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Grand jury sought on DOT ‘Wafflegate’

by Dara Kam | December 15th, 2009

Tea Partiers have asked Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs to convene a grand jury to investigate state transportation officials’ use of code words in e-mails.

Tea Party Chairman Fred O’Neal filed a request with Meggs yesterday asking for a grand jury to look into “deliberate evasion of Florida’s Public Records law” as well as “as an arrogant disregard” of the state constitution’s Sunshine Law guaranteeing access to public records and meetings.

Tea Party activists dubbed the messages “Wafflegate” after The Palm Beach Post reported that Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos and her deputy Kevin Thibault exchanged three messages last month with the subject lines “pancake,” “pancakes” and “french toast.”

Doug Guetzloe, chairman of “Ax the Tax,” said he plans to file complaints with the ethics commission and Attorney General Bill McCollum’s office and another to Meggs.

“This is a direct violation of public trust,” Guetzloe said.

The messages had nothing to do with breakfast but instead contained attachments dealing with a rail bill later approved by lawmakers during the special session that ended last week.

Kopelousos said Thibault tagged the messages with the headers to attract her attention from the hundreds of e-mails she receives daily. She said the search engine her department uses captures words included in the texts of attachments and not just the subject lines as some other search engines do.

The code words prompted Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat running for governor, to ask Kopelousos and Thibault to resign.

The use of the code words could be considered falsification of public records, First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen said.

The messages were the result of a public records request by Sen. Paula Dockery, a Lakeland Republican who is running for governor against frontrunner McCollum.

Dockery has been an ardent opponent of a controversial deal in which Kopelousos has agreed to pay CSX Inc. at least $432 million for 61 miles of track for SunRail, a commuter rail project in Central Florida.

Guetzloe’s group organized to fight SunRail, a controversial commuter rail project that was the subject of the special session. The state is paying CSX Inc. at least $432 million for 61 miles of track for the commuter line and will share the rails with the freight operator.

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8 Responses to “Grand jury sought on DOT ‘Wafflegate’”

  1. Details Says:

    enough with the subject lines, what does the actual content of the 8000 documents say/mean?

  2. theloneconsumer Says:

    After Crist took his Atty General counsel with him, and created a duplication of the Atty general’s duties in his Governor’s “Open Gvt” commission, I find this commical.
    MCCullom is saying to the State, let Crist explain this problem and defend his DOT pick.
    As Pat Gleason REFUSED to do for me, when I asked for PSC emails and GC Harold McLean’s “missing computer” when he left the PSC after my Fla Bar complaint, Gleason’s own office refused to push the matter.
    Only when the GC Gleason in 2003-5 was given emails from the Ethics commission from her own Attys Bogan and Peterman that they fixed things for PSC lila Jaber, she still refused.

  3. I znowu kolejny post « My Shop Says:

    [...] Grand jury sought on DOT “Wafflegate” | Post on Politics [...]

  4. Crist Corruption Says:

    The best tool for citizens to follow the money is by reading candidates campaign treasurer reports.

    Watch for donors like Brown & Brown, Inc. hidden in these groups. This is an insurance brokerage company (mafia?) that is acquiring huge city and county contracts after contributing large political contributions to politicians. Governor Crist just recently appointed a Brown & Brown, Inc. executive to the Florida Buildings Commission Board – Tony Grippa – a former Leon County Commissioner who initiated a huge county insurance contract with Brown & Brown, Inc. while a Leon County Commissioner. Brown & Brown, Inc. was Grippa’s largest contributor. Grippa threatened citizens who asked questions. Grippa’s alliance with the local Leon County Sheriff enabled the threats to be carried out without complications or ramifications to him and his minions.

    Grippa robbed the local Leon County Republican Executive Committee of $35,000 for the DEMOCRAT Leon County Sheriff (Campbell) to do radio ads. The Sheriff became Grippa’s biggest minion (accomplice?).
    The Sheriff filed bogus charges against the whistleblower and enlisted detectives, assistant state attorneys, judges, to participate in the farce (illegal activities) all the while Crist was Attorney General.
    The Tallahassee Democrat reporters and editors are too insecure, inept, and too busy pandering to Crist, Grippa, and Sheriff Campbell to report the truth.

    Do you think Gelbar was advised (threatened?) to drop out of the race against Crist by Crist’s minions? You bettcha!!! Brown & Brown, Inc. is now under an antitrust violations investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General – the same AG who recently exposed the AIG bonus recipients.

  5. Janelle Humbert Says:

    How many people are expected to use this as a means of transportation, assuming it does get built? If it isn’t supported by usage fees, then where is Tallahassee going to get the funds to keep it operational?

  6. Truth and Reality Says:

    To classify O’Neil as a ‘tea party’ activist is a gross misrepresentation of the truth, and, lazy journalism. He is little more than a political opportunist that has hijacked the term ‘tea party’ by registering it as a political party. He has absolutely ZERO support from those within the actual movement. Furthermore, he was registered as a Democrat when he filed. Speaking of lazy journalism, there is no mention that O’Neil has represented Guetzloe in recent litigation, nor is there any mention that these gentlemen are huge supporters of Dockery, possibly even assisting her with her campaign. The whole thing stinks to high heaven and is deserving of some real investigative reporting.

  7. Tea Party Patriot Says:

    Mr. O’Neil should start the Easter Bunny Political Party! This guy is not part of the Florida Tea Party. Guetzloe is a scam artist and has been indicted for extortion.

  8. FloridasRealTeaParty Says:

    Paula Dockery is a pro-choice, free spending liberal RINO who stands with trial lawyers instead of doctors and business owners and citizens. She is completely out of touch with Republican Primary voters in the state of Florida.

    Guetzloe and his stooge O’Neil will work for the highest bidder – just ask the Orlando Magic, who paid them to keep out of the campaign to fund their new arena.

    These two guys ARE NOT Tea Party representatives and we will expose them for their attempted hijacking of our movement.

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