Friday, August 16, 2013

Mitch Needelman arrested on bribery, tampering charges

Former Clerk of Courts and Florida Rep. Mitch Needelman was arrested this morning on charges of bribery, bid tampering and official misconduct.

The charges come at the end of a yearlong investigation by the state attorney’s office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement into allegations that Needleman got campaign kickbacks from a company that was awarded an $8.53 million contract to scan court documents.

At news conference this morning, FDLE Director of Executive Investigations Cindy Sanz said Needelman entered the contract BlueWare Inc., with the agreement that a portion of that money would be funneled back into Needelman’s re-election campaign.

William Matthew Dupree, a former business partner of Needelman, also was arrested on charges of bid tampering and bribery.

An arrest warrant has been issued for BlueWare Chief Executive Officer Rose Harr, on bid tampering and bribery charges.

“The investigation shows Needelman, Dupree and Harr swindled Brevard County taxpayers out of millions of dollars,” Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said in a statement released today.

FDLE says that 75 percent of the documents covered by the contract were eligible for destruction and did not need to be scanned.

The state attorney’s office and the FDLE allege that Needelman helped steer the document-scanning contract to Blueware in return for campaign contributions for his 2012 Republican primary campaign against Scott Ellis, who was a former clerk of courts.
They allege that Dupree introduced Needelman to Harr and Blueware Chief Operating Officer Nick Geaney in January 2012.

A subsequent meeting two months later allegedly led to the secret deal under which BlueWare would receive the document-scanning contract if a portion of the money paid to BlueWare was diverted back to Dupree for Needelman’s political campaign.

Full article: http://www.floridato … ry-tampering-charges

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