Thursday, August 15, 2013

Former Brevard County Clerk of Court, Business Partner Arrested - Warrant Issued for Blueware CEO

Mitch Needelman
UPDATE: BlueWare CEO Turns Herself In


MELBOURNE, Florida – Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Office of Executive Investigations, arrested former State Representative and Brevard County Clerk of Court Mitch Needelman, 60, and his one-time business partner, lobbyist William Matthew Dupree, 47. 


The two were charged with bid tampering and bribery related to the BlueWare scanning contract signed by Needelman when he was the Brevard County Clerk of the Court. Needelman is also charged with official misconduct for allegedly directing employees to use private email accounts to circumvent public records laws. 


In addition to Needelman and Dupree, an arrest warrant has been issued for BlueWare CEO Rose Harr, 55, also on bid tampering and bribery charges. 


The investigation began in July 2012 when FDLE received information alleging Needelman approved Brevard County Clerk of Court contracts with BlueWare in exchange for personal financial gain for himself and Dupree. The investigation focused on a multi-million dollar scanning contract for digitization of Brevard County records even though, at the time, BlueWare had no equipment to scan the documents. 


Florida State Attorney Phil Archer said in a release that the investigation revealed that Dupree introduced Needelman to BlueWare CEO Harr and COO Nick Geaney in January 2012. 


In March 2012, Needelman and Dupree met with Geaney at Needelman’s residence and allegedly told him Brevard County would enter into the scanning contract with BlueWare if a portion of the money paid to BlueWare would be diverted back to Dupree for Needelman’s 2012 reelection campaign.  According to Archer, the investigation shows that a portion of the BlueWare payments was allegedly funneled back to Dupree for Needelman’s 2012 reelection campaign.


In April 2012, BlueWare allegedly assisted in drafting the invitation to negotiate (ITN) for Brevard County Clerk of Court for the scanning contract and subsequently responded to the ITN. The ITN was posted on May 4, 2012, and records indicate questions from other bidders were sent to a county employee’s personal email account and then forwarded to Harr and Geaney to write responses. The responses were then emailed back to the bidders using the county email system. On May 23, 2012, a payment of $500,000 was wired to BlueWare even though the contract had not been signed. The actual contract was signed June 29, 2012, and on that day, the first monthly payment of $90,000 was sent to BlueWare. 


In August 2012, Needelman lost his bid for reelection for Brevard County Clerk of Court. Before leaving office, in October 2012, Needelman entered into a loan with Hewlett-Packard Financial Services for $5.6 million dollars. Information obtained indicated that BlueWare received the loan money although Brevard County was obligated to repay the loan. 


Needelman was arrested at his home this morning; Dupree was arrested at his office, 2012 West Drive, Melbourne, Fla. Each was booked into the Brevard County Jail on bonds of $50,000. 


“The investigation shows Needelman, Dupree and Harr swindled Brevard County taxpayers out of millions of dollars,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “Although not the final chapter, today’s arrests should present a degree of satisfaction to Brevard County taxpayers.”


Brevard County State Attorney Phil Archer’s office will prosecute the case. Archer said his office assisted FDLE throughout the probe by subpoenaing records and data crucial to the case. 

“This partnership allows professionals to do the job they are trained to do, free from any outside alliances or influences. It benefits both agencies by allowing prosecutors to attack white collar crime in the courtroom with the facts the law enforcement experts have pursued and established,” Archer said. 


"FDLE has done an outstanding job on the case," said current Brevard Clerk of Court Scott Ellis who repeatedly raised these allegations during his 2012 campaign to defeat Needelman.  "We are mostly just relieved to see these actions brought to justice."
 



Brevard Times was the only news source to continue a series of in-depth investigative articles led by Charles Parker into this story:
 

Scott Ellis To Run For Clerk of Court Again January 4, 2012

Clerk of Court Staffer Endorses Needelman, Ellis Responds February 7, 2012

Needelman Calls Ellis A Liar In Brevard County Clerk of Courts Debate February 16, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate: Video March 23, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate in Titusville: VIDEO  April 23, 2012

Scott Ellis Wins Clerk of Court Viewer Poll  April 30, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate In Melbourne: VIDEO  May 8, 2012

Mitch Needelman Named Finalist For 'Tax Cutter' Award  May 17, 2012

Brevard Constitutional Officer's Straw Poll Results May 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Clerk's Race Heats Up May 30, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate: VIDEO June 4, 2012

