Favoritism and Memories before the Town and its attorneys realized there were laws – Same complainants different time

CITIZEN’S COMPLAINT, Saturday July 28, 2001

This citizen wishes to lodge a formal complaint against the Town Manager, one Robert Townsend for his knowing and willful refusal to enforce the Sewer and Water tap fee requirements of the Town of White Springs.  One Mr. Michael Harris, the owner/current operator of the owned furniture and junk store located next to the bike club on Bridge Street did in fact hook up a sewer line in the municipal system of the town of White Springs.  To do so Municipal Ordinances require that Mr. Harris pay a tap fee into the system.  Under Florida Statute Chapter 119, this citizen has sought confirmation that Mr. Harris did in fact pay the tap fee.  This citizen has been told no public records exist to prove the existence of payment of the tap fee.  Mr. Townsend knows Mr. Harris has not paid the tap fee and yet allows Mr. Harris to continue to break the Municipal Ordinance.  Mr. Townsend does this knowingly and willfully.  This pattern of selective enforcing the municipal regulation by Mr. Townsend is a continuation of the pattern that he has used throughout the time and proceeding the time, of his employment with the Town of White Springs.

Citizen demands that this complaint be fully investigated in accordance with Florida Statute Chapter 286.011 and Municipal Ordinance 99-20.  Any and all failures to do so will result in legal action against the town.  Citizen demands to testify before any investigative process held on this complaint.  Citizen needs 10 working days advance notice of this investigative action in order to secure the time off from his employer.  Citizen will present hard evidence not only of the failure to enforce this municipal regulation itself, but also of Mr. Townsend’s prior failures to enforce state and municipal regulations at the investigative function.

 

 

02-06 Complaint from Nicole Williams against Chief Joe Subic.  Townsend noted this complaint was not on town complaint form but was on same format as the above listed complaints.  Townsend stated he had tried to contact Ms. Williams.  He spoke with the Sheriff and no violations. This is a civil case and should be pursued at other avenues.

Ms. Williams informed the Council that Mr. Townsend had not tried to contact her, that the only calls received from Town Hall were from Mrs. Heath concerning her campaign bank account.  Ms. Williams went on to state the Chief had turned the community against her and he was telling everyone she was a suspect in accessory to murder and he threatened her when she went to vote.

The Mayor suggested as a break in the meeting tonight that Ms. Williams and Mr. Townsend schedule a time to meet on this complaint.

Motion made by Earl Varnes and seconded by Ralph Hardwick for the investigation on the complaint by Ms. Williams to be continued and report back to this body.  5/0

Vicki Udell stated she was mentioned also in the complaint and the Chief spoke to her in front of the Post Master in the restaurant stating he had heard she had a felony.  Her revenge was spitting in Joe Griffin’s food when working in the kitchen.

B.  Law Suit Update.  Mr. Kennon stated Patricia Register, Jim Smith and Joe Griffin sent a settlement letter offering “to drop the case if an in the sunshine meeting was held to discuss the Fire Department”. 

Mr. Kennon reported the John Peeler/fire Department lawsuit hearing will be held February 6, 2003 at 9:30 a.m. in Judge Peach’s Chambers.  No testimony will be given.  The Mike Harris case decision was carried over to next month due to the absence of Ms. Udell.  Mr. Kennon will get an opinion if the vote ties again

Mr. Kennon reported several issues had come up last week.  Mr. Kennon gave an overview of the Peeler lawsuit.  The fact that I have undertaken individual representation of council members, as we have discussed it, it is my opinion this falls as official business and the council is entitled to defense.

Mr. Griffin requested several items be placed on the February agenda.  Mr. Griffin has repeatedly tried to become involved in the Harris case and the court has denied his requests.  Mr. Griffin has requested five items to be discussed in the Peeler case.

  • Hold an in the sunshine meeting with the volunteers
  • Settlement offer
  • Why the tax payers of White Springs are paying the defense\
  • Conflict of interest concerning Mr. Kennon’s representation
  • Hiring of an outside attorney of full discussion of who to hire.

 

Another e-mail stated Griffin was not permitted to attend the council meeting with threat of arrest.  Kennon stated for the record that was not true, but at one-time he was instructed to maintain order.  Mr. Griffin is allowed to attend the council meetings.

The e-mail stated #1) to direct the LDRA to demolish the white house within 10 days, #2. Offer to settle in Peeler case.  Another e-mail received today gave the firm a one-time offer to solve all of this by advising your client to tear down the house within five working days and to Terminate Mr. Townsend tonight at the meeting and your firm and associates would be withdrawn from the filing and Mr. Griffin agrees not to send this filing to the Florida Bar Association, which would be an ethic filing against Mr. Kennon

Mr. Griffin’s agenda items he wanted presented tonight were:

  • Delay enforcement of the zoning code against Mr. Harris
  • Public safety issues
  • Interlocal agreement with Hamilton county Building Inspector does not deny that he is to use the code, the Municipal code, under with the Hazardous Buildings were found to be at violation at the determining authority in his notice of corrections. Nor does such document grant him the authority to supersede the enforcement provisions of Article 10 of the LDR.  Yet, he said clearly under oath that he did not use the MO to grant the certificate of occupancy for the Yellow House.
  • Enforcement of the code

(The agenda items in full are in the council packets and attached to these minutes)

Discussion followed by citizens and Mr. Harris.

Motion made by Earl Varnes and seconded by Vickey Udell to drop the suit against Mr. Harris.  Discussion followed.  2003

Voting for the motion was Earl Varnes, Vickey Udell, Ralph Hardwick and Joseph McKire.  Tracy Woodard abstained from voting.  Motion carried.

Mr. Kennon stated he would file for a dismissal.

Mr. Kennon stated that if he did not make this recommendation as outlined in the e-mail, he would have ethical complaints filed against him.  Mr. Kennon stated he was not going to make those recommendations.  They are not proper recommendations to make, that being said, because these threats of going to the Florida Bar Association.  It is my recommendation, that we obtain outside council to represent the four named persons in the Peeler Lawsuit and Harris Lawsuit.  I am asking permission to obtain outside council, namely Mr. Rudser who is very familiar and very successful for representation in these cases.

The allegations relative to Peeler and Harris cases prevent me from giving the advice I need with these threats held over my head and allegations against me.

I place these agenda items before you tonight (the agenda application in full are included in council packets and attached to these minutes).

Mr. Kennon asked that the council allow him to contact Mr. Rudser who is familiar with this type of case.

Motion made by Earl Varnes and seconded by Ralph Hardwick for the council to seek outside legal services on the Peeler case and to seek the services of Mr. Rudser at the rate of $100.00 hour with the authority if either of these conditions are not met, it will be brought back before the council 5/0

Mr. Kennon stated the council had a split vote on this issue and council members were absent at the last two meetings.  The deadlock means by Roberts Rules of Order to be declared a defeated motion.

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