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Suzanne Harris wins again!

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Misty, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    By TOM McLAUGHLIN
    315-4435 | @TomMnwfdn
    tmclaughlin@nwfdailynews.com

    Posted Oct. 1, 2015 at 5:04 PM
    Updated at 5:10 PM

    Suzanne Harris has won a lawsuit alleging the state Sunshine Law was violated when Walton County hired attorney George Ralph Miller without the public being notified.Judge John Simon granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Harris attorney Matt Gaetz.The ruling could end a case originally filed in 2010, following a controversial purchase of South Walton land in the area of Chat Holley Road.Simon decided that then-interim County Attorney Lynn Hoshihara put Miller on retainer without notifying the board of county commissioners she was doing so.That violated a county admonition to Hoshihara that she “work with the board to secure outside legal counsel, as needed,” Simon said in his ruling.Walton County wound up paying $187,400 to Miller during the time he was on retainer, the ruling said.“Unilateral action by one government official that commits taxpayer funds and that has not been fully and lawfully authorized at a public meeting” violates Florida law, the judge ruled.“No record evidence indicates that Ms. Hoshihara worked with the board at any public meeting ... to subsequently hire or enter contracts with Attorney Miller.”Gaetz called it “ludicrous” that Walton County would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending something he called “clearly illegal.”“Walton County cannot enter into contracts without a public meeting,” he said. “Conducting business outside of the sunshine is what feeds the good ol’ boy mentality.”The Chat Holley land deal that led to the revelations about the hiring of Miller occurred when Miller negotiated the purchase of land in the area with developer Lloyd Blue.Questions arose as to whether Blue owned the land he sold and if the county might not have even owned some portion of the very land it bought. Bill Warner, the attorney who represented the county, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
     
  2. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    By the time she has finished filing and winning lawsuits, she won't need to run for County Commissioner....she'll own the county!

    Good job!
     
  3. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Realizing that she won another sunshine lawsuit, I suppose the question is what exactly did she gain? I understand the issue but I am paying the bill so I guess you might say I won because it may bring about better government, but I lost because Representative Gaetz just sued my pants off and I am sure Mrs Harris will at a minimum get lawyers fees. I am sure Representative Gaetz will attempt to do what he has done over in Okaloosa here is Walton or maybe not because there is a check involved and a guy has to eat. See you in Tallahassee in February, Rep Gaetz.
     
  4. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Bob, it once again proves that Walton Country is infested with corruption.

    CoWal is being outed one day at a time, whether you like it or not.
     
  5. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    About 200K!
     
  6. Patriot Games

    Patriot Games Beach Lover

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    Actually it will cost the county about 400K, they still have to pay the warner law firm the 200k to defend it and 200k to Harris's lawyer. (Oh yeah, this doesn't include the 180K given to george ralph)

    After the county publicly let Hoshihara go. (She resigned) she quietly has been rehired at a higher salary thru Neighbors Giblin and Nickerson.(smoke and mirrors) You can see this clown at the next code enforcement board billing the county by the hour! She was trained by the best crooked lawyers Walton has ever had.(GRM and Clay) Write your commissioners and tell them to let her go once and for all.
    read the judgement for yourself, no spin there. All Harris originally wanted was for the county to admit publicly that it had hired ole George outside the sunshine, they wouldn't do it, so she sued and won again. If the BCC chair (At the time Brannon) had admitted it, the taxpayers could have saved the 400K.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  7. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    Bob Wells,

    I don't really understand the comment directed towards Gatez. You were hired to do a specific job and if you weren't doing it, I would expect the people to hold your feet to the fire and we have the right to expect the same from Government. That's what checks and balances are for. It's also how you keep politicians honest and operating in the Sunshine.

    At some point the County needs to wake up and smell the coffee. We can't continue on the path the County has had us on for eons and the County has no right to expect not to be sued if they continue in the same direction just because that's how its always been done. Most people (regardless of who writes their paycheck) realize that the County needs to learn from the mistakes of the past or we are destined to continue making them.

    As if an almost million dollar mistake wasn't enough to teach us that, within in a matter of days we now have a $400K mistake! (Thanks for the correction Patriot Games, its not like a million dollar screw up wasn't bad enough!)

    Stop defending the crap...it cost all the taxpayers money!
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  8. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    According to that document the contract with GRM was invalid from the outset but he was paid $ 187,400.00 so,
    ADD that to the $400K also. County losses in just over a week (including the GJ report).....just a mere $1,387,400.00 and the hits just keep coming.
     
  9. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    I never heard him come out against Governor Scott for his violation of the sunshine law, but I suppose that would go against the politics of his party. I also think he is opposed to local government, based on conversations I have been apart of in Tallahassee, meaning I got the feeling he has very little respect for local government and the jobs they do. This is just my opinion and what my comments are based on.
     
  10. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Stop trying to deflect this to the Governor and his crooked violations. This is about the Walton Good Ole' Boys (and girls); Miller, Adkinson, Toshahara, etc.