Ellis: Taxpayers Foot Bill for Endless Self Promotion of Mr. Needelman June 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Mitch Needelman June 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Scott Ellis June 25, 2012

Needelman: Ellis' "Complicated" Requests Delayed Release of Clerk Documents, BlueWare Contracts Jul 5, 2012 

Contract Controversy Taints Florida Governor's Jobs Campaign July 10, 2012

Scott Ellis Republican Picnic Video (Mitch Needelman Not Present) July 15, 2012

2012 Bi-Annual Brevard Republican Picnic Straw Poll Results July 15, 2012

Clerk of Court Sunshine Lawsuit Hearing Monday  July 21, 2012

Needelman Wins Partial Victory in Court Case Brought by Ellis July 23, 2012

Opinion: Why I Support Ellis, Blickley, Ivey, Trettis, Kneessy, Romney July 25, 2012

Republican Primary Candidates Brevard County Clerk of Court Monday, July 30, 2012

Needelman: Ellis Complicit in Extortion Plot?  August 12, 2012

Ellis: Panic sets in as Race comes to an End August 13, 2012

Dirty Brevard County Politics Caught On Surveillance Video  Aug 13, 2012

Brevard Clerk of Court Recount, No Layoffs Anticipated  August 24, 2012

$8.5 Million Brevard Clerk of Court Records Digitizing Underway  Oct 17, 2012

Clerk's Attorney Refers Staffing Questions to BlueWare  Nov 1, 2012

BlueWare Misses Clerk's Office Deadline  Nov 7, 2012

UPDATE: Needelman and Company Owner Mum Regarding Digitizing Contract Nov 15, 2012

DuPree Confirms BlueWare Scanning Readiness  Nov 17, 2012 

Charles Parker: Hey Mitch and Matt: How About Some Answers? December 4, 2012

Charles Parker: Divergent Views on Clerk's Contract Continue December 11, 2012

Ellis Plans Moneysaving Changes In Clerk's Office Jan 5, 2013

Scott Ellis Sworn In As Brevard County Clerk of Court  Jan 8, 2013

Brevard Clerk Lowers Florida 'Fix It' Ticket To $10  Jan 19, 2013

Former Clerk's Digitizing Contract Under More Scrutiny  Jan 19, 2013

Ellis: Emails Appear To Contradict Needelman Attorney's Testimony  Jan 24, 2013

Brevard EDC Cites "Non-Disclosure Agreement" and Confidentiality  Jan 25, 2013

Ellis Claims Proof of Needelman Campaign Lies in Emails and Video  Jan 29, 2013

Ellis and Weatherman At Odds Over BlueWare Documents  Feb 5, 2013 

Commissioner Asserts EDC Confidentiality Claim "Raises Questions" February 14, 2013

Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast Subpoenaed By FDLE February 28, 2013

Charles Parker: BlueWare, Rose Harr, and Me  March 2, 2013

BlueWare Not Using Available Training Funds Mar 15, 2013

Hewlett Packard Threatens Lawsuit Over BlueWare Debt Mar 23, 2013

Brevard County Clerk of Court Files Suit Against BlueGem March 29, 2013

Details of Brevard Clerk of the Court Lawsuits Against BlueGem and RoseWare Emerge In Court Filings March 29, 2013

Space Coast Economic Incentives Make Florida Headlines  Apr 1, 2013

BlueGem Counter-Sues Clerk's Office: Claims Ellis' "Ignorance"  May 5, 2013

Ellis and Hewlett-Packard Still At Odds Over Scanning Contract Loan Payments  June 2, 2013 

Hewlett Packard Sues Brevard Clerk of Court For Disputed Scanning Contract Payments Jul 26, 2013

Former Brevard County Clerk of Court, Business Partner Arrested - Warrant Issued for Blueware CEO August 15, 2013

BlueWare CEO Turns Herself In August 16, 2013 

County Commission Tells Economic Development Commission To Turn Over BlueWare Documents  August 20, 2013

63 comments:

  1. I'd like to see their mugshots.

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  2. EXCELLENT! It's about time! Scott Ellis is vindicated!

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    Replies
    1. another crooked Republican. Who's surprised?

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  3. I hope Matt and Rose enjoyed Fiji enough to make life time memories. Rose your family must be so proud of you.

