Monday, October 31, 2011

Florida AG Overlooking Political Corruption, Fraud At State University System?

Attorney General Pam Bondi

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is joining her Kentucky colleague Jack Conway in waging a war on for-profit colleges -- with taxpayer funds -- while turning a blind eye to problems in non-profit and state schools. Except, in Bondi's case, there are demonstrable instances of mismanagement, fraud, and abuse in those taxpayer-funded colleges that she appears to be ignoring for the time being.
A few examples of taxpayer waste that Bondi should be focusing on:
  • State-funded Daytona State College, Florida A&M University, Edison State College, and Miami-Dade College all currently face losing their accreditation due to issues ranging from low performance standards to admitting students without required courses to employing too few professors.
  • Florida’s biggest state universities are under fire for rampant abuses within their athletic programs. Numerous Florida State University athletic teams have been forced to vacate wins due to academic misconduct, while University of Miami athletes have been discovered accepting illegal gifts and money. The University of Central Florida is also under investigation for recruiting misconduct.
  • The Florida state college corruption extends all the way up to state elected officials; former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom came under fire for securing funding for a building at Northwest Florida State College that was in fact an airport hangar for political donors’ private jets.

Speaker Ray Sansom

Sounds like enough material for some high-profile state investigations, right? Actually, Attorney General Bondi is focusing her government investigation on a handful of small, for-profit schools. The charges against the schools largely revolve around allegedly false claims used by recruiters leading to enrollment of students who were under-qualified and/or unable to repay their loans upon completion.
Could it be that Bondi and others, including federal regulators, are attacking for-profit colleges chiefly because they have taken a piece of the higher education pie in recent years that was traditionally serviced by state-run community colleges and vocational schools? The fervor with which state officials in Florida, Kentucky, Texas, and other states are going after for-profit schools suggests motivation beyond the desire to prevent a few gullible students from falling for glitzy ad campaigns.
At the federal level, the Department of Education’s proposed ‘Gainful Employment’ rule would create new narrow metrics to define “gainful employment” based on student debt-to-income levels and loan repayment rates.
What the DOE’s formulaic approach is missing is that these institutions serve student communities with significant risk factors such as low incomes, full-time employment, and delayed enrollment which adversely impact degree attainment and account for their having a higher loan default rate than less inclusive institutions. Even with these challenges, the fact remains that for-profit colleges have a better record of graduating low-income and minority populations than public institutions and private, not-for-profit schools, at a substantially lower total government and taxpayer cost.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Not To Live In Florida If You Have Children

Governor Rick Scott

 Number 1 Governor Rick Scott is a crook and has not upheld his oath of office. He is the ultimate person in charge of DCF and has been made aware of the situation and has refused to investigate.

Number 2 David Wilkins has not upheld his oath of office and does not protect our children, he is not looking for changes he is looking for more money.

DCF Secretary David Wilkins

Left Robin Jensen Right Brena Slater

Number 3  is a tie to the two wonderful ladies in the picture. Robin K Jensen and Brena Slater. They claim to have the best interest of children in mind but seem to enjoy using their position of power to rip families apart.

Number 4  Judge James S Parker, a Judge and has not upheld his oath, his conflict of interest, and abuse of power is legendary.

Pam Bondi

Number 5  Pam Bondi covers up for Department Children and Families, protecting the best interest of the state not the families.

Chief Kevin Vespia

Number 6  Chief Kevin Vespia for not protecting the citizens of North Port Fl from illegal search and seizure. He swore to defend the Florida and State Constitution and last time I check both had amendments protecting citizens.

Number 7  Department Children and Families take children that do not need to be removed, place them in abusive foster care or leave children in homes where abuse is rampant. (don't believe me? Google FL DCF horror stories, be prepared to be heart broken)

Dr Sohail Punjwani
 Number 8  Sohail Punjwani,University of Karachi’s Dow Medical College, Pakistan
Crimes against children, over medicated and using drugs not approved for children in foster care and DCF in Florida, leading to the death of several children and  driving under the influence and cocaine possession. Still employed by DCF.

