecutors say Jefferson, who represented the New Orleans-based 2nd Congressional District for nine terms, used his office to help American businesses land contracts in Africa in exchange for payments to companies controlled by his family. Jefferson's defense team said Jefferson was acting as private citizen and performed no "official acts," such as casting a vote, getting an earmark or an appropriation for his help in the deals, and is therefore not subject to the bribery statutes.

The only public action from the jury today came when they sent a note to Judge T.S. Ellis III, letting him know that they are satisfied with a tape recording of his jury instructions and no longer request a written transcript.

That jury of 12 consists of six white women, two white men, two black women and two black men. The jurors' first order of business after lunch was selecting a foreman, in the privacy of the jury room; one of the men was selected.

Ellis said that the lawyers need not be present when the jury convenes each morning before repairing for deliberations, but that if one side was present the other side should be. Jefferson's lead defense attorney, Robert Trout, told Ellis that his client had indicated he wants to be there each morning when the jury arrives.

Some of the 16 counts include multiple subsections, and the jury, to convict on that count, must agree unanimously on which subsection or subsections apply. Count 16, which charges that "the office of Congressman William Jefferson was a corrupt enterprise engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity," includes 12 Acts. Acts 1 through 11 each has a part A and B. Act 12 has parts A through I.

On some counts, but not all, the jury must conclude that some element of the crime occurred in the eastern district of Virginia where the trial is being held, but in making that determination it can rely on a preponderance of the evidence instead of the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard they using for the rest of their deliberations.

Ellis outlined the seven criteria for conviction under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which, after 32 years on the books, is receiving its maiden application to a public official. Ellis paused for a moment before listing those criterion, muttering, "it's in the disjunctive."

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charge refers to the government's allegation that the $90,000 found in Jefferson's freezer when the FBI raided his home in the summer of 2005 was intended as a bribe Jefferson was going to deliver to Atiku Abubakar, then vice president of Nigeria.

The money was never delivered, but Ellis said to be found guilty under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, "it is not required that the payment actually be made. It is the offer or authorization (of the bribe) that completes the crime."

The defense has said Jefferson never intended to deliver the money, though his attorneys have never explained what plans Jefferson had for the cash.

Ellis also told the jury that it cannot take into consideration the fact that Jefferson did not take the stand in his own defense, as is his right. No one can even mention it, Ellis said.

Ellis also cautioned the jurors that no deliberations can occur when any single member of the jury is in the bathroom or otherwise out of the room.

He prosecuted Medgar Evers' killer; now faces jail

By Jerry Mitchell, The (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger

JACKSON, Miss. — He was an internationally acclaimed prosecutor before becoming a well-respected judge on the Hinds County bench. Now Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter is expected to take his seat behind bars after pleading guilty Thursday to obstruction of justice for lying to an FBI agent investigating corruption.

A sentencing date has not been set. It will be before U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson. DeLaughter's plea agreement calls for him to serve 18 months in prison. The remaining four counts of mail fraud conspiracy and involvement in a bribery scheme have been dismissed as part of that agreement.

However, Davidson has the leeway to reject the agreement. If he does, DeLaughter can withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial.

It is the tragic end to what seemed like a fairy tale career, captured in part in the 1996 Rob Reiner film, Ghosts of Mississippi, which described events leading to the successful reprosecution in 1994 of Klansman Byron De La Beckwith.

DeLaughter penned a book about the experience, Never Too Late, in which he talked about overcoming impossible odds to prosecute Beckwith, who shot NAACP leader Medgar Evers in the back in 1963.

Evers' brother, Charles, said he's saddened to see DeLaughter plead guilty. In prosecuting Beckwith, DeLaughter "lost a lot of friends," he said. "To me, it's such a terrible thing to see him go out like this. I just hope when the judge sentences him, he will look at the good things he's done in the past, not just with Medgar."

As a judge, DeLaughter has drawn praise for work, moving his docket quickly and handling as many as 1,200 cases in a year. And he has been praised for his innovations, getting bad check writers to work off their debts, rather than sending them to prison for eight years or more.

The case DeLaughter pleaded guilty to Thursday involved multimillionaire Dickie Scruggs, who earned his fortune through settlements of mass torts against asbestos and tobacco companies and also was portrayed in a Hollywood movie — the 1999 film, The Insider.

Scruggs had already pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe DeLaughter in a legal fees lawsuit filed by Scruggs' former partner, Bob Wilson. According to prosecutors, the bribe itself was not money, but Scruggs recommending DeLaughter for a federal judgeship to his brother-in-law, then-U.S. senatorTrent Lott.

A Lott spokesman has said the senator made a "courtesy call" to DeLaughter and that DeLaughter was never seriously considered for the position. Lott recommended someone else.

DeLaughter has vehemently denied he took any bribe, money or otherwise, and has repeatedly insisted he ruled according to law in Scruggs' case. According to his attorneys, he passed a lie-detector test in which he said he was never influenced in the case.

But Thursday, DeLaughter admitted he lied to FBI agents in 2007 when he said he "never spoke with" his former boss, one-time Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters, about the Wilson case. The Scruggs' legal team has said they hired Peters to influence DeLaughter.

"I'm pleased to see another of the wrongdoers brought to justice," said Wilson's lawyer, Charlie Merkel of Clarksdale, Miss., who attended Thursday's hearing. "I can't imagine a more despicable act by a judicial official," Merkel said.

DeLaughter's plea shows that the story told by then-lawyers Joey Langston and Tim Balducci is true, he said.

Wilson and another former law partner, Alwyn Luckey, sued Scruggs in 1994 for legal fees they say Scruggs owed them from asbestos litigation. In 2005, a federal magistrate judge ordered Scruggs to pay $17 million to Luckey.

The next year, a special master in Hinds County Circuit Court recommended Scruggs also owed back legal fees to Wilson, prompting Wilson's lawyers to ask for $15 million.

In recent sworn testimony, Balducci described how they retained Peters to influence DeLaughter and how they would send possible pleadings to Peters — only to get back marked up copies for revisions.

DeLaughter eventually rejected the special master's recommendation, concluding Scruggs owed Wilson no more than a belated $1.5 million payment.

Balducci said DeLaughter ruled in the end that Scruggs owed zero, despite a lack of any documentation.

"If you look back, in the history of that case, the boxes and boxes, and volumes of documents in that case and all of the orders issued by Judge DeLaughter in that case, that order, singularly, is the only order that he ever entered with no support, no reasoning, no grounds, no basis," Balducci said.

DeLaughter is expected to lose his law license and his seat on the bench. He has been suspended with pay from the bench since March 2008 pending an investigation by the state Commission on Judicial Performance. His judicial salary is more than $104,000.

Peters, who received $1 million from Scruggs for his work, received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony against DeLaughter, whom he once joined forces with to prosecute Beckwith. As part of his cooperation, Peters turned over $425,000 remaining from the $1 million along with his law license.

Matt Steffey, professor of Mississippi College School of Law, is among those angered that Peters — who has endured his share of investigations and charges — has dodged a conviction again.

He believes what's happened to DeLaughter resembles a Shakespearean tragedy. "Unlike the other players in this drama, he did not gain great wealth," he said.

Instead, DeLaughter's flaw was misplaced loyalty, he said. "Many people see it as tragic because but for his longtime friend and mentor, Ed Peters, initiating unlawful activity, Judge DeLaughter would remain a public servant."

It was loyalty Peters himself did not display, he said. "When push came to shove, he was willing to implicate his friend in order to avoid prison time himself."

