Saturday, August 29, 2015


Neighborhood nightmare: Old City South neighborhood (HP-1) would have 30 fancy-bears hotel rooms inflicted on it under a Planned Unit Development improvidently approved by four out of five Commissioners August 25, 2015 in an after-midnight session without working cable TV sound, with defective legal advice and numerous ethics issues, lawbreaking concerns and reversible errors.

Mayor Nancy Shaver (center) voted against DOW PUD. Ethically challenged St. Augustine City Commissioners TODD NEVILLE and NANCY SIKES-KLINE (left) and LEANNA S.A. FREEMAN AND ROXANNE HORVATH (right voted in favor of DOW PUD. They relied on bad advice from:

City Attorney ISABELLE LOPEZ, in turn encouraged by:
City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., working hand in glove with:
DAVID BARTON CORNEAL and Rogers Towers partner ELLEN AVERY-SMITH, having already destroyed Carpenter's House without waiting for appeal time to expire:

Ethics issues contaminated the 4-1 DOW PUD vote by St. Augustine City Commission after midnight on August 25, 2015.
We shall overcome!
Read all about it!

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: ilopez ; jregan ; aratkovic
Sent: Sat, Aug 29, 2015 4:41 pm
Subject: DOW PUD RECONSIDERATION; Former Vice Mayor DONALD CRICHLOW's lobbying in support of DOW PUD (CORDOVA INN) appears to violate F.S. 112.113(14), possible misdemeanor

