FOR TWENTY AND A HALF YEARS….
The Town of White Springs has done everything they could do to make me the BAD Guy. In fact there came a time, in 2005 I believe, where the Mayor Joe McKire, the Vice Mayor Ralph Hardwick (deceased) and Walter McKenzie all clapped when told at a Council Meeting that I had lost another legal case for a 119 lawsuit. I have been discriminated against BY THE TOWN because all I wanted was to have the town follow the law.
It started simple enough. The day I moved into town, not having even slept in my new house for a single night, the Chief of Police Mike Price threatened to arrest me because my moving van was blocking half of Mill Street. He said I was impeding traffic and if I didn’t move the truck he would arrest me. My statement t o him was show me the law, go to your car or to your office and get me the law. When you show me the law you can arrest me. Needless to say, he never came back.
It started simple enough. The Town in 1998, before I even moved into town, passed a Land Development Regulations (Zoning Code) Code. A member of the Zoning Committee complained that me parking my big truck on my property was lowering her property value. The Council VOTED to find me in violation of the Town Ordinance (MO 98-01) by a 5-0 Vote. I went to researching the Law and the Ordinance andd the lady who complained, a Mary Lou Cunningham (Zoning Code Committee) was living in a condemned house having been condemned twice once prior to me moving into town. Earl Varnes (deceased), invited me over to his house where we were to discuss my issues with Ms. Cunningham. He told me in no uncertain terms that I would not win any action I brought against the town. Mr. Varnes later became a Council member and voted at least 20 times against me when I submitted a Citizen’s Complaint or other such notice of violation of State, Federal and/or Municipal Ordinance. He was not alone, McKire Hardwick McKenzie Woodard, Detrich and a host of other Council members all voted against me at every turn even though all Complaints were legally correct. To this day the town, 20 years later, has not enforced the Zoning Code except on me with my big truck. McKire said that it takes time to enforce a code and it can’t be done overnight. That was 18 years ago. Not a year went went by that I didn’t bring up the Zoning Code issue and yet here we are today no nearly to enforcing the code than we ever were. The town even spent $25,000 to defend, in court, its right to not enforce its zoning code. Yet I was arrested twice for the illegal parking of my truck.
It started simply enough. The then town Manager, Robert Townsend was a self confessed pedophile in a case in Clay County. I felt the moral turpitude clause in the town charter covered such moral shortcomings. At least 20 times they, the Council, voted to accept Townsend’s explanation of why he told a juvenile how to climax. He was sentenced to two years of Kiddie School, a sexual offender’s rehabilitation program run by the state. Mike Williams, a Council member, knew Townsend was lying but didn’t tell the Council that prompting McKire to say “He might be a pedophile but he is our pedophile,” Townsend was finally discovered because he was having sex with prisoners who were brought to the town to aid in public works projects. The good old boy legal system refused to hear the case because the prisoners were deemed shaky witnesses. He resigned as town manager. Walter McKenzie was told of the lie and did nothing about claiming that Mr. Williams didn’t know what he was talking aboout and t hat even if it were true Walter would keep and eye on Townsend to make sure it didn’t happen on his watch. There was also the case that the town council was aware of because I told them concerning a shower room full of young male juveniles where Townsend was showing the young lads how to masterbate by placing his hand on their dupes. This incident caused him to be fired from the Columbia County Sheriff’s office where Townsend was a school resource officer. The good old boy network struck again, and even though there were newspaper articles of the events the Council voted 5 times to ignore my complaints or stories.
It started simply enough. Twice I have been physically assaulted by Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Harris, brother in law of Councilman Woodard When I tried to file a police report the White Springs Police Department wouldn’t take it and the Council, including Walter McKenzie voted 5-0 to uphold the Police Departments failure to act. And speaking of the Police Department Joe Subic was our Police Chief. Mr. Subic was a hostage in the Tarheron Embassy flap. When this was brought to t he Council’s attention by newspaper artilces and printed books, the Council including McKire and Hardwick and McKenzie voted to ignore the misstep even though I offered to show them a video tape of a hostage taker pissing on the american Flag AFTER Subic unlocked the gate to the embassy compound. In this case McKenzie said the hostage takers were just young men and didn’t know what they were doing and that Subic had acted appropriately. After the hostages, including Subic ere released (444 days) ALL OF TEH HOSTAGES EXCEPT SUBIC WERE AWARDED THE Medal of Honor. He got nothing. The Council voted at least five times to ignore this complaint fact. The Council voted 5-0 to fire Subic for falsification of an insurance form seeking maternity benefits for his children’s Nanny.
Iit started simply enough. Florida has a Public Records Law allowing the public access to most public records by the state. Ten Lawsuits were filed to enforce the statute and even today the Council refuses to force the public records custodian to enforce the State Statute. I’m not sure how much it cost the town but I paid to the town $40,000 for the lawsuits. Again the Council, including McKenzie applauded when the verdict was rendered.
It started simply enough. Florida has a Public Meetings Law which requires all meetings of a board to be held in the Sunshine. The Council had a groundbreaking cerimony for the new sewer plant. All Council members were there along with 30 some odd guests. The Police Department forcefully kept me and another citizen from attending with a threat of arrest replete with an incident report and a photograph of the Council breaking ground on the new sewer plant in two local newspapers. Yet the Council voted 5-0 to ignore the violation of the Sunshine Law. Until recently the Council and members of the Council voted to ignore over 20 Citizen Complaints for violation of the Sunshine Law by the Council.
I could go on and on. As I said I have 20 and a half years worth of war stories of me trying, in-artfully perhaps, to get the Council to obey the laws of the State, Federal Government and Municipal Ordinances all to no avail.
Then today happened. Today I got from the Attorney General’s office a copy of a letter sent to the town. It explained how the town had misapplied the law in the spending of Local Option Fuel Tax and has done so for untold amount of time (20 ½ years) Not lesss than 20 times have I brought to the council’s notice the violation of the law and 20 times they have denied me and a few other brave citizens from changing their behavior Two CPA’s for the town, three attorneys for the town, four town managers and one finance director and now at least 10 Council members have misspent Local Option Fuel Taxes, according to the Attorney General. One member, then the Mayor said I was wrong in demanding that the town’s LOFT funds be put in a separate account. One Council member, even the Mayor at the time, said that the Attorney General’s Opinion was just an opinion and need not be followed. He was and is an attorney, perhaps not for long.
I have talked to a Civil Rights Attorney about this continuing violation of my Civil Rights, to Petition my Government for a redress of Grievances and the on-going pattern of denial of that right by the town of White Springs. Maybe a Civil Rights suit will get the town’s attention. Or they could just let me be the Town Manager on an interim basis, say for 6 months to let me get the town in shape with the law. Doubtful.