© Copyright 2007 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

WLBT: Legal community reacts to DeLaughter's plea

Updated: July 31, 2009 12:26 AM
Legal community reacts to DeLaughter's plea

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Members of the state's legal community are reacting to DeLaughter's guilty plea.

"I've known Bobby DeLaughter for many, many years and this is a great surprise to me. He was a courageous prosecutor when I was a deputy sheriff a good judge. It's heart-breaking to see this system but I think we got to look very close at where were at in our justice system," said Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant.

"DeLaughter unfortunately is not a person anyone can look up to he has disappointed the bench, the bar, and more importantly his family and he sold his soul to the devil," said attorney Bill Kirksey.

Florida Times-Union

Former St. Johns commission chairman pleads guilty to $10,000 bribe
Tom Manuel has since repaid all but $3,400 of that money and must repay the rest

* By Paul Pinkham

Former St. Johns County Commission Chairman Thomas G. Manuel pleaded guilty today to one count of taking a $10,000 bribe.

He also admitted to taking a $50,000 bribe, but that was dropped in the plea agreement.

Manuel had insisted since a federal grand jury indicted him in October that he didn’t solicit and accept bribes to influence county business. He called the charges payback for taking on powerful people in the county.

Friday he confirmed the $10,000 was from the Falcone Group, developer of Twin Creeks, in return for his support of the development. The money was to be charitable contributions to his Political Action Committee and the Council on Aging.

He has since repaid all but $3,400 of that money and must repay the rest. The $50,000 was already seized.

Manuel, 64, told the judge Friday that he suffers from bipolar disorder and depression.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled. The maximum sentence for two counts of bribery is 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

Gov. Charlie Crist suspended Manuel Oct. 17, a day after he was indicted. The retired businessman and banker won a four-year term in 2006 as a Republican. Ex-St. Johns Commissioner Pleads Guilty -- Thomas Manuel Faces Up To 10 Years In Jail, $200,000 Fine

Ex-St. Johns Commissioner Pleads Guilty -- Thomas Manuel Faces Up To 10 Years In Jail, $200,000 Fine

POSTED: Friday, July 31, 2009
UPDATED: 1:30 pm EDT July 31, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A former St. Johns County commissioner who denied for the past year that he accepted bribes while in office pleaded guilty Friday to one of two counts of bribery.

Thomas Manuel was chairman of the commission in June 2008 when he was indicted by federal prosecutors and suspended from office by Gov. Charlie Crist.

According to the indictment, Manuel "knowingly and corruptly solicited, demanded, accepted and agreed to accept" $10,000 and $50,000 bribes for his influence in business pending before the St. Johns County Commission.

In federal court Friday, Manuel pleaded guilty to accepting a $10,000 bribe from a developer. If the plea agreement is accepted, the second count would be dropped.

Manuel could face up to 10 years in prison and a $200,000 fine on the bribery charge.

The bribes allegedly occurred between April 10 and June 5, 2008, and were investigated by the FBI's Public Corruption Unit.

Manuel never made a public comment after his indictment, but told reporter Jennifer Bauer in June 2008 that he believed the investigation was politically motivated.

Manuel, 64, of Ponte Vedra Beach, is retired after careers in the U.S. Navy, banking and running a travel agency.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

University of North Texas: If you are arrested, do you know your rights? Psychologist says most people don't

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Thanks to thousands of episodes of "Law and Order" and its spinoffs airing almost daily on cable networks, most Americans instantly recognize "You have the right to remain silent..." as the beginning of a Miranda warning.

But few Americans realize that nearly 900 variations of the Miranda warning are being used by federal, state and county jurisdictions across the United States, with the warning ranging from 21 to 408 words.

And if a survey of college undergraduates is an indication, few Americans are truly knowledgeable about their Miranda rights, according to a University of North Texas forensic psychologist.

Dr. Richard Rogers, professor of psychology, contacted police officers and attorneys in 945 different jurisdictions to determine the comprehensibility of the Miranda versions. His research has been funded by more than $800,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation's Law and Social Sciences Program.

Rogers notes that incomprehensible may lead to inadmissible confessions as well as violations of constitutional protections.

"Both prosecutors and defense attorneys are strongly vested in ‘getting it right,'" he says.

The Miranda warnings resulted from Miranda v. Arizona, a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case. By a 5-4 majority, the justices decided that the Constitution's Fifth Amendment prohibition against self-incrimination applied to an individual who was in police custody or "deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." To protect Americans against self-incrimination, the court ruled that, before being questioned, a person suspected of a crime must be informed of his or her right to be silent and to have an attorney. However, the decision determined only the components of the Miranda warning -- not the actual language.

"Miranda warnings have five components: right to silence, the risk of breaking silence, the right to an attorney, the right to free legal counsel and the right to assert these rights at any time," Rogers says. "However, the wording of some of these components is vague. In one study, 20 percent of defendants said they didn't want a court-appointed attorney because they couldn't afford it. They didn't understand the court-appointed attorney was free."

Rogers recently surveyed 100 UNT undergraduates about their knowledge of the Miranda warnings. He discovered that almost 64 percent displayed two or more fundamental errors in their understanding of the warnings.

Almost 28 percent of these students, he says, were not aware that the Constitution guarantees their right to silence.

"They believe that you're damned if you do speak up and damned if you don't speak up. They think their silence would be viewed at trial as incriminating evidence because they had something to hide," Rogers says. "The courts assume that people believe that silence cannot be used against them, but less than 1 percent of jurisdictions actually disclose this information in their Miranda warning."

The undergraduates in the survey were also confused about the right to counsel component of the warning. Almost 35 percent believed law enforcement officials could continue an interrogation after a suspect requests an attorney.

"Many students said that you cannot stop and ask for an attorney after you start talking to police," Rogers says.

He notes that the student survey, plus research on defendants, show that the criminal justice system needs to reject the idea that all Americans are knowledgeable about Miranda warnings and "begin determining what to communicate, how to communicate and what to assess on an individual basis."

"When privileged and highly educated members of our society display such deficient understanding, how is the garden-variety detainee going to fare?" he says.

The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy prison sample, which assessed 1,173 prisoners in 30 states, determined that 70 percent of the inmates read at the sixth-grade reading level or below.

Miranda warnings, however, range in their overall reading level from second grade to post college, Rogers discovered.

"The overall reading levels are sometimes deceptive. The average reading level for the ‘right to silence' component is grade 5 to 6, but the average for the legal counsel component is grade 10," says Rogers, who also surveyed mentally challenged defendants on their abilities to understand the warnings. He discovered that while the lowest-functioning defendants could comprehend only 24 percent of a sample Miranda warning, even the highest-functioning defendants "could only muster an average comprehension rate of 66 percent."

"Many legal terms, like ‘waive,' ‘exercise,' ‘appointed' and ‘counsel,' typically require the equivalent of a 10th- or even a 12th-grade education," he says.

The Miranda warnings that Rogers gathered in his study included 122 warnings used specifically for juveniles. He discovered that these warnings tended to be more than 50 words longer than versions intended for all age groups, and required the same reading level. Past research, however, has shown juvenile offenders typically function four years below expected achievement levels.

In California v. Prysock in 1981, the Supreme Court ruled that Miranda warnings don't have to be given in precise wording, "as long as a fully effective equivalent conveying the intended content is there."

As a possible solution, Rogers and his research team are now developing simplified warnings -- below sixth-grade reading level -- that he says can be substituted for warnings that are more than 150 words long "and require partial college education to understand."