    Just admit it Bob, Walton County is an embarrassment and a mess.
     
  11. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    Regarding Gov. Scott....Pffft! I have as much use for Gov. Scott as I do a social disease.

    I have very little respect for local government and the jobs they obviously have not done. Do you really think that $1,387,400.00 could literally disappear in less than 5 days and government shouldn't be held accountable for it? Obviously from your comments you do which, IMO makes you part of the problem.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  12. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    Perhaps Ms. Harris should file a bar complaint against Miller. He's an attorney and should know better than to enter into an illegal contract....
     
  13. Suzanne Harris

    Suzanne Harris Beach Fanatic

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    This is just the tip of the ice berg. Study the Chad Holley purchase. I offered numerous times to settle but the county refused. all they ever needed to do was admit George Ralph was hired out of the sunshine. This is the sencond shunhine violation for George Ralph. The first one I won against George Ralph personally to which he ( his estate) still owes me for my attorney fees. I will never see that money.

    This is the second lawsuit against Walton County for a sunshine law violation both times they had the chance to settle but chose to take it all the way and lost. It is a shame they just can not do the right thing.

    He is dead.
     
  14. FoX

    FoX Beach Fanatic

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    Lawyer don't care.
     
  15. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    Bob, there is a quantum difference between having little respect for local government generically and having little respect for Walton County's modus operandi. Neither Matt nor Suzanne (nor I) has any respect for the manner in which Walton often does its business in managing the affairs of county government in instances such as these with George Ralph as well as the missing plat fees, and deservedly so. Many have thrown rocks at Suzanne for her steadfast and very public opposition to many of the practices of the players and hangers on in county government. One might hope that these folks would open their eyes to the evidence before them. Suzanne has been right time after time, and Matt has had the courage to do his job as an attorney despite the certainty that doing so will alienate powerful people who will do all they can to hurt him politically.

    Cast aside your prejudices and accept reality. Suzanne and Matt have confronted the county on your behalf and mine again, and they have won again. The wasted tax dollars are the proximate result of willful, and I think egregious, misconduct by multiple people paid by the county. The county knew it was wrong, refused to admit it, refused to settle early or late, and it has deservedly been found thoroughly at fault, sufficiently so that a judge would not let this go further and allow the county to waste more tax dollars defending the indefensible. The summary judgement is an indictment of the county in this instance. We can only wish this were an isolated case.

    We have some decent people doing good jobs at many levels of county government. Unfortunately, they and we are and have been being betrayed by irresponsible and illegal practices, this latest case being only a small but illustrative example of how and by whom. Suzanne deserves our thanks and our admiration for having the determination, intelligence and personal courage to fight the blatant wrongdoings in county government. Now, if only someone in county government will step up and see to it that Ms. Hoshihara does no further work for the county. It's a mite late for bar complaints against George Ralph, but Ms. Hoshihara's misdeeds in this case warrant bar action, and it should not await a citizen complaint. The Florida Bar certainly knows of this by now.

    I doubt many know of the instance a couple of years ago when two armed thugs showed up at Edgewater, posing as BATF agents, brandishing badges and demanding to see Suzanne. Their excuse was a transparent lie, and the front desk employee rightly called them on it. Despite this, they proceeded to scout the grounds. Nothing more came of it, but if the intent was to scare Suzanne off, they demonstrably failed. The employee in question told me of this face to face, and Suzanne has told me and others directly that she will not be intimidated. And she, unlike many, speaks the truth.

    And Misty, I'm not defending Larry. I'm castigating the State Attorney's office for what I deem unconscionable behavior at best. Our system of justice is capable of being perverted, and I firmly believe that to be the case in this abortion of an investigation and Grand Jury proceeding if the reports of same are to be believed. Keep up your revelations into the relations among the players. Everyone needs to know these things.
     
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  16. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    Dead men tell no tales Matt.
     
  17. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    Lazin...I didn't think you were defending Larry. Like you, I think people need to be looking at the larger picture in regard to how the County continually finds themselves in these quandaries with Sunshine Laws, missing taxpayer funds, lawsuits, etc.

    For reasons I can't comprehend people want to look at these issues as isolated events and therein lies the problem. These aren't isolated incidents...we have a HISTORY of these sorted messes and the taxpayers have continually bailed out the County who just refuses to admit change is needed in Walton County and that we can't continue with the "good ole boy" network of doing business.

    My comments also were not directed at employees of Walton County but rather the "same ole" politicians who get us into these rectal explosions time after time, after time. The sad part is, we all look like fools because people just keep voting for and recycling the garbage that got us into these messes to start with.

    I certainly don't appreciate that its taken lawsuits (filed by Suzanne Harris) to drive the point home and its mind boggling that the County just can't seem to wrap their brains around the fact that she isn't going away and continuing to do business as usual isn't working out so well for ANY OF US anymore. People want to hate on Ms. Harris for ALL the WRONG reasons even though she has proven in court time and again that she is doing this for all the RIGHT reasons. IT'S IN OUR BEST INTERESTS!