Number 9 Over the past six years, 41 percent of all children who died of abuse or neglect in Florida had been the subject of at least one prior contact with child protection authorities, the state Department of Health reports. The average for all other states: about 12 percent.

Carl Littlefield
 Number 10 Carl Littlefield abruptly resigned before he could testify in front of a Senate panel about a Tampa-area group home that allowed residents to have sex. He then received a new appointment "It's a newly created job for Littlefield" with  Tampa office of the Department of Children and Families. Scott appointed him to work for children.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Illinois Is Trying. It Really Is. But the Most Corrupt State Is Actually . . .

Where is officialdom most crooked? Last week, many guessed it must be Illinois, after news that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was taped making brazen personal demands in exchange for his selection of a Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama.

The state's image took a hit despite its long history of producing famously principled political figures, from the bowtied Senator Paul Simon to the great man on the penny.
But bloggers from competing hotbeds of wrongdoing proclaimed that theirs were the worst officials in the land, thank you. New Jerseyans seemed especially sure that their leadership came out on top in the race to the bottom.
Not so. And not so for Illinois, either.

There are several ways to gauge levels of government corruption, all of them a bit, well, corrupt. We present three methods here in the interest of keeping the arguments going.
Number of Guilty Officials (Graphic)
In a Department of Justice tally covering the last decade, Florida wins by its sheer number of guilty. The report, released last week, itemizes convictions in federal public corruption cases at local, state and federal levels in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and three United States territories.
Illinois ranks only seventh, with 502 convictions. At the squeaky-clean end of the scale, Nebraska barely managed an average of about one guilty official per year.
But the bigger the state, generally, the more officials it has, criminal or otherwise. So places like Florida, New York and Texas pile up big numbers. Let's adjust the data for population.

Senator Paul Simon

The Guilty, per Capita (Graphic) A better measure, perhaps, showing how many convicted officials are produced for every one million constituents. Seems fair - unless you're North Dakota.
The District of Columbia wins big, for obvious reasons: its high concentration of public officials amid a relatively small population. Also, the local United States attorney's office focuses on rooting out corruption, adding to conviction rates.
USA Today published a similar list last week, declaring North Dakota the most corrupt state. Statewide outrage followed. (The newspaper omitted the District and the United States territories.) Mike Jacobs, the editor and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald, called it "a stunning and incomprehensible result" and could recall few cases of public misdeeds over his four decades in North Dakota journalism. (One that sprang into his mind: the head of a state office who was accused of shoplifting peanuts in a grocery store. The charges were dropped. That was in 1981.)
So what's going on out on the Prairie? Two large cases of embezzlement by local officials ran up the conviction numbers, plus a smattering of mostly small-bore crime. Selling a Senate seat? Not yet.
Meanwhile, Nebraska continues to shine as a beacon of good government.
A Survey of Journalists (Graphic)

Researchers asked state house reporters to assess their subjects and ranked responses on a scale of 1 (clean) to 7 (crooked) in a 2003 study. Nebraska? Good, not great. For North Dakota, sweet vindication: it tied with South Dakota and Colorado for least corrupt.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Influential Florida Blogger Calls On Governor Rick Scott To Reopen Honor Killing Case

Tricky Ricky
 Florida's most influential and powerful blog, The Shark Tank, has taken up the call for justice in the cover-up of the honor killing of Fatima Abdullah. Javier Manjarres is calling upon Governor Rick Scott to call for a special investigation in the murder of Muslim woman in Florida.