"Clinging to legally and scientifically unsound Miranda warnings will continue to result in unacceptable consequences, including the unwarranted confinement of the innocent and failure to confine the guilty," Rogers says. "Police chiefs, generally speaking, see the value of Miranda warnings and don't believe they impede their ability to prosecute."

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108
Contact: Nancy Kolsti (940) 565-3509

Jury Prepares to Decide Congressman Jefferson's Bribery Case

F.B.I. agents say they found $90,000 in William J. Jefferson’s home freezer.
Photo credit: U.S. Attorneys Office, Alexandria, VA via AP

Published: July 29, 2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Former Representative William J. Jefferson put his office up for sale and intended to get “top dollar for it,” prosecutors said Wednesday in closing arguments at his corruption trial.

With both the prosecution and the defense completing their presentations, the jury is expected to begin deliberations on Thursday in the case against Mr. Jefferson, who is charged with 16 counts of bribery and other offenses.

A former Democratic congressman from Louisiana, Mr. Jefferson is accused of improperly seeking millions of dollars from various African business ventures, as well as seeking to bribe the vice president of Nigeria. In a 2005 raid, the F.B.I. found $90,000 neatly wrapped in aluminum foil in Mr. Jefferson’s home freezer.

The six-week trial consisted almost exclusively of prosecutors laying out their case that Mr. Jefferson schemed to use his office to promote initiatives by American companies in Africa. In exchange for his help, prosecutors said, Mr. Jefferson required the companies to provide generous benefits to relatives, including his wife, brother and sons-in-law.

The defense presentation on Tuesday lasted barely two hours. Mr. Jefferson, 62, who represented New Orleans for 18 years until voted out last year, did not take the stand.

Rebeca Bellows, a federal prosecutor, told the jury on Wednesday that Mr. Jefferson “year after year, scheme after scheme, betrayed the trust of the people of New Orleans.” She noted that witnesses had testified during the trial that Mr. Jefferson regularly increased the amount of kickbacks he was demanding. He was greedy, she said.

Robert Trout, Mr. Jefferson’s lawyer, argued to the jury that Mr. Jefferson’s activities in promoting the business ventures to African governments did not qualify as “official acts” under public corruption laws.

Although Mr. Jefferson had solicited support from both American agencies and senior African government officials, often using his Congressional stationery and office staff, Mr. Trout told the jury that they were not official acts. He said that Mr. Jefferson never introduced legislation or sought budget earmarks for any of the projects.

“All he did was carry himself like a congressman” while involved in the ventures, Mr. Trout said. He said that Mr. Jefferson was involved in a private capacity because, as an African-American, “He loved to help Africa.”

Mr. Jefferson, a tall and courtly figure, had long been a popular official in New Orleans and capitalized on his life story as someone who picked cotton as a youth and eventually graduated from Harvard Law School.

His family of five daughters — three of whom also graduated from Harvard Law School — and his wife sat directly behind him reading Scriptures on Wednesday.

The Jefferson investigation pitted Congress against the Justice Department in a dispute over whether the F.B.I. violated the Constitution’s separation of powers by raiding his Congressional office and seizing documents.

An appeals court ruled that the bureau’s search was constitutionally flawed and ordered some documents returned to him; the Supreme Court let that ruling stand.

Although prosecutors spoke of tens of millions of dollars in potential gain for Mr. Jefferson and his relatives, most of the schemes never materialized and far less money changed hands. His wife, for example, was given large blocks of stock in a company that went bust.

His brother, Mose Jefferson, made $21,000 on a sugar deal, evidence showed. And Vernon L. Jackson, a businessman, pleaded guilty and is serving a term of more than seven years for paying $367,000 to Mr. Jefferson over a four-year period.

In her summation, Ms. Bellows showed the jury a photo of the aluminum-foil-clad cash in brick-size portions surrounding a box of frozen Pillsbury pie crusts. The money in the freezer came from the F.B.I. via a cooperating witness whose conversations with Mr. Jefferson were taped in audio and video.

In 2005, the F.B.I. provided $100,000 through the witness, Lori Mody, to bribe Atiku Abubakar, then the Nigerian vice president, for help with a telecommunications deal involving Mr. Jackson’s company.

In his summation, Mr. Trout acknowledged that Mr. Jefferson agreed to try to bribe Mr. Abubakar. “He did something stupid,” Mr. Trout told the jury, blaming it partly on the entreaties of Ms. Mody, a businesswoman hoping to conduct business in Africa. Mr. Trout argued that Mr. Jefferson never intended to go through with the bribe and that is why most of the money was found in the freezer.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Abubakar left Washington for Nigeria earlier than Mr. Jefferson had expected and failed to get the money to him in time.

Because of his agreement to pay the bribe, Mr. Jefferson was the first member of Congress to be charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law usually used against American businesses.

Clarence Darrow Meets Clarence Birdseye

By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"I almost think I should begin with a joke about cold cash or frozen assets," defense lawyer Robert Trout told the jury at the start of his opening statement yesterday.

Probably a good instinct: Trout has little to lose.

His client is William Jefferson, the then-congressman caught on film by the FBI picking up a briefcase full of $100,000 in bribe money in a Pentagon City parking lot. That's the same congressman who was caught days later with 90,000 of those marked dollars wrapped in foil and put in food boxes in the freezer of his home.

As the trial opened at the Alexandria federal courthouse, prosecutors spent 75 minutes laying out their case, but really all they needed to do was show jurors the photo of the contents of Jefferson's freezer: a box of Pillsbury pie crusts (complete with the grinning doughboy), a box of Boca Burgers and stacks of greenbacks.

This left Trout little to work with. Could he say the pie crusts made his client flaky? Or might the Boca Burgers justify a health-food version of the Twinkie Defense?

It nearly came to that.

The money in the freezer? "He was leaving town for the month of August. He was looking to hide the cash . . . so it would not be found by the housekeeper or an intruder," Trout explained.

Payments made to Jefferson by a businessman who pleaded guilty to bribing the congressman? "Kind of a finder's fee," Trout reasoned.

The $100,000 bribe Jefferson had agreed to give the vice president of Nigeria? "An upfront payment."

Jefferson being caught on tape soliciting bribes? His client, Trout said, had consumed "a lot of wine."

You know you're in trouble when your lawyer describes you as sleazy but not technically a criminal. "He used who he was to help businesses in which his family members had an interest," Trout said. "These facts alone are not themselves crimes."

"A lot of what you hear you will disapprove of and find distasteful coming from a member of Congress," Trout readily confessed. "Did he say and do foolish things? . . . Yes, he did." But, the lawyer argued, "he is not charged with a violation of House ethics rules. He is accused of a crime."

Jurors wore incredulous looks as prosecutor Mark Lytle gave his "startling and often disheartening account of public corruption at the highest level of our government." He beckoned to the briefcase on the prosecution table that held the $100,000 given Jefferson by the FBI informant. The defendant, his legs crossed, watched the opening argument with the detachment of a man viewing a movie. A closer look revealed that he was clenching and unclenching his jaw muscles, and rubbing his fingers together underneath the defense table.

When Trout got up to make his defense, he was frequently met by squinty, skeptical glances from the jury box. One juror smiled the way parents do when listening to the dubious excuses of a child caught breaking the rules. "Let me start with the elephant in the room: the money in the freezer," Trout began.