Dear Ms. Lopez and Mr. Regan:
Will you please request a Florida Commission on Ethics formal written opinion on the lobbying activities of three past and present officials -- Messrs. DONALD CRICHLOW, PAUL M. WEAVER, III and JEREMY MARQUIS? Meanwhile, please be advised that:
1. The Florida Commission on Ethics' General Counsel informed me in 2014 that the Commission DOES NOT give verbal guidance: you know this fact.
2. You did not ask for a legal opinion on CRICHLOW's lobbying and admit that you have no records -- just as you did not request a written opinion in 2014 on five decades of not requiring Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) members to make financial disclosures for some fifty (50) years.
3. You admit that you received nothing in writing -- the claim that you "believe" that you received "verbal guidance," is, at best, doubly facetious: you did not share this "verbal guidance" with anyone in writing, you did not respond to my concerns, and you did not report it to Commissioners, correct? Why?
4. There is no such "critter" as a "verbal" Florida Ethics Commission opinion, and you all know it from our July 2014 correspondence on HARB's failure to file disclosures
5. Both our City Manager and City Attorney have brandished bias in favor of DAVID BARTON CORNEAL and OLD ISLAND HOTELS, INC. and the proposed DOW PUD (CORDOVA INN), which would convert eight historic homes (one has already been destroyed, jumping the gun during the appeal period), formerly the DOW MUSEUM OF HISTORIC HOMES.
6. "Verbal guidance" from the Ethics Commission is not worth the paper it isn't written on.
7. Former Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW's lobbying Commissioners in ex parte contacts to support of DOW PUD (CORDOVA INN) appears to violate F.S. 112.113(14), a possible misdemeanor . CRICHLOW lobbied our Mayor Commissioners, board members and staff less than two (2) years after he left office (December 1, 2014), within only days of leaving office .
8. May I suggest that you both kindly apologize to our City residents, Mayor and Commissioners for your repeated willful refusal to do your job without fear or favor?
9. City Commission passage of the DOW PUD Ordinance 2015-24 is contaminated by illegality and reversible errors -- void ab initio.
10. Both Due Process and state and local laws were violated in rubber-stamping, by 4-1 vote, converting the state-funded Dow Museum of Historic Homes, hesto presto , into a 30-room, $500/night hotel in a residential neighborhood, including but not limited to a mountain of legal and factual errors:
(1) A liquor bar serving alcohol 134 feet from Cathedral Parish Elementary School opening at 10 AM daily, in violation of state liquor laws, with no required finding the "location" is in the public interest; and
(2) Four Commissioners expressly deciding the case based upon five (5) biased University of Florida professors' misbegotten "Opinion Paper," which consulted only four biased persons (not dissenting residents), which study was solicited by Commissioner NANCY SIKES-KLINE, and distributed by the City Manager to other Commissioners, and to persons still unknown to the applicant and to St. Augustine Record Opinion Editor (SIKES-KLINE's former boyfriend) , who wrote a biased editorial about it the day before the vote ; and
(3) Deeply conflict ed , biased Commissioner TODD NEVILLE (whose wife, HEATHER NEVILLE was an angry advocate for the project, calling opponents "HATERS" and who is represented by the applicants' son SETH CORNEAL), with NEVILLE refusing to recuse himself from voting, making the motion to approve: three Commissioners refused to discuss the matter of his requested recusal and disqualification; and
(4) No discussion of the numerous alleged reversible errors by our Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) and our Planning and Zoning Board (PZB); and
(5) Two HARB members (JEREMY MARQUIS and PAUL M. WEAVER, III hired to work for, lobby and testify for the applicant), also in possible violation of F.S. 112), leaving only three (3) HARB members to vote on their colleagues' project; and
(6) At least two PZB members once again testifying before themselves; and
(7) PZB's failure to read my three profferred exhibits, which City staff refused to hand to them;
(8) PZB refusal to discuss archaeological and human burial issues raised by one of my exhibits (a Master's thesis supervised by Dr. Kathy Deagan);
(9) Both the PZB and HARB chairs' failure to maintain order (apparently deciding the case based upon the "clamor of the crowd" -- loud, threatening CORNEAL supporters); and
(10) No required findings of "no adverse effect" approved by Commissioners; and
(11) Lack of thorough consideration or making of other findings required by our PUD ordinance; and
(12) Vice Mayor ROXANNE HORVATH reading from her prepared script, admittedly written in advance of the quasi-judicial hearing on the DOW PUD, prejudging the case; and
(13) A rush to bad judgment -- and falsely urgent refusal to recess and to reconvene and to deliberate another day, with answers to key questions; and
(14) Four biased Commissioners voted in lockstep to give in everything to DAVID BARTON CORNEAL & Co., including their unexplained reversal of careful PZB decisions on parking, etc.,
(15) Cavalier disregard for concerns about their ruining Lincolnville and Old City South neighborhoods with valet parking, density, intensity, congestion, sewage backups, flooding, noise and lighting sequelae of overdevelopment and privatization of the state-funded Dow Museum of Historic Homes; and
(16) Lack of transparency in four Commissioners' impetuous, angry after-midnight conclusion to a meeting that cable TV viewers inexplicably could not hear, with no documents yet made available to document the purported COMCAST technical problem).
(1 7) Lack of credibility in the applicant and his scripted witnesses.
11. Enough lawbreaking. Enough reversible errors in zoning and planning decisions. Enough violations of our Due Process rights and state and local laws .
12. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote on June 11, 1964 that St. Augustine was "the most lawless city in America."
13. Our City Commission's August 25, 2015, post-midnight, DOW PUD decision is a stench in the nostrils of our City and our Nation. It cannot and will not stand.
14. This subtle corruption of our City government is indefensible, and must be ended at once.
15. Please call me to meet and to discuss -- at your earliest convenience -- possible procedural safeguards, improvements and the future of City compliance with Florida Ethics Commission requirements from this day forward, including a Compliance Manual (which the City sorely lacks).
16. As our City lacks any written Florida Commission on Ethics opinion excusing or defending CRICHLOW's lobbying (or that of Messrs. WEAVER and MARQUIS) -- and our City Attorney says she merely "believe[s]" that CRICHLOW and she may have received "verbal guidance," when the Ethics Commission only issues written opinions -- I have shared this e-mail with state, local and federal officials, news media and interested parties.
17. As Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis wrote, in Olmstead v. United States , 277 U.S. 438 (1928) (dissenting):
"Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. " Reversible errors and lawbreaking "poisoned the water in the reservoir, and the reservoir cannot be cleansed without first draining it of all impurity." See, e.g., Mesarosh v. United States, 356 U.S. 1 (1956).
18. Happy 450th anniversary to all: our Nation's Oldest City will soon become a better place as a result of the courage and diligence of our Mayor and our community leaders who spoke against the DOW PUD -- 64% of the 53 people testifying -- presenting irrefragable expert and percipient witness testimony lacking any financial bias, from homeowners and longtime residents with the best interests of our City at heart.
19. We, the People are the conscience of our community; our concerns must be respected and not neglected by City Hall.
20. Please advise our four (4) Commissioners voting for the PUD and residents about procedures under Robert's Rules of Order for their possible reconsideration of the four Commissioners' improvident, unjust, illegal decision at their next regular meeting .
21. Thank you both in advance for your sincere, earnest efforts to help restore honor and dignity to our St. Augustine City Hall, as all we prepare to commemorate our City's 450th anniversary September 8th.
Yes we can!
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Isabelle Lopez
To: easlavin
Sent: Fri, Aug 28, 2015 9:15 pm
Subject: RE: Request No. 2015-317: 112.313(14) -- City Attorney advice to Commissioners and departing Commissioners re: illegal lobbying

