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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Full-time work

Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren Newell was indicted yesterday.

West Palm Beach - Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren Newell faces five years in prison for secretly pushing a series of complicated, "corrupt schemes" that brought him more than $500,000 in illicit profits, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Newell, 52, will make his initial court appearance today in West Palm Beach on charges of honest services fraud and tax evasion. In addition to jail time, prosecutors are seeking more than $400,000 in fines and forfeitures, according to charges made public on Tuesday.


In three land deals outlined in the charges, Newell used his longtime engineering firm, SFRN Inc., to hide his financial stake from the public in "cleverly designed transactions," as IRS special agent Luis Rivera put it.

The former commissioner pocketed a $366,000 "secret success fee" as part of a $200 million transaction in which the South Florida Water Management District bought land for a water reservoir from Palm Beach Aggregates, a major land holding west of Wellington, prosecutors said. Newell obscured the payments by listing them as "bonuses" from SFRN and "personal loans" from his longtime business partner, Dan Shalloway. Shalloway could not be reached for comment, despite calls to his office and cell phone.

In another deal, Newell is accused of taking a "kickback" for using his elected position to persuade the county to pay $14 million for the development rights of a Hypoluxo marina, the Palm Beach Yacht Center, even though the rights had been appraised at $9.3 million.

Not only did Newell dock his boat there at half price, but he paid only a "very small portion" of his expenses with the marina, accumulating a $48,000 debt, federal prosecutors said. Newell never paid that debt, instead using a payoff from the marina, which was funneled through his engineering firm and disguised as a bonus, to cover the costs, prosecutors say.
If Newell is found guilty or pleads guilty as is expected, I hope he gets the maximum sentence. Newell was a disgrace to the people of Palm Beach County he was elected to serve.

Four politicians either under indictment, or pleading guilty to corruption charges, doesn't mean the FBI's work is finished in Palm Beach County.

West Palm Beach - The FBI is establishing a full-time, permanent public-corruption squad in Palm Beach County, after a series of criminal cases that brought down two county and two West Palm Beach city commissioners.

"We are putting resources where the crime is," said FBI special agent in charge Tim Delaney.

Delaney said the expansion also was a result of the county's population growth, but acknowledged that the four new agents -- three investigators and a supervisor-- would focus only on corruption by elected officials.
With allegations of 'Pay to play' in West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach, besides other shady dealings in Riviera Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, I think these new FBI agents are going to be busy for some time in Palm Beach County for some time. I wonder how scared Mayors Lois Frankel and Jerry Taylor are right at this moment.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, The World According to Carl,

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