Yes, but what to say about it? readers were invited to give Jefferson some free legal advice, and they came up with dozens of possibilities: "Jefferson was conducting his own investigation of FBI agents trying to bribe members of Congress. . . . He has the disease monephorgis, i.e., he eats money. . . . Rep. Jefferson had earlier received an e-mail from His Royal Majesty Chike Ubah of Nigeria. . . . Jefferson was in fact preparing for his role in a new TV reality-based series, 'Cold Cash.' "

Trout went nearly that far when, in a variation of the Marion Barry defense, he suggested that the FBI informant set his client up. "Lori Mody is a damsel in distress," he said of the businesswoman who wore a wire to nab Jefferson offering to bribe the Nigerian vice president. "He was trying to respond to her needs and tell her what she wants to hear, and so he does something really stupid. He goes along with it."

To that, Trout added all the standard defenses, including the self-made man ("Neither of his parents graduated from high school") and the family man ("They decided, wouldn't it be nice if they created a company that included all the daughters?"). Then Trout added a healthy measure of race. He mentioned that Jefferson's brother and son-in-law are, like the defendant, African American. He mentioned three times that a particular meeting happened on "Martin Luther King weekend" and said Jefferson had a friendship with Robert Johnson of Black Entertainment Television. "He loves Africa," Trout mentioned.

He certainly loved doing business there. The defense lawyer said Jefferson hadn't violated the law because he enriched his family through dealings "in Africa, where William Jefferson had no authority." From there, the defenses piled up. Prosecution witnesses: "Their stories changed." Payments to Jefferson by the company's owner: "This was in recognition of the tremendous value William Jefferson had been able to put in." And, of course, the FBI entrapment defense: "With a lot of time, and a lot of wine, they set out to bag a congressman."

Jefferson was bagged? Maybe, but what really did him in were the Pillsbury and Boca Burger boxes.

To read more legal advice to Jefferson from Post readers, go to

Jury starts deliberating in ex-congressman's trial

Jury starts deliberating in ex-congressman's trial

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Jury deliberations have started in the corruption trial of a former Louisiana congressman who gained notoriety after FBI agents found $90,000 hidden in his freezer.

William Jefferson, a Democrat who represented parts of New Orleans, is accused of receiving more than $400,000 in bribes and soliciting millions more in exchange for using his influence to broker business deals in Africa.

Jefferson's attorneys say he was acting as a private business consultant and his actions did not constitute bribery under federal law.

The jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon, following about six weeks of testimony.

In August 2005, FBI agents searched Jefferson's Washington home and found the cash hidden in his freezer.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. \

Could St. Johns County, Florida Be A Little More Sensitive to Rights and Feelings of Women Lifeguards

Here's a post from the County's website:

"Kings of the Beach – Come out and watch the annual competition between SJC full-time and seasonal lifeguards July 28th - August 1st. There will be a variety of events centered on ocean rescue techniques and skills. The team that wins the most events or gets the most points is crowned King of the Beach 2009."

What do you reckon?

Now, will there be other public officials indicted in St. Johns County and St. Augustine?

Our former County Commission Chairman, Republican THOMAS G. MANUEL, pleads guilty to bribery in Federal Court tomorrow.


How many other corrupt Northeast Florida public officials are under investigation?

Will TOM MANUEL agree to testify against them?

What's next?

What do you reckon?

St. Johns County and City of St. Augustine Both Need Independent Inspectors General to Root Out Fraud, Waste, Abuse, Misfeasance & Malfeasance, Etc

St. Johns County and City of St. Augustine both need independent Inspectors General to root out fraud, waste, abuse, misfeasance and malfeasance

Otherwise, how dare they try to raise our taxes without an IG to question spending?

Government is expensive. Corruption is a cost we can't afford any longer.

The county spending spree (front page article in today's St. Augustine below) and the guilty plea of former County Commission Chair THOMAS MANUEL to bribery charges (expected tomorrow) put to rest any doubt that this is perhaps the most corrupt county in Florida.

So what do we do? Vote Democratic. We need to end one-party misrule.

We need Inspectors General. Commissioners refused to add one to their County Charter last year -- citizens defeated their half-baked charter (twice).

Don't take no for an answer -- President Ronald Wilson Reagan said he wanted Inspectors General "meaner than a junkyard dog" to protect the public fisc.

State and federal agencies, Miami-Dade County, Wayne County Michigan (Detroit) and New Orleans have Inspectors General.

What are we waiting for?

Otherwise, the good-ole-boy system will continue to waste our funds and betray the public trust. If you call R.J. LARIZZA's State's Attorney's office and tell them about lawbreaking by a local government official, they will tell you to "call the Sheriff."

That is, at best, facetious when it is the Sheriff's political machine you're complaining about. The SAO won't even mention the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

Come 2010, let us have a St. Johns County Inspector General with integrity and independence, who can investigate big-shot crooks without fear or favor. Then lets work for an Inspector General in the CIty of St. Augustine.



We need an anti-bribery campaign in St. Johns County and St. Augustine and the other government agencies here.

People who are offered bribes should turn in the bribepayer.

People who are asked to give bribes should turn in the public official.

A culture of corruption can be changed one day at a time, just as courageous citizens have done in Sicily.

Stand up to bribepayers and bribetakers, who destroy our democracy.

Interesting that there's never been one editorial in local newspapers against bribery, even though our former Republican County Commission Chair THOMAS MANUEL is pleading guilty tomorrow, after ndictment for bribery,for accepting $60,000.

Oleaginous St. Augustine corporate lawyer GEORGE McCLURE, longtime developer lawyer who shows his open contempt for public particpation in govenment, was scheduled to be a witness against MANUEL. Did McCLURE get a deal from federal prosecutors? If not, why would be McCLURE testifying? Is this a sudden pang of conscience after inflicting so many ugly, tree-killing, wetland-destroying projects on our community?

What do you reckon?

1 fired for $40,000 spree

1 fired for $40,000 spree
Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 5:45 am by Peter Guinta

Eight employees with St. Johns County’s Family Integrity Program will face — or have faced — disciplinary action after they went on a $40,000 buying spree June 29 and June 30 that administrators say violated county guidelines.

County Administrator Michael Wanchick said Wednesday that the acting clinic director knew about the purchases and even signed off on a few.

“He should have known better,” Wanchick said.

The acting director was fired this week.

Also, the department’s chief financial officer and one case manager resigned. Five others face less severe discipline, though none of them are in danger of being fired.

“They all displayed a blatant disregard for county purchasing procedures, coupled with poor personal judgment,” Wanchick said. “This type of activity is not something we’ll tolerate.”

Director of Administrative Affairs Stacey Stanish said a Family Integrity employee called July 1 and told administrators about the questionable purchases.

“We immediately contacted the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and our internal fraud, waste and abuse investigator,” Stanish said. “The Sheriff’s Office said no laws were broken. And our investigator found no fraud but did find waste and abuse of county policies.”

All the employees involved were placed on paid leave when the investigation began.

Over the following weeks, administrators questioned the eight, examined receipts and returned items to merchants for a refund.

Stanish said, “Of $18,000 in unreasonable purchases, we got $14,000 back. The merchants were easy to work with.”

Family Integrity is a state-funded unit handling the licensing and education of foster care parents as well as adoption and foster care placement. The unit has earned many state awards for innovation and excellence, one earlier this year.

Stanish has been given the responsibility for day-to-day decisions.

“These were good people with good intentions,” she said about the disciplined employees. “Our concern was how they went about purchasing those things.”

Wanchick said program money is sometimes left over at the end of the year. Staffers can use that surplus to buy “reasonable or necessary” items for their offices, he said.

