Scott Ellis Comments On Mitch Needelman Arrest

By  //  August 17, 2013

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ellis cited needelman corruption during primary

ABOVE VIDEO: Brevard County Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis talks with SpaceCoastDaily.com’s Matt O’Hern about the arrest of former Clerk of Courts Mitch Needelman on charges of bribery, bid tampering and official misconduct.

BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA — Mitch Needelman, a former Brevard County Clerk of Courts and Florida state representative, was arrested on charges of bribery, bid tampering and official misconduct, according to State Attorney Phil Archer.

Mitch Needelman, a former Brevard County Clerk of Court and Florida state representative, was arrested on charges of bribery, bid tampering and official misconduct, according to State Attorney Phil Archer. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Mitch Needelman, a former Brevard County Clerk of Court and Florida state representative, was arrested on charges of bribery, bid tampering and official misconduct, according to State Attorney Phil Archer. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Archer said that the charges are related to the BlueWare scanning contract signed by Needelman, 60, when he was the Brevard County Clerk of the Court.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement took Needelman, along with his business parter William Matthew Dupree, 47, into custody today.  Each was booked into the Brevard County Jail on bonds of $50,000.

Rose Harr

Rose Harr

Archer said that an arrest warrant has also been issued for BlueWare CEO Rose Harr, 55, 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.


ABOVE VIDEO: State Attorney Phil Archer explains the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Investigation and arrest of Mitch Needelman on charges of bribery.

BIG CONTRACT, NO EQUIPMENT

The investigation began in July 2012 focused on the $8.52 millon scanning contract for digitization of Brevard County records even though BlueWare had no equipment to scan the documents, according to the FDLE. Agents also received a tip alleging Needelman signed the contract with BlueWare in exchange for personal financial gain for himself and Dupree.

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

“The investigation shows that a portion of the BlueWare payments was funneled back to Dupree for Needelman’s 2012 reelection campaign,” said the FDLE report.

Law enforcement officials said Dupree introduced Needelman to Harr and Nick Geaney, BlueWare COO, in January 2012.

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

“Although not the final chapter, today’s arrests should present a degree of satisfaction to Brevard County taxpayers.”

NEEDELMAN VS. ELLIS

ABOVE VIDEO: Mitch Needelman and Scott Ellis square off on Bill Mick’s radio show on WMMB during last year’s primary race. 

Needelman was elected to the Florida state Legislature representing Brevard County in 2000, and then elected as the Clerk of Court in 2008. He lost a reelection bid last year as the Clerk of Court, losing to Scott Ellis in a highly-charged primary. Prior to holding public office, Needelman was a member of the Florida Marine Patrol for 28 1/2 years. He was also recognized as the City of Melbourne, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 1997, according to myfloridahouse.gov.

Scott Ellis

Scott Ellis

In June 2012, Ellis sued Needelman, alleging he was withholding public documents related to Needelman’s operation of the Clerk of Courts office – including the $8.52 million contract with BlueGEM LLC.

After Needelman lost the election in August 2012, but before he left office in November, he entered into a loan with Hewlett-Packard Financial Services for $5.6 million. BlueWare received the loan money, and Brevard County was on the hook to repay the loan.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORT


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