Haines: LET Funds Can be Used for Anything
In the past few weeks, there has been a growing concern throughout the community regarding the shameless spending of LET funds under this Sheriff's discretion--more importantly the vexation by citizens about the legality of the LET disbursements. Will these organizations getting huge checks from the Sheriff have to give the money back at some point, because the funds were not legally donated? To the trusting people of Escambia County, Sir David's translucent pretext of humanitarianism is becoming hard to swallow. The duplicitous donations appear to be a vice for Sir David to purchase value in the community elite and in turn, purchase votes. This has been the theme of many conversations over the breakfast tables and within the social media in Escambia County.
To clarify how the LET funds are spent by the most closely associated LEO agency, the Pensacola PD, I called Jeanne Griffin. Ms. Griffin explained the process of requesting and distributing LET money in their organizations. The process is complex as it should be. First of all, Ms. Griffin says the biggest difference is that the PPD does NOT have a checkbook for that fund. The Sheriff's Office does. He is able to make donations and leave it to the Board of Commissioners to rule on the expenditures after the fact to reimburse the money. There is a glaring assumption that this is expected. In other words, Morgan seems to be fairly confident that he can spend the money and not be concerned because the county commissioners won't question it. That is a problem and a red flag.
Ms. Griffin stated in order to spend LET money, a request must be submitted and has to be approved by the administration of the PPD; it is then submitted to the city council. The city council reviews it and researches it, if necessary. After they approve it, it goes to the mayor and then to have a budget resolution passed. Then after more red tape, the check is cut. Dozens of people must approve the spending of funds because the money belongs to the city or in Morgan's case, the county. They want to be sure that no dollar is spent in haste. This process is standard for most counties and municipalities in Florida. Sir David has been blessed to have broad discretion over the funds. Ironic, since he couldn't handle the discretion of the jail and the rumors of misappropriation of funds in his military past. Observing the recent spending, it seems there is still an issue and the funds he is misappropriating is county money---taxpayers' money.
SIDE NOTE: Funny how his tax returns show the JUMP in wealth after the magnanimous donations started pouring from the county spicket. Could be a coincidence but I'm not one for coincidences.
Also, the creative categorization of the LET money spent is that of sophmoric ineptocrat. For instance: 100 Black Men, an organization that does stuff through the youth of the community but this particular donation has nothing to do with impacting lives or crime prevention. They want money for a banquet.
To understand compliance with the statute, the entire process should be laid out for clarification. The parameters of what donations are in accordance with Fla. Stat. Ann. § 932-7055 fall into the categories of :
1. school resource officer, 2. crime prevention, 3. safe neighborhood, 4. drug abuse education and prevention programs, 5. for other law enforcement purposes, such as defraying the cost of protracted or complex investigations, providing additional equipment or expertise, purchasing automated external defibrillators for use in law enforcement vehicles, and 6. providing matching funds to obtain federal grants. The proceeds and interest may not be used to meet normal operating expenses of the law enforcement agency
The aforementioned example is a example of how broadly this statute is being stretched. A banquet is being used for crime prevention, drug prevention and direct support at $5000? While I am sure there is no doubt this organization benefited from the donation, the issue is this: couldn't Sir David have used that $5000 for something that more beneficial to more people?
Watch and listen to how Chief Deputy Haines explained in on WCOA.
This is exactly the reason the entire Escambia County Board of Commissioners should be impeached along with this Sheriff. BOCC members have a responsibility to the taxpayers to govern and make sure the money for the county is handled correctly. The buck stops with them but they have become complacent and in turn, the inmate is running the asylum.
Creative accounting for the privileged.