The eight employees bought desks, chairs, DVD players and televisions, and items for foster children such as clothing, shoes and toiletries. But they also bought 99 DVDs, several iPods, a camera and music compact discs.

Wanchick said he was disappointed this incident occurred.

“One or two DVDs might be considered reasonable and necessary. Certainly not 99. Those items are not even in the gray area. In this (economic) environment, that’s extremely egregious.”

All the employees would be treated fairly, he said.

“Lives and careers are at stake here,” he said. “Things like this happen in any organization.

“I think we should be judged on the way we reacted. Once we were aware, we took swift action. This cannot be tolerated, or we’ll be talking about a lot more money someday.”

Washington Post: CONGRESSMAN's Wife Pleads Guilty to Bribery

Rep. Conyers' Wife Pleads Guilty to Bribery Charge

By Ben Pershing
The wife of House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge today and now faces a likely jail sentence after being implicated in an investigation of corruption on the Detroit City Council.

Monica Conyers, the city council's president pro tem, pleaded to a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery, admitting that she took thousands of dollars in cash payments in exchange for her vote in favor of a $1.2 billion city sludge-hauling contract for Houston-based Synagro Technologies, Inc. A former official with the company and another Detroit businessman have already pleaded guilty in connection with the scandal.

Monica Conyers is currently free on personal bond, and it's not clear whether she will keep her position on the council until she is sentenced. According to the Detroit News, Conyers' attorney believes she faces 30-37 months of prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Federal prosecutors say she faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Conyers reportedly had also been under investigation for allegedly accepting $40,000 worth of jewelry from a pawn shop owner with business before the city council. Today's plea agreement did not reference those allegations, and prosecutors said their investigation is now closed.

John Conyers, meanwhile, declined to talk to reporters in the Capitol today, and his office provided this statement from a spokesperson: "This has been a trying time for the Conyers family, and with hope and prayer they will make it through this as a family. Public officials must expect to be held to the highest ethical and legal standards. With this in mind, Mr. Conyers wants to work towards helping his family and the city recover from this serious matter."

In his capacity as Judiciary chairman, John Conyers is the lead House official conducting oversight of the Justice Department and the FBI. A Judiciary panel spokesman would not entertain a question on whether Conyers recused or considered recusing himself from any matters under the committee's jurisdiction while the investigation of Monica Conyers was underway.

Terrence Berg, the U.S. attorney in charge of the investigation in Michigan, told the Detroit Free Press: "I also want to make it equally clear that the evidence offered no suggestion that U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Mrs. Conyers' husband, had any knowledge or role in Mrs. Conyers' illegal conduct, nor did the congressman attempt to influence this investigation in any way."

John Conyers isn't the first Michigan House member to have a relative face legal trouble. In September, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D), son of Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D), pleaded guilty to lying under oath and resigned from office after being accused of trying to cover up a sexual affair with a former aide.

By Ben Pershing | June 26, 2009; 3:30 PM ET




§2C1.1. Offering, Giving, Soliciting, or Receiving a Bribe; Extortion Under Color of Official Right; Fraud Involving the Deprivation of the Intangible Right to Honest Services of Public Officials; Conspiracy to Defraud by Interference with Governmental Functions

(a) Base Offense Level:

(1) 14, if the defendant was a public official; or

(2) 12, otherwise.

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If the offense involved more than one bribe or extortion, increase by 2 levels.

(2) If the value of the payment, the benefit received or to be received in return for the payment, the value of anything obtained or to be obtained by a public official or others acting with a public official, or the loss to the government from the offense, whichever is greatest, exceeded $5,000, increase by the number of levels from the table in §2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud) corresponding to that amount.

(3) If the offense involved an elected public official or any public official in a high-level decision-making or sensitive position, increase by 4 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 18, increase to level 18.

(4) If the defendant was a public official who facilitated (A) entry into the United States for a person, a vehicle, or cargo; (B) the obtaining of a passport or a document relating to naturalization, citizenship, legal entry, or legal resident status; or (C) the obtaining of a government identification document, increase by 2 levels.

(c) Cross References

(1) If the offense was committed for the purpose of facilitating the commission of another criminal offense, apply the offense guideline applicable to a conspiracy to commit that other offense, if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(2) If the offense was committed for the purpose of concealing, or obstructing justice in respect to, another criminal offense, apply §2X3.1 (Accessory After the Fact) or §2J1.2 (Obstruction of Justice), as appropriate, in respect to that other offense, if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(3) If the offense involved a threat of physical injury or property destruction, apply §2B3.2 (Extortion by Force or Threat of Injury or Serious Damage), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(d) Special Instruction for Fines - Organizations

(1) In lieu of the pecuniary loss under subsection (a)(3) of §8C2.4 (Base Fine), use the greatest of: (A) the value of the unlawful payment; (B) the value of the benefit received or to be received in return for the unlawful payment; or (C) the consequential damages resulting from the unlawful payment.


Statutory Provisions: 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, 78dd-2, 78dd-3; 18 U.S.C. §§ 201(b)(1), (2), 226, 227, 371 (if conspiracy to defraud by interference with governmental functions), 872, 1341 (if the scheme or artifice to defraud was to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services of a public official), 1342 (if the scheme or artifice to defraud was to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services of a public official), 1343 (if the scheme or artifice to defraud was to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services of a public official), 1951. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1. Definitions.—For purposes of this guideline:

"Government identification document" means a document made or issued by or under the authority of the United States Government, a State, or a political subdivision of a State, which, when completed with information concerning a particular individual, is of a type intended or commonly accepted for the purpose of identification of individuals.

"Payment" means anything of value. A payment need not be monetary.

"Public official" shall be construed broadly and includes the following:

(A) "Public official" as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 201(a)(1).

(B) A member of a state or local legislature. "State" means a State of the United States, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

(C) An officer or employee or person acting for or on behalf of a state or local government, or any department, agency, or branch of government thereof, in any official function, under or by authority of such department, agency, or branch of government, or a juror in a state or local trial.

(D) Any person who has been selected to be a person described in subdivisions (A), (B), or (C), either before or after such person has qualified.

(E) An individual who, although not otherwise covered by subdivisions (A) through (D): (i) is in a position of public trust with official responsibility for carrying out a government program or policy; (ii) acts under color of law or official right; or (iii) participates so substantially in government operations as to possess de facto authority to make governmental decisions (e.g., which may include a leader of a state or local political party who acts in the manner described in this subdivision).

2. More than One Bribe or Extortion.—Subsection (b)(1) provides an adjustment for offenses involving more than one incident of either bribery or extortion. Related payments that, in essence, constitute a single incident of bribery or extortion (e.g., a number of installment payments for a single action) are to be treated as a single bribe or extortion, even if charged in separate counts.

In a case involving more than one incident of bribery or extortion, the applicable amounts under subsection (b)(2) (i.e., the greatest of the value of the payment, the benefit received or to be received, the value of anything obtained or to be obtained by a public official or others acting with a public official, or the loss to the government) are determined separately for each incident and then added together.

3. Application of Subsection (b)(2).—"Loss", for purposes of subsection (b)(2)(A), shall be determined in accordance with Application Note 3 of the Commentary to §2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud). The value of "the benefit received or to be received" means the net value of such benefit. Examples: (A) A government employee, in return for a $500 bribe, reduces the price of a piece of surplus property offered for sale by the government from $10,000 to $2,000; the value of the benefit received is $8,000. (B) A $150,000 contract on which $20,000 profit was made was awarded in return for a bribe; the value of the benefit received is $20,000. Do not deduct the value of the bribe itself in computing the value of the benefit received or to be received. In the preceding examples, therefore, the value of the benefit received would be the same regardless of the value of the bribe.

