Tuesday, October 13, 2020

"Antitrust Statement" Begins Ethics Debate at Florida Mosquito Control Association, Inc,. Meeting

Like a duck trying to make love to a football, a once-respected Florida government professional association showed signs on October 13, 2020 that it is now merely an appendage to the organophosphate pesticide industry.   Regulatory capture, shall we say?

The Florida Mosquito Control Association is supposed to be the voice of grass roots government mosquito control districts in the Florida state capital in Tallahassee.  Not any longer.

It's now headed by an multinational corporation's malathion marketer, DONNIE POWERS, who lives in the middle of Alabama.

Stomping on the First Amendment rights of dozens of elected Mosquito Control Commissioners and other government employees to speak out in their own lobbying group, the Board of Directors and membership of the Florida Mosquito Control Association today met by Zoom, in a meeting freighted with animus toward dissenters -- some 25+ members who requested ouster of the top three officers 

One government member audience member in the Zoom call told me, ""It's a real shit-show."

One no-show at the shit-show was Anastasia Mosquito Control Commission of St. Johns County GARY HOWELL, dubbed "marshmallow" in the 2006 election by Commissioner Jeanne Moeller, now the Chair.

Full disclosure: 20-year incumbent GARY HOWELL is my opponent in the November 3, 2020 election.

During the meeting, crude, crude FMCA oligarchs read a bowdlerized incomplete capsule summary of the charges instead of the full text of letters signed by 25+ FMCA members.

Rebarbative, retromingent FMCA oligarchs repeatedly ducked the issues and avoided accountability, repeatedly reaching out to crush dissent at the touch of a Zoom button to mute dissenters' computer microphones.  When motions were made and seconded and the questions called, FMCA's conflicted President, DONNIE POWERS, and his handlers ignored them. 

My takeaways from the closed-door Zoom meeting:

  1. After 98 years, FMCA finally began a meeting with an antitrust statement -- subject of my September 3, 2020 et seq.  antitrust concerns filed with FTC, DOJ, the Florida Attorney General and FMC Corporation, employer of the Florida Mosquito Control Association's deeply conflicted President,  DONNIE POWFRS, a resident of Alabama.  (POWERS falsely claimed it accused him of antitrust violations; go read the complaint for yourself).
  2. FMCA's stiff-necked Board of Directors Refused to request an investigation of verified complaints against three top officers, cocking a snoot and snuffing out discussion, with unfair three-minute time limits on longtime members like 47-year member Flo Jones, et al. whom it salted and peppered with interruptions and insults
  3. FMCA spent three hours on a Zoom call in which Flo Jones and other long-time members were treated disdainfully and disrespectfully by FMCA President DONNIE POWERS, who sells malathion to mosquito control districts that are members of FMCA.
  4. FMCA claimed it was not a government entity, while one member stated that it was costing $4000/hour of "taxpayer's money" to hold the meeting.
  5. FMCA did not rebut any of the nearly 500 pages of evidence -- some 28 exhibits. 
  6. FMCA ducked questions about the conflict of interest inherent in President POWERS and others being represented and advised by the law firm of LEWIS, LONGMAN and WALKER, which represents FMCA.
  7. FMCA showed no respect for the Rule of Law or our Right to Know under Florida's Constitution, Article I, Section 24 and F.S. 119 and 286.
  8. FMCA refused to allow a court reporter to attend the meeting. 
  9. FMCA oligarchs threatened government employees with ouster and lawsuit if they speak the truth.
  10. FMCA satraps publicly stigmatized their website, The Truth About FMCA.
  11. FMCA's chemical industry President, DONNIE POWERS & Co. showed little interest when repeated instances of harassment and retaliation were alleged.
  12. FMCA oligarchs stigmatized First Amendment protected activity and records requests I've filed.  (I wear the FMCA oligarchs' scorn as a badge of honor).
  13. FMCA's corporate law firm, LEWIS, LONGMAN and WALKER avoided and evaded questions about its bills, while claiming LLW did some work for free or at a discounted $100/hour rate.  Perhaps LLW's supposed free work is to: (a) atone for its padded bills ($40,000/year flat fee for lobbying, with no disclosed results); mitigate damages from its possible legal malpractice in never having an Antitrust Statement read at meetings before October 13, 2020 Special Meeting, in response to my September 3, 2020 antitrust concern filed with DOJ, FTC, Florida Attorney General and FMC Corporation HQ. 
  14. FMCA did not defend LLW's failure and refusal to reach out to the 25+ dissenting members who signed letters requesting the removal of the top FMCA officials -- LLW works for the top dogs, not the members, for whom its louche lawyer showed contempt, willing accomplices to DONNIE POWERS & Co. sibilantly silencing the will of 126 FMCA members attending on the Zoom call with insipid and insolent remarks. 
  15. FMCA oligarchs blocked electronic voting by the 126 members in attendance, never preparing for electronic voting, showing confusion and suggesting the overt intent to deny member voting rights.
  16. FMCA oligarchs blocked attendance by or participation from the 25+ FMCA reformers' lawyer, Ralf Brookes, with LLW possibly violating legal ethics laws by its snotty response, violating dissenting elected mosquito control commissioners' and government employee members' civil and constitutional rights to participate in what is supposed to be their own lobbying group.  Louche LEWIS, LONGMAN & WALKER shareholder GLENN E. THOMAS sent this unctuous ukase to counsel for the dissenting members:

On Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 8:14 AM Glenn Thomas <gthomas@llw-law.com> wrote:

Mr. Brookes, 

On behalf of FMCA, the response to the requests of the 25 members is as follows:

1.       The 25 signatories would like to request permission for myself as an attorney for the 25 signatories to attend the October 13, 2020 meeting with them and/or request that a court reporter be allowed to attend to record the proceedings of the Special Meeting to be held on October 13, 2020 by zoom.

