Monday, October 30, 2023

Did St. Johns County violate securities laws re: embezzlement and lax internal controls? (Ed Slavin October 21, 2023 complaint to SEC)

Update: our other-directed all-Republican, developer-coddling St. Johns County Commission meets on October 30 & 31 to consider candidates for St. Johns County Administrator, to replace this unqualified man, an unindicted coconspirator in a federal bribery indictment, whose status was never discussed because there was never a background investigation.  Let's hope and pray that St. Johns County Commissioners require answers to my questions of the County Administrator candidates.  Enough callowness, shallowness and lack of due diligence by our all-Republican St. Johns County Commissioners.  Ask questions. Demand answers.  Expect democracy.  We've seen enough flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, wildlife-killing, wetland-killing, deforestation and political corruption to last for a lifetime. 

In order to euchre St. Johns County voters into supporting a proposed 15% sales tax increase on the November 8, 2022 ballot, St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners commissioned a flawed, misleading Performance Audit that omitted lax internal controls, as evidenced by $786,785 in embezzlement over 5+ years.  

Fun fact: Informed of the County's mismanagement, voters turned them down flat, by 63% landslide, the seventh time since 1988 that voters have rejected a sales tax increase.

But was there a material omission of our embezzlement history and lax internal controls, which could constitute securities fraud, possibly misleading bondholders and potential bondholders? 

You tell me.

On October 21, 2023, at 6:07:01 pm EDT. I filed a complaint with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission re: St. Johns County's omission of material facts from its 178 page Performance Audit by McCONNELL & JONES LLP.   I have asked the County to preserve, protect and provide all pertinent records.  Here is the complaint, directed against McCONNELL & JONES, LLP,  ST. JOHNS COUNTY, HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD, JOY Q. ANDREWS, AND JESSE DUNN. 

1. Did St. Johns County, Florida, the CPA firm of McCONNELL & JONES, LLP, former County Administrator HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD, then-Deputy County Administrator JOY Q. ANDREWS, longtime Office of Management and Budget Director JESSE DUNN, et al. mislead their bondholders, taxpayers and citizens by failing to disclose the lax internal controls that led $786,785 in embezzlement over some 5+ years in the St. Johns County Sheriff's office by Finance Director RAYE BRUTNELL, 2013-2018?  Former Sheriff Finance Director RAYE BRUTNELL has been sentenced to seven (7) years in prison for embezzlement.  

2. In 2022,  Respondents McCONNELL & JONES, LLP, St. Johns County Administrator HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD, [then-] Deputy County Administrator JOY Q. ANDREWS, longtime Office of Management and Budget Director JESSE DUNN, and the Board of County Commissioners  issued a putative Performance Audit in connection with their advocacy for a proposed $700,000,000 increase in sales taxes (a 15% sales tax increase over ten (10) years.

3. That incomplete putative Performance Audit report gave St. Johns County's internal controls an undeserved positive evaluation.

4. It omitted the $786,785 in embezzlement and lax internal controls. 

5. It failed to disclose then-pending civil litigation against the County's longtime auditor, CARR, RIGGS and INGRAM.

6. It was expressly intended to influence the outcome of the November 8, 2022 election, in which voters were asked to approve a 15% sales tax increase.

7. This was the seventh time that St. Johns County voters defeated a "penny" sales tax increase since 1988.

8. Respondent [then-]Deputy County Administrator JOY Q. ANDREWS wrote in an August 24, 2022 letter to Respondent McCONNELL & JONES, LLP that the defective report from the County's contractor, McCONNELL & JONES, LLP -- omitting the $786,785 in embezzlement and lax internal controls over a 5+ year period by the Sheriff's Finance Director -- would "assist the citizens in making the decision" on the sales tax referendum on the ballot on November 8, 2022.  

9. Did that 178 page Performanced Audit report deceive bondholders?

10. I have asked about these events in public televised meetings of the Respondent St. Johns County's Board of County Commissioners.   

11. No response. 

12. I asked some 104 written questions during St. Johns County's FY 2024 budget hearings on September 5 & 19, 2023 County Commission, including questions about the embezzlement and coverup.

13. No response.

14. Would you please be so kind as to investigate whether any of the Respondents violated SEC regulations or laws?  

Submission Number: 16979-602-685-580 was submitted successfully on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 06:07:01 PM EDT


Anonymous said...

Embezzlers, bamboozlers, flim flam floozlers, flummery, dupery, and nincompoopery. All in a days work for banana Republicans. They break government balls, but when they're in government, they're even worse.

Anonymous said...

Found an article titled, "Has the GOP become so anti-government that it can't govern at all." I said it before! None of these people should be anywhere near government and a vote for the GOP is a vote against American functionality, unity, domestic tranquility, you name it.

Betsy Larey said...

You are a rock star in my book! This county is so corrupt it is shocking. And they still keep for Republics in year after year. Then they complain about what goes on. I don’t get it, really I don’t.
Betsy Larey

Ed Slavin said...

Thank you! I am honored, Ms. Larey. St. Johns County makes me feel young again, every single time we foil and expose corruption, and all of its works and pomps. As LBJ said to Congress after Selma, "And we SHALL overcome!"