Tampa Police and the Medical Examiners office ruled Fatima Abdallah's honor killing a "suicide," saying she beat her own head against a coffee table until she died. Tampa Rescue called the TPD explanation illogical and said that she looked as if someone beat her to death. There was a history of systematic abuse by her family. Fatima was quoted as telling a neighbor that her brother did "unspeakable things to her."
We continue to search for one decent human being with integrity in a position to investigate -- to do the right thing. We contacted Doug Culbertson of the FDLE, Medical Examiners Commission. He passed the buck.  A well-placed source in the medical examiner's department  told me that a number of people had expressed grave concern at Laura Hair's decision to classify the death of Fatima Abdallah as a suicide, and thanked us profusely for holding a rally and for demanding

Mark Ober State Attorney

We called on Mark Ober, State Attorney,  Karen Stanley, Chief Assistant State Attorney, Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa, Santiago Corrada,  Tampa Mayor Chief of Staff, but they hid under their desks.
We rallied and protested.
We asked Dr. Vernard Adams, Chief Medical Examiner in the Hillsborough County Medical Examiners office (the office that called Fatima's death an accidental suicide) to re-examine the overwhelming evidence of murder. We asked the Medical Examiners commission to investigate, but Glenn Hopkins of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Medical Examiner's Commission refused to reopen or rexamine the manner of death. They, too, silently sanctioned the sharia (whatever happened to first do no harm?). Over 4,000 concerned citizens sent emails urging the Tampa Police Department and State Attorney Mark Ober to reopen this case. These officials have ignored the public outcry because it is politically expedient and sharia compliant to cover up the potential Islamic cultural involvement.
Hundreds asked Pam Bondi to get involved.
We rallied and protested.

Pam Bondi
 A Tampa Police CSI tech admits that there was a “fear of Muslim reprisal” in the woman’s death. Tampa Police Crime Scene Technician Shelby Garman requested that her name be removed from the Tampa Police Department GO report because of “fear of Muslim reprisal.”  Click here to read the private investigator’s report.
We need an an outside investigation of local officials. In order to get that ball rolling, please contact Governor Rick Scott's  Office. The Governor has the power to appoint what is known as a special prosecutor to investigate criminal allegations outside a state attorney's normal circuit when there are concerns about possible conflicts of interest. The Governor can also direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to perform special investigations and investigations on public officials and agencies. Please write, and cc me at
The Honorable Rick Scott
Executive Office of the Governor
The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001
Citizen Services Hotline: (850) 488-4441
Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146
Fax:  (850) 487-0801

We welcome and applaud Javier Manjarres' involvement and call for justice:
Sharia Honor Killing Case Swept Under the Rug by Javier Manjarres and Pamela Geller, Shark Tank
 If Florida law enforcement agencies are reluctant to investigate and aggressively pursue charges in the context of honor killings for fear of reprisal, it means that we are effectively being governed by the vile precepts of Sharia that these command honor killings.  Our communities should stand united, break through the silent complicity of family members that too often attends these killings, and pursue justice.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s attention was also solicited on this case, and her office issued the following reply-

We understand that you are requesting an investigation of “the Tampa Police Department and Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s office.”  If you are requesting an outside investigation of local officials, you may wish to contact the Governor’s Office.  The Governor has the power to appoint what is known as a special prosecutor to investigate criminal allegations outside a state attorney’s normal circuit when there are concerns about possible conflicts of interest.  The Governor may also direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to perform special investigations and investigations on public officials and agencies. 
 Upon reviewing the crime scene investitgation images, it was obvious the injuries Abdallah sustained to her face and head, not to mention the broken rib(s) that was not a ‘suicide-by-coffee-table’, but a murder case that needs to be reopened. Also in reviewing the notes and documents regading the case, it was also troubling to learn that the of the 5 family members present, it took all of them 2 1/2 hours before they called 911, and then gave conflicting stories as to what happened to Fatima.

With all of the evidence in the case pointing towards murder and not towards an accident or suicide, pressure must be brought on Florida authorities to revisit the determination that he 48 year-old Abballahs’ death was an “accidental suicide” and to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.  As it presently stands, this case can only be reopened by Governor Rick Scott via a special prosecutor.  We strongly urge Governor Scott to review this case and order an investigation into the highly questionable conclusions that have been reached thus far by the various branches of Florida law enforcement.
Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Engaged Citizens Deserve The Tools To Hold Their Public Servants Accountable

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In an effort to shift the balance of power from politicians to the people they represent, Representative Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg) today filed legislation to permit the recall of state officials.