The request is denied. §63 of Robert’s Rules of Order govern (sic) an Investigation and Trial.  Under the section entitled, “Rights of the Society and the Accused” the rules state:

A society (sic) has the right to investigate the character of its members and officers as may be necessary to the enforcement of its own standards.  But neither the society nor any member has the right to make public any information obtained through such investigation; if it becomes common knowledge within the society, it should not be revealed to any persons outside the society. Consequently, a trial must always be held in executive session, as must the introduction and consideration of all resolutions leading up to the trial. §63, p.655, ln. 1-11.

The rules also provide the following “Steps in a Fair Disciplinary Process:”

“…if the rules of the organization do not otherwise provide for the method of charge and trial, a member may, at a time when nonmembers are not present, offer a resolution to appoint an investigating committee. §63, p.657, ln. 5-9.

As recognized by Robert’s Rules of order (sic), an essential element of a fair process for the removal of an individual from office is the protection of that individual’s good name. Indeed, the rules discuss maintaining the confidentiality of the facts and allegations related to an investigation before discussing any step in the investigation. While these confidentiality rules are important, regardless of the organization that is seeking to apply the rules, they are perhaps even more important when the individual whose removal is sought is a volunteer.   

Each of the individuals against whom accusations have been made has a full-time career, and their good names will be protected. Public accusations against volunteers in inexcusable.   (sic)  Unfortunately, some Association members have decided to make public, allegations against the volunteer officers that should have remained Association business. Without any opportunity for the officers to respond and without any independent verification of the allegations, claims were broadcast to members and non-members alike, without.  (sic -- missing words?)  Not only did this action violate the, it violated basic standards of decency. (sic)

The officers against whom the allegations have been made deny the allegations. They believe the claims are libelous (sic), and were made in bad faith (sic) for purely political (sic) purposes. Based on the previous conduct of a certain anonymous individual (or individuals), it is clear that any record of the meeting will be quickly made public. And since nothing in the meeting is for public consumption (sic), there is no reason for the services of a court reporter. If the process results in an officer being removed from office, the only information that will be made public will be the fact that the officer was removed from his position. Any member releasing specific facts or allegations is subject to discipline, and may be subject to a suit for libel or slander.

While little can be done to undo whatever harm has been done to the reputations of the volunteers affected by the imprudent acts of a few members, the Association will not allow any additional harm.  Therefore, in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, the special meeting of October 13, 2020 will be closed to non-members. No exception shall be made for the appearance of an attorney or a court reporter during this process; unless the attorney is representing an accused at a future trial before the membership.


2.       The 25 signatories have also asked for additional time for their presentation or the ability to pool their time, which will help prevent repetitive testimony and streamline the presentation.

Denied. The volunteer Officers and members of the Board of Directors have already spent countless hours dealing with these allegations. Time must be limited, to allow everyone the chance to speak and still adjourn the meeting within a reasonable time. Each member will be given 3 minutes, which is the standard amount of time. Any Association member who has sat on the board of a public body knows this is the standard amount of time. Members may notpool their time. They can address an issue that hasn’t been already addressed if they wish to avoid repetitive testimony.


3.     The 25 signatories would like to submit written materials in advance by email to the Board, because even expanded time limitations may prevent them from entering all of their information orally at the Oct 13, 2020 meeting. 

Members may submit documentation to Board members and Officers in advance of the meeting. However any future use of the Association’s member email list, which was unlawfully (sic) obtained from the FMCA database, will result in disciplinary (sic) action and potentially (sic) legal action.


4.     The 25 signatories would respectfully suggest that appointment of an agreed upon qualified Individual as an Independent Investigator be appointed to assist the Investigation Committee with interviews of witnesses and parties and factual information gathering that is difficult to accomplish as a committee due to time constraints, ability to efficiently conduct interviews, etc…

Denied. No individual who is not a member of the Association will be involved in or informed of any part of this process. No information obtained during any part of this process will be made public to any individual who is not a member of the Association.


5.     The 25 signatories would respectfully request compliance with the voting rights of members under Roberts Rules of Order Section 45 Voting Procedure Rights, Rights and Obligations in Voting.

Members in arrears may vote, if they have not been formally removed or have resigned from the Association. 

Robert’s Rules of Order §45 (Voting Procedure) states, 

Voting Rights of members in arrears: A member of a society who is in arrears in payment of his dues, but has not been formally dropped from the membership rolls and is not under disciplinary suspension, retains full rights of a voting member and is entitled to vote unless the bylaws provide otherwise.

Let me know if you have any questions.



Glenn E. Thomas | Shareholder

Board Certified in City, County and Local Government Law

315 South Calhoun Street, Suite 830 Tallahassee, Florida 32301
gthomas@llw-law.com (o) 850.222.5702 (m) 850.597.0744

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