    I had a conversation this morning with a personal friend of mine and the jest of the conversation was, it doesn't matter that Brannon hates Suzanne or that Bob Wells thinks Gatez is a traitor to his own party, you can't destroy someones credibility when they keep "whoopin your ass" in court and it really ought to make you look at what can be done to IMPROVE the odds that you won't keep getting your ass whooped.

    This isn't about how long you have known which good ole boy, or what a great friend he/she has been or whether or not C. Jones is a dirty politician and Meadows and Jones were scapegoated. The fact is, they have all played a staring role in the courtroom drama that seems to continually unfold in Walton County and the horrific thing about that is, that taxpayers dollars being spent to defend the indefensible belong to ALL OF US and we don't entrust that money to the County in the hopes that "we can win the next one" we entrust that money to the County to PREVENT the next one!
     
  18. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    I won't disagree with your opinion, but it doesn't change mine. I find folks with different opinions from Misty, John G, Mrs Harris, and so on and so forth. The only difference is everyone has their opinions. Some say that Commissioner Comander is all that and a can of chips, that Commissioner Jones is a puppet to her husband, the political machine, and Commissioner Meadows is great and has been singled out because she is an outsider and Commissioner Imfeld isn't what everyone thought he was and Commissioner Chapman, well no one says a whole lot about him at all. It is all politics,

    Representative Gaetz has been pitching good government and has sued my local government for the same thing that the Governor has failed at. I would have no issue with his cause except that it seems to be hypocritical calling for better government but not complaining or saying something about what he could be apart of making a change at the higher level. I don't fault Mrs Harris for doing what she is doing, I may not like it but I do understand it. When Mrs Harris decides she is running for county commissioner then I will decide whether she get my vote. Not sure why you think I a prejudice or not in touch with reality but I understand how our system operates and until it changes will operate within that system, just like everyone else.

    Is the system broke? I don't know. Is there issues with the system where money can buy you access or change, yes. Unless you are able to self fund your campaign you will always owe someone for where you are. Can the system improve,certainly.Understand something, I don't claim any grand insight like some on here do, but those candidates who get elected have to have people vote for them, whether it is Commissioner Jones, Meadows, Comander, Imfeld, or Chapman. Just like those before them. Who would have thought Larry Jones would have become County Administrator after all the aspersions were cast his way. All these folks have been viewed negatively by some on this very forum. This is politics and we aren't the only county that deals with it. Sorry about the rant... Have an awesome weekend.

    Just my opinion
     
  19. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    Bob Wells wrote:

    Keep telling yourself that. The evidence clearly indicates that it is!



    Who didn't see that coming? All the pomp and circumstance surrounding who would or wouldn't be hired was just eye candy to make it look like the County was looking for the best possible Administrator. Anyone who didn't see that coming was either blind, dumb or both!


    I don't think ANY of the Commissioner are "all that and a can of chips" including Ms. Comander and I'd call Ms. Comander out as quickly as I would ANY of the others...in fact, I DID SAY that any of those elected BCC members who were in office at the time the money went missing are guilty of IGNORING expert opinions that the taxpayers funded (Beeman Report) that would or could have prevented it. Does Ms. Commander read this forum? Absolutely she does. Do I still consider her my friend on a personal level aside from the politics? Yes! I haven't said anything here that I have not said to her personally. We aren't in agreement on the entire issue but we do agree that Pat Blackshear had a duty and an obligation to the County to report that money was never collected and failed to do so. It doesn't absolve the BCC of not having checks and balances in place that would have prevented it to start with nor does it absolve Bill Eddins in not going far enough in the investigation that would have uncovered that C. Jones is as guilty as Meadows and Jones are accused of being regarding county hiring practices.


    When politicians, power brokers and the media have the power to "dumb down" the electorate you have what currently exists in this county...recycled garbage and people with agendas who pull the strings of the puppets they helped get elected with their endless campaign contributions and resources. I'll give you an example.

    A local radio station was invited to the press conference Bill Eddins and Mike Adkinson gave in regard to the political witch hunt that uncovered the transgressions of Ms. Meadows and Larry Jones and the (almost) one million dollars in uncollected fees. That same radio station has yet to report the findings in Suzanne Harris' lawsuit or the fact it will cost the taxpayers in excess of $400K not including the $187,400.00 that was paid to GRM that the County will never recover. God forbid that a news source actually report news that would give people an opportunity to be informed and make their own decisions that effect how their tax dollars are really being spent. That same news source also removed ANY comments that suggested that the "Eddins Witch Hunt" didn't go far enough. Censoring public opinion certainly has a way of "dumbing down" voters and speaks volumes to the agendas at work here!!
     
  20. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    That's because ZEP has been and continues to be a joke.

    Even with Kevin gone, they still lack what's needed.

    Instead of grandma's store or what ever nonsense they put out, they need to address the issues.

    The nubby and jo boy show doesn't cut it.

    Ever wonder why Walton has NO media in it?

    Got to control it.
     

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