4. Application of Subsection (b)(3).—

(A) Definition.—"High-level decision-making or sensitive position" means a position characterized by a direct authority to make decisions for, or on behalf of, a government department, agency, or other government entity, or by a substantial influence over the decision-making process.

(B) Examples.—Examples of a public official in a high-level decision-making position include a prosecuting attorney, a judge, an agency administrator, and any other public official with a similar level of authority. Examples of a public official who holds a sensitive position include a juror, a law enforcement officer, an election official, and any other similarly situated individual.

5. Application of Subsection (c).—For the purposes of determining whether to apply the cross references in this section, the "resulting offense level" means the final offense level (i.e., the offense level determined by taking into account both the Chapter Two offense level and any applicable adjustments from Chapter Three, Parts A-D). See §1B1.5(d); Application Note 2 of the Commentary to §1B1.5 (Interpretation of References to Other Offense Guidelines).

6. Inapplicability of §3B1.3.—Do not apply §3B1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust or Use of Special Skill).

7. Upward Departure Provisions.—In some cases the monetary value of the unlawful payment may not be known or may not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offense. For example, a small payment may be made in exchange for the falsification of inspection records for a shipment of defective parachutes or the destruction of evidence in a major narcotics case. In part, this issue is addressed by the enhancements in §2C1.1(b)(2) and (c)(1), (2), and (3). However, in cases in which the seriousness of the offense is still not adequately reflected, an upward departure is warranted. See Chapter Five, Part K (Departures).

In a case in which the court finds that the defendant’s conduct was part of a systematic or pervasive corruption of a governmental function, process, or office that may cause loss of public confidence in government, an upward departure may be warranted. See §5K2.7 (Disruption of Governmental Function).

Background: This section applies to a person who offers or gives a bribe for a corrupt purpose, such as inducing a public official to participate in a fraud or to influence such individual’s official actions, or to a public official who solicits or accepts such a bribe.

The object and nature of a bribe may vary widely from case to case. In some cases, the object may be commercial advantage (e.g., preferential treatment in the award of a government contract). In others, the object may be issuance of a license to which the recipient is not entitled. In still others, the object may be the obstruction of justice. Consequently, a guideline for the offense must be designed to cover diverse situations.

In determining the net value of the benefit received or to be received, the value of the bribe is not deducted from the gross value of such benefit; the harm is the same regardless of value of the bribe paid to receive the benefit. In a case in which the value of the bribe exceeds the value of the benefit, or in which the value of the benefit cannot be determined, the value of the bribe is used because it is likely that the payer of such a bribe expected something in return that would be worth more than the value of the bribe. Moreover, for deterrence purposes, the punishment should be commensurate with the gain to the payer or the recipient of the bribe, whichever is greater.

Under §2C1.1(b)(3), if the payment was for the purpose of influencing an official act by certain officials, the offense level is increased by 4 levels.

Under §2C1.1(c)(1), if the payment was to facilitate the commission of another criminal offense, the guideline applicable to a conspiracy to commit that other offense will apply if the result is greater than that determined above. For example, if a bribe was given to a law enforcement officer to allow the smuggling of a quantity of cocaine, the guideline for conspiracy to import cocaine would be applied if it resulted in a greater offense level.

Under §2C1.1(c)(2), if the payment was to conceal another criminal offense or obstruct justice in respect to another criminal offense, the guideline from §2X3.1 (Accessory After the Fact) or §2J1.2 (Obstruction of Justice), as appropriate, will apply if the result is greater than that determined above. For example, if a bribe was given for the purpose of concealing the offense of espionage, the guideline for accessory after the fact to espionage would be applied.

Under §2C1.1(c)(3), if the offense involved forcible extortion, the guideline from §2B3.2 (Extortion by Force or Threat of Injury or Serious Damage) will apply if the result is greater than that determined above.

Section 2C1.1 also applies to offenses under 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, 78dd-2, and 78dd-3. Such offenses generally involve a payment to a foreign public official, candidate for public office, or agent or intermediary, with the intent to influence an official act or decision of a foreign government or political party. Typically, a case prosecuted under these provisions will involve an intent to influence governmental action.

Section 2C1.1 also applies to fraud involving the deprivation of the intangible right to honest services of government officials under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341-1343 and conspiracy to defraud by interference with governmental functions under 18 U.S.C. § 371. Such fraud offenses typically involve an improper use of government influence that harms the operation of government in a manner similar to bribery offenses.

Offenses involving attempted bribery are frequently not completed because the offense is reported to authorities or an individual involved in the offense is acting in an undercover capacity. Failure to complete the offense does not lessen the defendant’s culpability in attempting to use public position for personal gain. Therefore, solicitations and attempts are treated as equivalent to the underlying offense.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective January 15, 1988 (see Appendix C, amendment 18); November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendments 120-122); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendments 367 and 422); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendment 547); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 617); November 1, 2002 (see Appendix C, amendment 639); November 1, 2003 (see Appendix C, amendment 653); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 666); November 1, 2007 (see Appendix C, amendment 699); November 1, 2008 (see Appendix C, amendment 720).


From PACER database (U.S. Courts) on United States of America v. THOMAS G. MANUEL:

NOTICE OF HEARING as to Thomas G. Manuel. Change of Plea Hearing set for 7/31/2009 at 10:15 AM in Jacksonville Courtroom 5 A before Magistrate Judge Howard T. Snyder. (PAM) (Entered: 07/30/2009)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Want to Save Crumbling Buildings? Support the St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway

Photo credit: Maureen Ortagus

The excellent article in the Record today by Peter Guinta lacks a matching headline.

No, there is no progress, just double-talk.

St. Augustine and St. Johns County deserve a St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act.

Not "earmarks."

Our City of St. Augustine is an unjust steward and the federal government won't -- and should not -- give it economic stimulus money.

Putting solid waste in the Old City Reservoir? Arresting visual artists?

Dumping semi-treated sewage in our saltwater marsh for years, in secret (with CITY MANAGER WILLIAM HARRISS illegally polling Commissioners about it, in violation of the Sunshine law, but never telling St. Augustine residents or the news media)?

And these lawbreakers dare ask the federal government for funds to the City's coffers? No way.

A Title VI civil rights complaint is pending with EPA against the City of St. Augustine, which could cut off all federal funds due to its environmental racism.

Not one federal dime for environmental polluters, lawbreakers and racists in the government of the City of St. Augustine.

We don't need more foolishness from Congressman JOHN LUIGI MICA.

We don't need pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.

What we do need is a St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act. Let the National Park Service do what it does best. When it comes to preserving and interpreting history and nature, NPS is the best.

For the 450th anniversry of the City (2015) and the 500th anniversary of Florida (2013) and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement here -- which led to the 1964 Civil Rights Act -- we don't need Amateur Hour.

Congress and the Administration should continue to just say "no" to the City of St. Augustine City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS and all his works and pomps (and his minions, toadies, heyboys and developer pals).

JOHN REGAN, City of St. Augustine Chief Operations Officer, and a portion of the infamous, world-famous sewage "pipe" that our City of St. Augustine City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS and other city managers knew was leaking for years (several hundred feet were missing). But City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS didn't bother telling the people or the press ("polling" Commissioners illegally in violation of the Sunshine law and taking no action to fix it for years). This is an environmental crime that was never prosecuted as such by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection or "DEP" (which my late friend David Thundershield Queen said really stands for "Don't Expect Protection").

