This is the Letter we received from the Attorney General’s Office of which Senator Bill Monford’s Staff and Representative Brennan have received.
Furthermore, since Senator Monford is on the Committee for the Joint Legislative Audit Committee he has been provided criteria consisting of some financials, letters from the CPA and Tebos requests for equipment under the Local Option Fuel Tax funds.
Since the State is required to defend municipalities the Department of Revenue has stipulated that we contact the media or the FBI to provide this under “Public Corruption”. Senator Monford prefers the media not be contacted and the Department of Transportation felt the FBI was like bombing White Springs. Yet, this misuse of restrictive funds has to stop and as a result, the FBI has a complaint with all the information, similar to that provided Senator Monford’s office.
Date: Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 3:17 PM
Subject: From the Florida Attorney General’s Office
Dear Mr. Griffin,
This is to follow up on your correspondence to the Florida Attorney General’s Office regarding alleged “misuse of over $700,000 in Local Option Fuel Taxes” by the Town of White Springs, Florida, and related concerns.
This office appreciates hearing from you. We are sorry that you have been unable to resolve your concerns through the law enforcement authorities and agencies you have contacted thus far.
In regard to the Town’s decisions or actions, the Attorney General’s Office is not at liberty to provide legal opinions or statutory interpretations to private individuals. This office does not conduct investigations of the types of allegations raised in your correspondence. By law, the Attorney General represents the state and its officials in civil actions which affect the state’s interests, and our “clients” are “all the state departments and agencies from all three branches of state government, including their individual officials and employees.” See http://myfloridalegal.com/
If you are seeking a criminal investigation, I can only suggest that you continue to address the police or sheriff and state attorney’s office. Requests for an outside investigation or concerns about alleged conflicts of interest or ethics involving public officials may be addressed to the Florida Commission on Ethics and the Governor’s Office:
Florida Commission on Ethics Office of the Governor
Telephone: (850) 488-7864 Telephone: (850) 922-6400
Website: www.ethics.state.fl.us Website: www.flgov.comI note that you have also contacted the Governor’s Office, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) and Auditor General. You may also wish to contact your local legislative delegation as you continue to address those authorities. The JLAC’s contact information is:
Joint Legislative Auditing Committee
111 West Madison St., Room 876
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1400
In regard to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), one of the law enforcement agencies you contacted, as you may know, the FBI’s Public Corruption web page provides information on that agency’s in public corruption investigations and cases:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Public Corruption Hotline: (888)722-1225
Online Complaint form: https://tips.fbi.gov/
Finally, if you need legal guidance, please consult a private attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, please contact The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 342-8011 or www.floridabar.org.
I hope you will understand the Attorney General’s duties are prescribed by law. Thank you for your time and effort in contacting this office.
Becky Kring, Correspondence Consultant
Office of Citizen Services
Florida Attorney General’s Office
The Capitol, PL-01
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1050
Telephone: (850) 414-3990
Toll-free in Florida: (866) 966-7226
This was my speech at the Hamilton County Board of Commissioner’s meeting hosting Senator Monford and Representative Brennan:
The State of Florida has provided the Town of White Springs with many programs and benefits to assist its Citizens. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you, Senator Montford, since you are a member of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee,(JLAC)that our Town has misspent in excess of $700,000 in Local Option Fuel Tax revenue (LOFT). As a result, the citizens and visitors to our town must experience potholes, cracks in our streets, and clogged drainage ditches. Of the $700,000 received by the Town – in the last three years – only a very small amount – perhaps about $10,000 – has been spent on minor road and street repairs..
Under Florida Statute 336.025 County transportation system; levy of local option fuel tax or motor fuel and diesel fuel, the Town of White Springs has been provided through an interlocal agreement with Hamilton County, about $700,000 in the last three years. As you are aware, the statute stipulates that the LOFT funds be retained in a restrictive fund and used only for “Transportation purposes”, as defined by the statute.. Yet our Town does not have a separate restrictive fund for the LOFT revenue, but instead puts the LOFT funds into the Town’s General Fund. As a result the Town does not track how the LOFT funds are spent.
Based on financial data that is available, it appears that the Town spends most of the money on administrative salaries and travel, police salaries, legal expenses, designer clothing and water, and recently has purchased an excavator and trailer for $60,000.
It is estimated that the misused funds total about $700,000. District 2 of the Florida Department of Transportation has been attempting to identify an agency that has the authority to investigate this serious violation of state statute. After speaking to many of the Florida agencies to which we were referred, the Department of Revenue advised us to either call the Media to investigate, or to file a complaint of public corruption with the FBI. Both of these recommendations tell us that no one has any faith in our state institutions to police serious violations of state statutes.
The current administration of White Springs and three of five councilors refuse to believe the LOFT funds are solely for transportation and must be held in a restrictive fund and accounted for. When Councilor, Dr. Helen B. Miller made an inquiry to the Attorney General’s office, she was threatened by two councilors with forfeiture of her council seat. Our CPA and Town Attorney have provided opinions that the LOFT money may be spent without any restriction.
If these funds are required to be paid back, as my husband, Joe Griffin, and I have been informed by the auditor general, it will cause undue hardship to the citizens who have received no benefit relating to our transportation infrastructure. WE feel the money has been wasted and certainly not spent according to the State statute.
Again, Senator Monford, since you are on the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) that oversees the Department of Revenue, we ask that you help us with a solution, that you identify the appropriate agency to facilitate an investigation and audit of the Town and misused LOFT funds.
I am certain the only reason this has not yet been investigated is because of the Shutdown. But what Rhett Bullard, Stacy Tebo, Mayor Lofton and Tonja Brown have done to this town is definitely public corruption and misuse of funds by violating Statute 336,025 and we are getting very sick of officials getting away with this corruption.