I believe the commission on ethics gave Mr. Crichlow and I verbal guidance based on an already existing similar formal opinion.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

-------- Original message --------
Date: 08/28/2015 8:42 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Isabelle Lopez < >
Subject: Re: Request No. 2015-317: 112.313(14) -- City Attorney advice to Commissioners and departing Commissioners re: illegal lobbying

Did you ever advise Messrs. Crichlow and Boles of their legal duties under F.S. 112.113(14)?

-----Original Message-----
From: Isabelle Lopez <>
To: easlavin <>
Sent: Fri, Aug 28, 2015 8:09 pm
Subject: RE: Request No. 2015-317: 112.313(14) -- City Attorney advice to Commissioners and departing Commissioners re: illegal lobbying

I have no responsive document.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin

Sent: Fri, May 1, 2015 8:10 pm
Subject: Ending Board Members and Commissioners Representing Clients Before City Government -- Petition for Emergency Rulemaking
Dear Mayor Shaver and Commissioners:
1. As recipient of millions of dollars of federal funds, our City of St. Augustine, Florida is required to comply with federal criminal laws, including 18 U.S.C. 666, under which former St. Johns County Commission Chairman Thomas G. Manuel was indicted, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated in a federal prison.
2. Please order by appropriate ethics ordinance that no city commissioner or board member may ever again represent clients before City government again. See 18 U.S.C. 666 and F.S. 112.313 ( below).
3. Please end the culture of corruption that embarrasses all of the citizens in the City of St. Augustine. It destroys our buildings, wastes our treasure and hurts our image in the eyes of the world.
4. On May 5, 2015, we shall have the spectacle of two (2) current HARB members (Jeremy Marquis and Paul Weaver, III) , the former Vice Mayor (Donald Crichlow) and the former City Planning and Building Director (Mark Alan Knight) representing an applicant before our Planning and Zoning Board.5. With significant encouragement from City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., , who told First Coast News he was "thrilled," controversial applicant DAVID BARTON CORNEAL is seeking to turn the $2 million state-rehabilitated former Dow Museum of Historic Homes on St. George Street into a high-end hotel in the midst of our historic HP-1 neighborhood, through a "Planned Unit Development," called a "sneaky way to get around zoning" by PZB member Cathy Brown. 6. This not-so-subtle corruption of our government is indefeasible, and must be ended at once. Please end the sale of offices and favors in St. Augustine in the manner that my late Georgetown Professor Jan Karski described the situation in Venezuela, where he advised President Rómulo Betancourt, whom he described as “one of the greatest statesmen ever,” who referred to corrupt Venezuelan government officials "selling their wares."7. The whole world is watching St. Augustine, Florida during our 450th anniversary. Please make us proud of our Ancient City, and no longer ashamed.Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

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