Veil of secrecy
From the Palm Beach Post-
WEST PALM BEACH — Some secrets regarding a grand jury report about the city's pay-to-play politics may soon be revealed.The local state attorney's office is rather useless. At present Barry Krischer is in Australia. When asked why Krischer wasn't pursuing local corruption cases, his spokesman said.
Seven months after the panel harshly criticized West Palm Beach as a place where developers looking to do business in the city believe they must contribute to officials' campaigns, entire sections of its investigation report remain sealed.
That's because motions by state Rep. Mary Brandenburg, D-West Palm Beach - and possibly Mayor Lois Frankel - to have sections deleted have led state courts to keep even the existence of the efforts an official secret. The motions have been kept off open dockets or filed without names.
But that may be changing.
As a result of The Palm Beach Post's inquiries to Florida circuit, appellate and Supreme courts, judicial officials have agreed to make the existence of the cases and details about motions available to the public. Still under discussion in the state's highest court is whether to allow the release of more than anonymous case numbers and to identify in public dockets the names of those seeking to have grand jury reports expunged.
Chief Circuit Judge Kathleen Kroll agreed last week to release case numbers and dockets for three cases that involve protests of the grand jury presentment. Kroll had denied those efforts to alter the report, and the cases have been appealed to the 4th District Court of Appeal, which has permitted no trace of them to appear on its online docket.
In fact, one 4th District Court of Appeal case that was listed on the docket in May was removed about two weeks ago, after that court's clerk determined it should not be public. That case was filed by Republic Properties Corp., a former city hall construction contractor that objected to a negative reference in the grand jury report.
The existence of a second case, by Brandenburg, is known publicly only because she disclosed it several months ago in an interview, though neither she nor her attorney Don Pickett would discuss the matter further.
Frankel will not comment on whether she filed the third case. The state attorney responded to her criticisms of the grand jury report by calling for a follow-up grand jury investigation.
Florida grand juries are volunteer panels seated to conduct investigations and hear witness testimony, under direction from the state attorney's office.
"Barry didn't want to help people settle scores through bogus cases," Edmondson said. "Besides, the cases (Kanjian) is referring to were not developed by law enforcement but by The Palm Beach Post looking through divorce files. This office doesn't have the legal basis to intrude on the privacy of elected officials.What a useless piece of crap Krischer is. Jim Exline, Tony Masilotti, Ray Liberti and Warren Newell would all still be in office if it was up to the local State Attorney. In each of those four cases, the feds were the ones to bring charges against the corrupt local politician.
Is Krischer on the take too or is he just too lazy or incompetent? Who's paying for the vacation to Australia by the way?
Back to what's going on in West Palm Beach, I fail to understand why the grand jury report hasn't long since been made public. In Florida, there is a thing called Sunshine laws. Which requires government to be done in the open. Here we have a grand jury report done where no charges were made, but its still being kept secret. Why? Are our courts bought off too, just like the politicians?
If Brandenburg and Frankel are clean, they have nothing to fear from the report and no need to keep it secret. If they are afraid, I hope they have plans for a stay in federal prison.
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