What’s That Smell?
The daily newspaper and WEAR TV reported that Edward Fleming of the McDonald, Fleming and Moorhead law firm, who was hired by Escambia County to look at the April jail explosion, reported Board of County Commissioners that he did not find evidence of culpable negligence in the blast and the gas the inmates and corrections officers reported smelling prior to the jail explosion is not what caused the blast.
Inweekly asked Commission Chairman Lumon May for a copy of Fleming’s report. There is no written report, according to Commissioner May. He asked County Attorney Allison Rogers for it and was told the report was only verbal.
County officials got the headline it wanted, the citizens got no record of the investigation.
I’m smelling something here, and it’s not propane gas.
It’s Good To Be The Commish
In 2012, the media began to notice a voting alliance on the BCC between Wilson Robertson and Gene Valentino. Fellow commissioners pointed out that the pair went out of their way to support each other. There was no visible connection other than the platitudes and voting support they gave each other in the meetings. Their two-man voting block played a major role in the ouster of County Administrator Randy Oliver and the rehire of George Touart.
In late 2011, Valentino began telling his friends and supporters about a hunting camp he owned in Santa Rosa County. Inweekly looked up the property, 9779 Chumuckla Springs Road, on the Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser’s website. Valentino bought it from Lamar Brazwell, Commissioner Robertson’s business partner and the husband of his administrative assistant at the county. Brazwell not only sold it to Valentino, but he sold it at a $25,000 loss, according to county records.
|Sale Date||Sale Price||Deed Book||Deed Page||Grantor||Grantee|
|11/2/11||$125,000||3098||536||BRAZWELL JOSEPH LAMAR & ILLAUNA B||VALENTINO GENE M & MAUREEN B|
|2/6/08||$150,000||2811||1853||MOORE DONALD W||BRAZWELL JOSEPH LAMAR & ILLAUNA B|
County staff has told Inweekly that Brazwell is a regular visitor to county offices. He never technically violates the state’s Sunshine Laws, but he visits commissioners –sometimes he cajoles, sometimes he threatens, sometimes he asks their opinion on issues and offers his own…never mentions his business partner, Wilson Robertson.
On the surface, there appears that no laws were broken in land transaction, but does it pass the smell test?
BTW: A rumor on the District 2 County Commission race is that Brazwell hired a UWF professor to run a poll on the race and Valentino has 59 percent of the votes and Sheriff Morgan, who is supporting challenger Doug Underhill, has had his popularity drop below 50 percent because of it. The last polling I saw was in July – Underhill was at 68 percent, Morgan 93 percent. Surely Brazwell and Robertson wouldn’t make up poll results…
Tomorrow we will find out.