Photo credit: J.D. Pleasant

If you were an ethical Senator or Congressperson, would you breach your fiduciary duty by giving money to a corrupt City government under investigation by EPA for environmental racism? (Nope. No earmarks for recidivist polluters and wily wastrels, thank you.)

Or would you support the St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act? I reckon.

Good story, but misleading headline: "UF takeover progressing == Movement depends on money to restore historic buildings"

Photo credit: Maureen Ortagus

Publication Date: 07/29/09

The University of Florida's effort to assume ownership and maintenance of Government House and 33 other historic state properties in St. Augustine is moving forward, despite rumors of its demise.

Ed Poppel, vice president of business affairs for the University of Florida, said Tuesday that some buildings, such as solid, historic Government House on King Street, were in dire condition.

Crumbling internally, the gray stone-fronted building is a Spanish-style reproduction built in the 1930s by the Work Projects Administration. Metal beams in its walls are rusting. A complete fix will cost $14 million.

So it's really isn't solid, historic or even Spanish.

The total cost of renovation and restoration for all state buildings here is $23 million.

"(Government House) will be a real challenge," Poppel said. "When we get the money, we can do some promising things here in St. Augustine."

In May 2007, the Legislature passed a bill mandating UF and St. Augustine to forge a contract that would cement the takeover, including a provision that UF organize a "direct support organization" to legally allow private donors to give tax-deductible contributions while also remaining anonymous, if they wished.

However, the bill didn't include any state funding.

Poppel said Florida's congressional delegation is seeking earmarks to pay for the maintenance as well as $5 million toward the cost of a $10 million Interpretive Center in the city's Spanish Quarter colonial village.

"Our goal is to have programs in the (interpretive) center by 2012, to be ready for the 2013 celebration," Poppel said. "This would be a statewide resource and a statewide celebration."

However, Poppel's phrase, "when we get the money," made some city residents, most notably St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles, consider Florida's economy and doubt that UF's takeover will ever happen.

"It's clear that UF would love to have these properties," Boles, a UF alumnus, said Tuesday night. "But the school has lost $148 million in endowments. I doubt these renovations are going to take precedence over the education of their students. The state doesn't have any money."

Boles believes St. Augustine might be able to find private donors to repair the buildings because, he said, local residents give a high priority to historic renovation.

"It could be a lot of years (before the economy improves)," Boles said. "We built many of these buildings with local money in the 1960s. Nothing's changed since then."

St. Augustine celebrated its 400th birthday in 1965. Its 450th comes in 2015.

The city leases the historic buildings from the state in five-year gulps for $1 per year. The city raises about $1.5 million in rent from the buildings but also spends $550,000 a year in maintenance.

Boles wants a 99-year lease and asked for one at a state legislative meeting in County Auditorium.

He was met with silence.

One delegation member, State Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, didn't think turning over state buildings to St. Augustine was "in the best interests of the city."

The University of West Florida took over maintenance and operations of state historic buildings in Pensacola, receiving $500,000 annually from the Legislature to do so, he said.

"That's a formula or model that's been working for years," Proctor said. "Local city commissions can change their priorities every year. These buildings need stability and long-term care. You don't blow the best long-term opportunity (for that)."

Boles said the Interpretive Center is moving along and was a joint St. Augustine and National Park Service project. The Park Service has received $5 million to cover half the cost. And the city received $500,000 from Seventh District Congressman John Mica, R-Longwood, for half the project's planning and design.

"They don't give out $5 million unless they're going to finish it," Boles said.

Dr. Bill Adams, retiring director of the city's Historic Preservation and Heritage Tourism, said the university has never said how much it would cost to pay its staff members here.

"If UF plans to take over these properties, the first thing it needs to do is create a direct support organization," Adams said. "The second thing is name members and start making decisions about what programs they need to do."

Poppel said the proposed Interpretive Center will be a "shared partnership" between the federal government and Florida with the property donated by the city.

In the current economic environment, maintenance costs could be lower. And, he added, there's no doubt the economy would change for the better and UF would have enough money for the historic properties.

"I'm as optimistic today as we were a year ago or two years ago," he said. "We're still as engaged and committed as ever. Nothing's changed."

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record


As told by B.J. Kalaidi at Monday night’s Commission meeting, there was some martini-guzzling by Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., Commissioner NANCY SIKES-KLINE, Commissioner LEEANA FREEMAN, City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN, City Planning and Zoning Director MARK KNIGHT, City Comptroller MARK LITZINGER et al. at Zhanra’s Restaurant on Monday July 13, 2009.

They were partying right after the vote to throw in the towel on the Fish Island case. That's disgusting.

In response, Commissioner ERROL JONES said “I wasn’t there.” Good for him.

In response, City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN, off-camera, made a cutting gesture with both arms that resembled a Hollywood director’s gesture when saying “cut!”

How revealing.

St. Augustine City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN was present at the possible Sunshine violation and evidently wanted to silence Commissioner ERROL JONES from responding to Ms. Kalaidi.

Sounds like a possible obstruction of justice to me.

City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN’s off-camera “cut” gesture to Commissioner ERROL JONES resembled one by President RONALD WILSON REAGAN’s press secretary (James Brady) to TV news cameras in early 1981 outside the Capitol building, when they were filming REAGAN saying something inane, spontaneous and off-message .

Exactly what were the St. Augustine City Commissioners talking about over martinis at Zhanra’s?

Their tanking real estate investments?

The horrible state of the local tourist economy?

The weather?





Sex, drugs and rock and roll?

The well-deserved status of the Mayor’s alma mater, the University of Florida, as a “party school?”

Or how they all just loooove City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS, love developers and hate environmentalists and reformers and people who catch the City in the act of committing environmental law violations, and wish they’d all just go away?

Or how they want to pave over every square inch of St. Augustine to make it resemble an unreasonable facsimile of South Florida?

Or how they enjoy being the lickspittles of the likes of ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD and other developers who destroy wetlands and Native American indigenous Indian archaeological sites?

We don’t know.

The problem with proving a Sunshine law violation is that merely being together is not enough.

Sunshine law violating Commissioners would have to inculpate themselves (or be overheard by eyewitnesses or “earwitnesses”) in order to prove that they committed a crime.

Note to underpaid, undertipped St. Augustine restaurant servers: go back in the kitchen and take lots of notes on what the Commissioners say whenever they have illegal meetings in your restaurant – you may wish to “drop the dime” and call the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Tallahassee to report them.

Are Commissioners violating the Sunshine law? I reckon so. Proving it is difficult.

St. Augustine City Commissioners sometimes take a long recess , apparently for the purpose of delay and eating dinner. (They sup upstairs on the Fourth Floor of City Hall, often eating barbeque).

During these long recesses, Commissioners have been observed talking about Commission business. In fact, two different newspaper reporters from two different newspapers have observed them talking about business before the Commission, including people who had just spoken to the Commissioners.

Two different newspaper reporters observed the apparent Sunshine violations, but never published a story about it. (Reporter Kati Bexley of the St. Augustine Record was one of them.)

In 2007, the St. Augustine Record exposed two Commissioners of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County violating the Sunshine law on videotape. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and then-State's Attorney JOHN TANNER refused to prosecute anyone.

The St. Augustine Record champions the Sunshine law in editorials but has not yet covered its violation by City officials. We look forward to the Record exposing Sunshine klaw violations by the City of St. Augustine. We look forward to criminal prosecution of Sunshine law violations by St. Augustine City Commissioners.

