Ellis: EDC Stonewalled Blueware Documents

By  //  August 20, 2013

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EDC ordered to surrender BlueWare documents

ABOVE VIDEO: Brevard County Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis discusses the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast’s reluctance to provide documents regarding BlueWare, the company involved with former Clerk of Courts Mitch Needelmen’s arrest.

BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA — Brevard County Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis spoke with Space Coast Daily regarding the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast being ordered by the Brevard County Commission to surrender BlueWare documents to Ellis’ office.

Mitch Needelman, a former Brevard County Clerk of Court, Florida state representative and Florida Marine Patrol officer was arrested on charges of bribery, bid tampering and official misconduct on Aug. 15. (Official Mitch Needelman portrait)

Mitch Needelman, a former Brevard County Clerk of Court, Florida state representative and Florida Marine Patrol officer was arrested on charges of bribery, bid tampering and official misconduct on Aug. 15. (Official Mitch Needelman portrait)

Last week, agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Office of Executive Investigations, arrested former State Representative Mitch Needelman, 60, and his associate, 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 was issued for BlueWare CEO Rose Harr, 55, also on bid tampering and bribery charges. According to BlueWare, Harr is the sole owner of the company, a corporation and a provider of electronic health information systems with over 220 customers and 100,000 users worldwide. In June 2012, Harr was on hand in Melbourne as BlueWare held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to relocate its operations to Melbourne from Michigan.

Below is the transcript of Ellis’ interview today with SpaceCoastDaily.com

“We requested documents and they [EDC] refused to hand them over. They backdated the confidentiality agreement and used that as an excuse. They told us they gave documents to FDLE that we couldn’t see until the investigation was over. We’re probably going to move forward on a public records request in the next week because we have our ongoing litigation with Blueware and we need to see what’s in there.  It’s just been a real struggle. EDC sent their person out into the field earl this year to tell different elected officials and different groups that there was no problem with BlueWare and this was nothing but a political deal. No it wasn’t. It’s a major problem and there’s a lot of money that’s gone, and EDC has never taken that seriously.

We want to see the file because we’re curious to see how well they vetted this company before they brought it to Florida and offered millions of dollars in economic incentives. We have the letter where they say they would give it to us after the FDLE investigation. Then we have the 2012 alleged confidentiality agreement that was faxed from England in 2013. The whole thing has been an absolute fiasco. There are millions of dollars at stake and it should be all public record as to how that money has been appropriated.

We want to see the file because we’re curious to see how well they vetted this company before they brought it to Florida and offered millions of dollars in economic incentives.

We have the letter where they say they would give it to us after the FDLE investigation. Then we have the 2012 alleged confidentiality agreement that was faxed from England in 2013.  The whole thing has been an absolute fiasco. There are millions of dollars at stake and it should be all public record as to how that money has been appropriated.

They were a medical records company. The fact that they were supposed to come down here and add 192 jobs in two years is all blowing smoke. Someone should have gone through their financial records. That’s not to say a smaller may not have been eligible for some form of assistance, but not a 4.2 million dollar package. It’s my belief that a lot of these companies that we’re seeing in the newspaper and we’re throwing money at their feet, these companies are all going to be caught. They have a major one down there that lost billions of dollars in St. Lucie County and I think you’re going to see a lot of these companies here going belly up after the state and county have shoved money at them.

Florida Today has refused to touch this story the whole time. They refused to do any kind of investigative reporting and I think that part of that is their close ties to the EDC. I think if that were to come out that the whole deal was a sham, it may reflect very poorly on the EDC, and the newspaper is in bed with the EDC.”

Ellis Claims Needelman Improperly Withheld Docs


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