Florida currently allows for the recall of local elected officials, but there is no provision in state law to allow for the recall of state officials. House Joint Resolution 785 and House Bill 787, both sponsored by Representative Kriseman, would allow the public to recall from office Florida legislators, members of the Florida Cabinet, governor and lieutenant governor.

“Engaged citizens deserve the tools to hold their public servants accountable without having to wait for the next election,” said Representative Kriseman. “Honest and dedicated elected officials will have nothing to fear from the implementation of this important proposal, and I am confident that my colleagues will support its passage.”

HJR 785 allows for a petition to recall a statewide official, requiring signatures be collected from each of the 67 counties, and the signatures equal 15 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for the office. A petition to recall a member of the Florida Legislature would require signatures from 20 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for the office.

If HJR 785 is approved by the Legislature, voters will be asked on the November 2012 General Election ballots to amend the state constitution with the recall provision. House Bill 787 would create a statutory recall provision.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states now permit the recall of state officials.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Florida Now So Corrupt FBI Taking Out Newspaper Ads Seeking Tips

America’s favorite swamp-gas-filled purgatory, the state of Florida, is now so corrupt that the FBI is taking out ads calling on citizens to report all of their dishonest politicians. Florida is the number one state in corruption, with over 800 politicians arrested between 1997 and 2007. Oh hey, isn’t the year 2000 somewhere between those years? Probably! The FBI is concerned that some of the state’s elected representatives think that federal stimulus dollars are free handouts for them and their families. But come on, those guys work hard, right? Just look at the important legislation they’re passing, trying to make sure those welfare queens aren’t running around using their free handouts to buy drugs. You are only allowed to buy rich people things with free government handouts.
Legislators trying to introduce two separate ethics bills have so far seen them die in committee this year.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
Few legislators wanted to crack down on public officials betraying the public trust. And the excuses were downright laughable.
State Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, argued that if we criminalize more political misdeeds, it might crowd the prisons.

Siplin, who was himself tried on felony charges that he robbed taxpayers of thousands of dollars, has a pretty good point. [Orlando Sentinel]

State Sen. Gary Siplin

Carl Littlefield Gets Newly Created DCF Gig After Resigning

            MARCH 31, 2011 

Gov. Rick Scott's office has found a soft landing for Carl Littlefield, their former head of the Agency of Persons with Disabilities. Littlefield abruptly resigned before he could testify in front of a Senate panel about a Tampa-area group home that allowed residents to have sex.
Sen. Ronda Storms raised questions about Littlefield's appointment, making it clear that Scott would have to battle to get him confirmed in the Senate. Instead, Littlefield resigned his $140,000 job at APD and received a $78,000-per-year gig at the Tampa office of the Department of Children and Families.
It's a newly created job for Littlefield in a year when lawmakers expect to slash thousands of state jobs from the payroll and cut benefits for the workers who remain. As director of community affairs, Littlefield will work on special projects and report to DCF Secretary David Wilkins. (Story here.)
Littlefield sent several emails to Scott's chief of staff and deputy chief of staff after he left APD. The first came six days after he resigned.

Littlefield said he couldn't remember whether he heard back from the governor's office and wouldn't elaborate how he got the DCF job. "I filled out an application," he said.
Here's his e-mails to Mike Prendergast and Jenn Ungru:
Feb. 28: Just want to check for any progress on a new assignment. My wife is a little concerned about a lapse in health insurance coverage.  After a week off I have determined that I am not quite ready for retirement. Please advise at your earliest convenience.  Thanks for your help.
March 7: I know things are about to get super busy as the legislative session beings so I felt like I should check back in to see if any progress is being made on my employment. As you know, tomorrow begins week three and I am more than ready to get ack to work. I am not confident that my new Blackberry is working correctly so please confirm that you received this message. Thanks