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  4. Where is Rose, Kaitlin and Jennifer now posting on this board that everyone was telling lies? Where is the Rose's lawyer threatening he was going to go after everyone on this board for telling lies? All the lies that Rose has been telling to all of us and all her employees for 18 months and using people for her own personal gain.

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  5. This is just THE BEST NEWS! Thanks in large part to Ellis or this scum would still be in that position, and to Charles Parker for giving it (us) a voice.

    Thanks FDLE - I really had my doubts based on past history here in Brevard. I take back all the bad I said about you.

    Rock on Lady Justice!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you both, Mr. Ellis and Mr. Parker. Journalism can work if it is not corrupted by political ideology.

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  6. These are the words of Debbie Caldwell, Rose's trusted friend and VP of something at Blueware -

    We are a medical soft ware company , , check us out on Blueware.net,
    Great place to work , very fast and forward moving,We have a great CEO called Rose Harr , she is visionary.

    I am not going to address the obvious about spelling - too easy to pick on the foreigner - but the whole thing about visionary just gets me.

    Trying to skirt Florida laws does not make you a visionary.

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  7. Watching the sleaze politics that operates in Brevard under the cover of Tea Party zealots and the Right wing, it was a pleasure to see one of the roaches get caught in the light.

    Florida Today seems to have a "live and let live" policy with this community, with the exception of Matt Reed. At times I think "Hometown News," has more cajones and enlightenment in their "Rants and Raves" section.

    Now that I see there's a Brevard Times," I'll bookmark it and count on learning REAL scoop there.

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    Replies
    1. I'm quite happy you'll be reading BT since your first two paragraphs show just how clueless you currently are.

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    2. That's a sad reply. The corruption here has to be under the republican flag at least on the government level because there are no democrats running the show here.

      You remember, anybody that's not a card carrying NRA member convinced that the D's are are facists for taking away their right to discriminate against anybody they feel like while collecting socialist SS and Medicare and VA benefits has to be a commie trying to take away their "liberty," right?

      LOL.

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    3. I wasn't implying FT was in the Right-wing corner; but the overall impression I've had is as I wrote - "live and let live" attitude and rare hard-invstigative reporting.

      Also, if I'm not mistaken, Mr. Ellis is a Republican - just not a rabid, ignorant lemming on all things "Right."

      Can't tell you how happy I am to visit a community where the most frequent site is an NRA sticker on a truck with a set of bull sacs hanging off the hitch or the tranny. It's like...like Appalachia without the mountains!

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  8. Certainly glad that corruption is being pursued here, at long last. It seems to me that there are more than a couple of opportunities to go after the "takers" here is Brevard - well known for corrupt machinations between the EDC, CoC, and those very self righteous "entreprenuers" who are so very precious that all plebs must bow to their entitled (read: net worth) greatness. Citizens of Brevard, you are being played and stolen from. Don't believe the political hype - it's done just to distract you.

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  9. $50,000 bail bonds doesn't fit the crime.

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    Replies
    1. $50,000 is the bail not the punishment. Punishment will come along a bit later. Bail is just used to make sure the alleged criminal sticks around for their trial.

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    2. The punishment will be Rose not being able to walk around town with her head in the air like she is better than the rest of us. I heard she is actually filing to open a new company called BluePlates. Evidently, she is thinking about organizing the other inmates she will be doing time with to outsource their labor back to the county for making license plates. When she was told they already do it for free her reply was if I can figure out how to get the county to give me $6 million for digitizing records that did not need to be digitized I am sure I can figure out how to get them to pay for free labor - what an amateur.

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  10. You know, I've got nothing against anybody making money. Lots of it, if that's all that soothes their souls. I only have a problem with it when the rest of us are ripped off in pursuit of it. As is the case here. Money does not equal good in every instance, and there are so very many instances of stealing from the public in so many ways - for-profit prisons, outsourcing vital govt svcs, tax "abatements," and the like that I consider most, if not all, business people to be goverment employees themselves, since all or most of their money comes from government largess via taxes we pay. That's why I find all the complaining about governemnt so ironic. Think DRS and all the others arn't dependent on govt just as much as any so call welfare queen? Think again. They just take more off the top, leaving less for us. Worse than govt is corporate govt.