Like antitrust violations or bribery, Sunshine law violations involve consenting adults. White collar criminals rarely sign confessions. Local law enforcement does not often prosecute white collar crimes.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Office of State’s Attorney R.J. LARIZZA are both rather unsophisticated when it comes to ferreting out Sunshine law violations. They lack interest in big-shot crooks in what is widely regarded as the most corrupt county in the State of Florida – one where Republican THOMAS MANUEL, former Chair of the County Commission, stands indicted for bribery.

When I called the State’s Attorney’s office to report an apparent Sunshine violation recently, I was told to “call the Sheriff! “ (That would be the former St. Augustine Police Chief, DAVID SHOAR f/k/a DAVID HOAR, who was hand-picked by St. Augustine City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS. Incredibly, the State’s Attorney told me to call local law enforcement (not even the Florida Department of Law Enforcement).

Such facetious suggestions from the State’s Attorney office are offensive – not unlike telling a civil rights violation victim to call “local law enforcement” over violating his/her rights.

The Florida legislature should consider how the Sunshine law might be simplified. Perhaps they could simply ban members of Boards and Commissions from conversing outside of public meetings, period.

This would solve the proof problem and stop the smugness.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Florida Commission on Ethics Complaint re: COMMISSIONER DONALD CRICHLOW, Architect for Ugly 180 St. George St. Project (& Others Before City Boards)

COMMISSIONER CRICHLOW is representing developer in mediation against the City of St. Augustine, pushing for this building, rejected 4-0 by fellow Commissioners June 9th

COMMISSIONER DONALD CRICHLOW, who often represents developers before City Boards and Commissions (whose members he votes to appoint and whose decisions are appealed to City Commissioners)

Text of July 28, 2009 Ethics Commission complaint I mailed today:
1. In 2003, St. Augustine City Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW pushed for Resolution 2003-1, which allowed a significant deviation from the City of St. Augustine’s nationally-known historic preservation standards – Resolution 2003-1 allows for non-Spanish, non-colonial buildings to be built in St. Augustine’s Historic Preservation Districts in certain circumstances. CRICHLOW admitted on July 27, 2009 at a City Commission meeting that his resolution began with his unnamed architectural client’s desire to tear down or rebuild a brick ranch home located on the Bayfront in St. Augustine, Florida. “That’s kinda where that [Resolution 2003-1] got started.” It was CRICHLOW who presented and made the motion to adopt Resolution 2003-1. The minutes of the meeting where Resolution 2003-1 was adopted are on the City’s website at

2. In 2003, CRICHLOW failed to recuse himself from voting on Resolution 2003-1, voting on a matter that benefitted his architectural clients and was harmful to the public interest in historic preservation in St. Augustine, our Nation’s Oldest City. Two respected City residents, Mr. Henry Whetstone and Ms. Hildegarde Pacetti, mentioned CRICHLOW’s conflict of interest. Id.

3. ISSUE ONE: Was this a prohibited conflict of interest? F.S. 112.313(6). Was there proper disclosure? F.S. 112.3143(2).

4. CRICHLOW is still using the 2003 resolution to push for non-Spanish, non-colonial buildings to be built in St. Augustine’s Historic Preservation Districts in certain circumstances, abusing his public trust for his architectural clients, of whom he has represented a great many before City Boards and Commissions (Planning and Zoning Board, Historical Architectural Review Board, etc.)

5. ISSUE TWO: Is this continuing use of Resolution 2003-1, which was crafted by CRICHLOW to benefit his client, a prohibited conflict of interest? F.S. 112.313(6).
6. On June 8, 2009, Commissioner CRICHLOW, identifying himself as a Commissioner and architect for the developer, published an article in the St. Augustine Record

7. June 8, 2009, Commissioner CRICHLOW’s Resolution 2003-1 was determined by the St. Augustine City Attorney to be illegal, modifying a Comprehensive Plan without a proper public hearing and without adopting an ordinance.

8. On June 8, 2009, City Commissioners rejected Resolution 2003-1 4-0 (CRICHLOW recusing himself) and rejected its putative application to a property at 180 St. George Street for which CRICHLOW was the applicant. CRICHLOW and his clients wanted Commission to authorize a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for an ugly, 17,300 square foot, two-story 20th century building would have been erected by speculator GASPIT SCHECTER– directly across from Government House, the Cathedral and the Plaza de la Constitucion (Slave Market Square). The location was opposed by an outpouring of local residents, including businesspeople and historic preservationists.

9. In response to the 4-0 vote, the developer filed a lawsuit and requested mediation. In the mediation involving the lawsuit against the City of St. Augustine, the St. Augustine Record newspaper reported July 16, 2009 that CRICHLOW is co-represent the 180 St. George Street hotel developer in negotiations with the City o0f St. Augustine:
In Schechter's corner will be St. Augustine attorney George McClure, of McClure Bloodworth, and Crichlow. He'll represent only his client at this mediation, not the city.

10. ISSUE THREE Is Commissioner CRCICHLOW’s representation of a client in mediation in adversary litigation against the City of St. Augustine a prohibited conflict of interest? F.S. 112.313(6).

11. On
July 27, 2009, at a City Commission meeting duly videotaped, CRICHLOW stated that the etiology of Resolution 2003-1 was his architectural client who owned a ranch-style house bordering the Bayfront, who did not want to follow Spanish Colonial style.

12. ISSUE FOUR: Does this admission by CRICHLOW of his motive for Resolution 2003-1 last night (September 27, 2009) establish equitable tolling by revealing a fact not known during the five-year statute of limitation? May the Ethics Commission may now consider his actions in adopting Resolution 2003-1 as a timely complaint, notwithstanding the provisions of F.S. 112.3231?

13. On July 27, 2009, CRICHLOW participated in discussions that may lead to an ordinance that would have the effect of benefitting his client and allow non-Spanish, non-colonial buildings to be built in St. Augustine’s Historic Preservation Districts in certain circumstances.

14. At the July 27, 2009 public meeting of the City Commission, the Mayor of St. Augustine (Joseph Leroy Boles, Jr.) and the City Attorney of St. Augustine (Ronald Wayne Brown) cautioned public speakers (including the Mayor’s mother) not to discuss 180 St. George Street during their comments on architectural style at the July 27, 2009, lest it require Commissioner CRICHLOW to recuse himself. This is putting the cart before the horse – censoring the public’s right to object to possible violation of F.S. 112.313(6), in the context of discussing historic architecture in our Nation’s Oldest City.

15. Chilling citizens’ free speech rights to prevent them from mentioning CRICHLOW’s 180 St. George Street project (in litigation with CRICHLOW representing the developer in mediation with the City of St. Augustine) does not cure the conflict of interest.

16. ISSUE FIVE: Is it a prohibited conflict of interest for CRICHLOW to be present and involved in discussions and (eventually) vote on a proposed resolution that may affect his clients -- including the clients for 180 St. George Street, who are currently suing the City in an action in which CRICHLOW (along with attorney George McClure) is representing the client in mediation against the City of St. Augustine? F.S. 112.313(6).

17. ISSUE SIX: Is it a prohibited conflict of interest for CRICHLOW to represent clients in so many contested cases before City of St. Augustine City Boards and Commissions – as many as 48 separate PZB and HARB actions since he became a Commissioner? Does this representation by Commissioner CRICHLOW have a chilling and intimidating effect upon HARB and PZB members, whose appointment CRICHLOW votes found whose appeals are taken to the City Commission?
See Exhibit A.

Further affiant saith not.