Friday, January 28, 2022

LARIZZA won't prosecute after County fires dishonest Utility Department manager who lined his pockets. (Action News Jacksonville)

Good scoop by Emily Turner, Action News Jacksonville!

I reached out this morning to County, Clerk of Courts and Comptroller and State's Attorney -- no documents received yet. I think this is a federal crime and should be treated as such. State's Attorney's office has an excuse -- County did not lose any money! Sounds at best facetious, another example of RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA's unfitness to hold office. 

Read the St. Johns County Inspector General report here and the whistleblower's response here.

The St. Johns County Inspector General's report identifies alleged crimes committed by NELSON, but our State's Attorney won't prosecute. This is further evidence of local corruption in St. Johns County.

LARIZZA refuses to explain why he refuses to distribute the National District Attorney's Association's National Prosecution Standards to his staff. When you're a Dull Republican autocrat in one of the most corrupt places in Florida, you don't explain much, and you don't lead your 82 Assistant State's Attorneys to prosecute white collar crime and corruption. 

Louche LARIZZA is a lousy lawyer and a lousier prosecutor.  

LARIZZA helped coverup the Michelle O'Connell case in the home of Deputy JEREMY BANKS, belatedly recusing himself in 2011, five months after the homicide, after Robert Hardwick and James Parker -- his chief investigator and his assistant --, wanted an exhumation and autopsy. Hardwick is now Sheriff and JEREMY BANKS is still on the Sheriff's payroll. 

From Action News Jacksonville: 

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money went to county employee, report says

January 27, 2022 at 5:20 pm EST

By Emily Turner, Action News Jax

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A Whistleblower Report and subsequent Office of Inspector General Report found Rick Nelson violated four ethics laws: abuse of power, preferential treatment through bid tampering, official misconduct, and falsifying records.

Nelson was a manger in the St. Johns County Utility Department, running a system called SCADA that monitors water and wastewater infrastructure.

The report shows Nelson is also a co-owner of a company, Technical Field Service Inc, that provides parts and works on the same systems he managed for the county.

The report found Nelson never disclosed ownership to the county and gave his company preferential treatment in bids and purchases. It also found he falsified records to cover his tracks and had other employees do the same.

Action News Jax went to Nelson’s home to ask about the report. “It’s a lie,” he told ANJ.

We asked the county and found between May of 2016 and August of 2021 it spent $396,355.50 of taxpayer money on products and services with Nelson’s own company.

We have not heard back from the county about how many bids his company was awarded or how much they were worth.

Nelson was put on leave as soon as the investigation began in July, though the county hasn’t said yet whether that leave was paid. He was terminated but not charged criminally in November when the investigation was completed.

Nelson refutes all of it saying it is, “very wrong.” When pressed further by Investigator Emily Turner he referred us to his attorney, saying, “The report, it’s a lie.”

We reached out to his attorney but have not heard back as of air time. When asked why he wasn’t charged criminally, the state attorney’s office said “Our investigation determined that there was a clear violation of the non-criminal Florida Statute 112.313. At the same time, our investigation revealed that the county suffered no financial harm from this violation.”

Following the OIG recommendations, St. Johns County says, “The Utilities Department has reviewed and modified its internal processes to ensure these incidents cannot go undetected. Additionally, last year the County began revising and rewriting its purchasing policy. Once completed, the new policy will go before the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners for approval.”

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