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  11. Note to Scott Ellis-

    We heard the news earlier today about Mitch Needleman being arrested. It’s an embarrassment to citizens of Brevard County. But what really, really gets my blood boiling is when I recall how the Florida Today staff reporters and editorial board dismissed your calls for investigation as merely a political spat. You were the only one to warn us about this “sweetheart deal” at the Clerk’s office and it’s mismanagement of the office and complete decay of employee morale. So, thank you for standing up once again for the Citizens of this County.

    It so refreshing to see a public servant that serves the public for a change! Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Nothing is printed in FT that hasn't been passed through the Chamber for approval first.

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  12. There are a lot of former Blueware employees who are smiling today. Karma has a way of catching up with you.

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    1. 99 years in jail could not be enough for the pain and suffering that woman, her daughter, her son and her protected followers - Debbie and Jennifer bestowed upon us. Walking around thinking you are better than the rest of us. Flying to the UK, Australia , Fiji, and Malaysia when we were just trying to get our back pay. Posing in fancy cars and having dinners and staying at the Ritz Carlton claiming we are all suffering. I hope they all go to jail for a long time.

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    2. BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!! I'VE ALWAYS SAID KARMA IS A BITCH

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    3. I missed something here. Were the Clerk employees outsourced to Blueware? I thought Blueware was the company illegally selected for the scanning project.

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    4. You did not miss anything - clerk employees under Mitch's supervision worked with Blueware employees to make it all happen. There are people who should be concerned but they will give them deals to make the case more secure against the three amigos.

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  13. Why is Florida Today being blamed for this?

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    Replies
    1. Because they were asked to investigate and they ignored because too many of their precious protected politicians may be involved.

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    2. Florida Today did this community a grave injustice when they wouldn't touch this story with a ten foot pole.

      That will not soon be forgotten by many ex-subscribers, including this one!

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  14. Scott Ellis is a true Brevard hero! This isn't a shameful story about a corrupt politician (well maybe a little bit :)) It's much more a story that a politician can be ethical, undaunted in the search for truth, and a great human being. Scott Ellis is an inspiration who restores our faith in the political system.

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  15. I just read the reporter's biography. As a retired school teacher, I think it is just wonderful that a teacher uncovered the biggest scandal in the county when the newspaper didn't!


    I still take the newspaper because I like to do crosswords in pen. But I usually watch channel 2 in the mornings for news before Hoda. I am so glad I found the Brevard Times that doesn't charge a subscription on the internet! But I haven't seen their newspaper anywhere. I will keep an eye out for it next time I am at the supermarket.

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  16. A combined "Thank You Scott Ellis" from all of Brevard Residents!

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  17. Wow, so glad that justice is coming soon on this matter. Such a frustrating thing to watch. Many of the news channels wouldn't even cover this story for whatever reason. Well, now they have too! People will say that this was politically motivated. It's so obvious from the beginning that this was a "closed" bid process. Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter. Politicians from BOTH parties have been known to be corrupt. The thing that gets me, aside from basically stealing taxpayers money for his campaign, is he pompous attitude. Seems like most corrupt politicians always feel like they can't be stopped. Like they are so powerful that they are invincible. I know he still has to be proven guilty, but I expect that will come fairly quickly. Likely a plea deal. I would think. What a loser! Rose sucks too! Ha!

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  18. Can anyone tell me if Blueware is still in business in Melbourne?

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    Replies
    1. Were they ever?

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    2. Yeah, they had that big grand opening of their office on the river. Behind that old bar at 192 and US1. I just don't know if they have any clients other than the Clerk's office which they never started. I've heard some employee rumblings, but never any details. Weird situation!

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    3. They had around 60 US hospitals last year. But most of them were one large national chain - and they were likely losing them. The funny/sad thing is that Blueware had a good product in development but they never completed it and were expecting their sales people to sell their vaporware to unsuspecting customers. And for their current clients, they made them pay upfront for software interfaces then took 6 months to deliver a product for them. Very poor customer service.

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  19. Brevard County is the most Corrupt County in the State and I'm hoping that this is just a start...

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  20. Agreed, Brevard is Corrupt beyond belief and Florida Today coddles the culprits. Doesn't matter if your in County Government of Brevard State Legislature Representative...
    So sorry for all of the hard working employees that were innocent victims of this sham.

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  21. Agreed, Brevard is Corrupt beyond belief and Florida Today coddles the culprits. Doesn't matter if your in County Government or a Brevard State Legislature Representative...
    So sorry for all of the hard working employees that were innocent victims of this sham. Thank you Scott Ellis for never backing down on exposing this!

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  22. Blueware is still trying to secure business. They bid out a job in Orange Co FL. I hope the investigators will research this bid as well.

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  23. On Rose's Facebook today she liked 9 Florida newspapers. Seriously, is there something wrong with this woman. Newspapers are writing stories about having a warrant out for her and she is liking the newspaper who write the stories. Is her mind that warped? Someone please stop her and shut this company down.

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  24. Scott, You took a lot of arrows for coming back out of retirement and getting back into the race. There were a few of us who really understood the situation and without you, Mitch would still be in power looting our county. This county owes you a big debt of gratitude. Thank you so much!!!!

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    Replies
    1. I'm a Democratic Party member but can cross the aisle to 100% fully agree with your comment.

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  25. Rose always wanted blueware to go public. WHAAAAT!!!!!?

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  26. What today must feel like to be a Blueware employee - everyone is happy the scandal has come out, one of your VPs was dragged out of work yesterday in handcuffs, your incredibly obnoxious boss is hiding from the law (but yet has time to post on her FB page) and you probably are not going to be paid ever again. I hate to tell you but you are getting what you deserve. All the former employees who told you to not take the job Mike, or to run as quick as you can Jennifer were ignored. Good luck.

    Did they kick her out of the yacht club yet?

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  27. Rose's lawyer said she is going to turn herself in on Thursday or Friday - after all this woman loves to make a big deal out of everything. What are the chances of the county getting their money back or has this egomaniac spent and hidden every penny?

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    Replies
    1. Today or NEXT Thursday or Friday? She a flight risk! They better get her! She loved to travel!

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  28. Getting our money back is all up to the civil case -let's hope she hasn't spent it all on shoes.

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  29. Did any one see the video of Mitch leaving the jail? Classic - for the first time he had nothing to say. The lawyer was like - I am not sure why we are even here - I haven't seen any charges. And the reporter was great and she kept asking him the same question he continually ignored. The biggest crime here - who wears knee high socks with shorts? Oh my bad - you got arrested first thing in the morning and you did not see it coming - sorry but you should not even have that as a choice of outfits.

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  30. Brazen enough to do this at the county level, does anyone wonder what he was doing when he was at the State level?

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  31. Has Rose Harr turned herself in yet? Been searching online and can not find any reference to her being arrested.

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    Replies
    1. Not yet. I don't see anything yet. Maybe she fled to Fiji!

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  32. Her lawyer said she would turn herself in but she has not done it yet. She is too busy sending tweets out and posting on FB and trying to hide the money in the mattress - shhhh don't tell anyone.

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  33. She turned herself in! Can't believe it. It's on Florida Today. Mug shot and all. Florida Today is soooo sad that they have to cover this now. Tried to hide it forever!! Poor Florida Today.....not!!

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  34. I love the little radio news clips... "Mitch Needelmen arrest has law makers considering changes to ethics laws."

    HAHAHA!

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  35. From the Toady article:

    In August, 2012, Geaney filed a Whistleblower Act suit against BlueWare and Harr, alleging in part that he was wrongfully terminated from BlueWare after expressing his intention to report Harr’s involvement with “a certain government official in the state of Florida,” according to court documents. The suit was filed Wexford County, Mich., in the county seat of Cadillac, former corporate headquarters of BlueWare.

    Looks like somebody knew it was time to break ranks and sell out

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  36. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130816/NEWS01/130816011/BlueWare-CEO-turns-herself-in

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  37. Florida Today has taken to Facebook in the last hour to defend itself win the comments section by directing readers to "selected" articles on the left hand side of the column.

    The articles (just he-said he-said with no investigation by FT) are stripped of the comments that were made when they were first published.

    FT and Rose Harr are both trying to put lipstick on a pig!!

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  38. Rose is a pig. And she is about to be spit roasted.

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  39. You would think with almost $6 million in her bank account you would have a nicer haircut or join some health club - this woman is never going to make it through the pressure of a court trial.

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  40. She looks terrible - like a lot of pressure she has been under - maybe she can feel an ounce of the suffering I experienced trying to get my paycheck out of this company every two weeks - and now to find out they had the money all the time.

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  41. Someone help me out here. After reading Matt Reed's article this morning, I seem to recall him blasting BT for being Scott's mouthpiece. But I can't find it on the internet or remember where I saw it.

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