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County Commission Candidate Mark Richter’s Past: Felony Conviction, 7 Weeks in Navy, and Unanswered Questions

| August 14, 2014

Mark C. Richter announced his candidacy for Flagler County Commission at a Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies meeting in February. (© FlaglerLive)

Mark C. Richter announced his candidacy for Flagler County Commission at a Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies meeting in February. (© FlaglerLive)

Mark Charles Richter is a 56-year-old candidate for the Flagler County Commission who moved to the county less than two years ago. A Republican, he is campaigning to unseat incumbent and fellow-Republican Nate McLaughlin in the Aug. 26 primary. Richter represents the Ronald Reagan Assemblies wing of the local GOP, though the Reagan Assemblies endorsed him apparently without knowing a great deal about him.

As it happens, Richter is a convicted felon, having pleaded guilty to robbing an Air Force serviceman and his wife. On his Facebook page, Richter claims he is a “veteran,” though his service consisted of a mere seven weeks, which was not enough to complete basic training. And he claims that as a “training officer for the military” he was injured “in the line of duty” in Afghanistan when, in fact, he was a mid-level civilian contractor whose on-the-job injury qualified him for a worker’s compensation settlement. He was not an “officer,” but an employee of a company that trains military personnel in how to maintain armored vehicles.

On the Facebook page “Mark Richter For County Commissioner,” as well as in an advertisement he bought on FlaglerLive, Richter claims to have been a business owner, a “CFO,” a “CEO,” and asserts that he has negotiated “many multi-million dollar contracts.” Richter provides no support or documentation for those claims. And while much of his work history is easily checked, Richter has refused to answer basic questions about his history.

The Ronald Reagan Assemblies’ Man

“We did not do a background check on candidates,” Bob Hamby, who heads the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies, said Thursday. “We did put out a questionnaire and the endorsements were based on the responses. Our membership voted, and these endorsements were based on our principles and values.”

Nevertheless, Hamby, clearly uncomfortable with Richter’s handling of his history, said “stonewalling is never a proper approach to dealing with issues in your past.”

“I’m not trying to defend him on that,” Hamby said. “The best way to deal with situations in your past is to discuss them honestly, because my assessment of his last 30 years of life is that he’s been a model citizen, and based on that, it exemplifies what we need for people to step up. But not being able to discuss your past is not admirable.”

The problems with Richter’s non-disclosures are not limited to issues when he was younger.

“I Am Not a Snowden”

FlaglerLive does not routinely investigate a candidate’s background beyond a local criminal background check and questions posed directly to the candidate about employment and related history. On July 31, in response to a telephone query from FlaglerLive asking for documentation of his military service, Richter sent an angry email, refusing to release any of his military records. “I will tell you this,” Richter wrote. “I have an active Security Clearance (no other Commissioner or candidate has this) and in this time of heightened alertness, and the training and responsibility I have been given by the Government of the United States. The oath and promises I have given to our government and Country. I have to ask my self Is your interest in the security of the United States? Do you have a military need to know? I can not under any circumstances oblige your request for any military records. I am not a Snowden and will not betray my county [sic].”

Richter sent a copy of his email to Hamby, among others. Richter concluded his email by referring FlaglerLive to the Department of State. “Perhaps they can answer your questions,” he wrote. “Please feel free to contact them directly.” In fact, the State Department has no oversight of military personnel, and keeps no military records. That responsibility rests with the Department of Defense and the various service branches, all of which were contacted by FlaglerLive, and all of which provided answers to queries about Richter’s service.

Richter’s refusal to discuss the particulars of his military service–highly unusual for anyone who has served in the military, but especially odd in a candidate for elected office–prompted a closer look at Richter’s entire record.

The Military Record

On August 4, at the candidate forum at the Hilton Garden Inn, and at a forum the following evening at the Hammock Conservation Coalition, Richter asserted that he was “honorably discharged from the Navy,” which may be literally true, but is less than the whole truth.

According to records obtained by FlaglerLive through a Freedom of Information request, as well as a medical record also obtained by FlaglerLive, Richter’s service was very brief.

On January 7, 1975, Richter, then 17, was recorded as having been “received” for Navy recruit training in San Diego, Calif. He was discharged seven weeks later—on Feb. 28, 1975. In the space marked “recruit training” on Richter’s official “history of assignments,” a hand-written notation says, “not completed 2-21-75.” The medical record obtained by FlaglerLive indicates that the 17-year-old recruit had a case of “atopic dermatitis”–a rash that did not appear to respond to treatment. According to the medical document, “Within a few days [after beginning recruit training] he reported to sick call, complaining of rash on his neck, arms and legs.”

While the medical document could not be independently verified, it is clear that young Richter was sent home, short of completing basic training. A further check of military records by FlaglerLive confirms no subsequent record of service in any of the four service branches.

On July 28 Richter acknowledged having received the 15 questions that comprise the standard FlaglerLive interview with candidates. He answered a few questions by email on July 31, and a few more on Aug. 3, then stopped. He did not respond to repeated requests for answers to the remaining questions, including a question about his criminal background, nor to requests to explain issues and discrepancies in his record.

It is only after he was told that FlaglerLive had in hand proof of the record he had fudged or not disclosed, and only after Hamby urged Richter Wednesday to be more forthcoming, that Richter finally wrote in an email that “in retrospect I realize that having become a candidate I have entered the public arena and with that comes the public’s right to know.”

Even then, Richter proved cagey.

“I am at your disposal” for an in-person interview, he wrote Wednesday afternoon, though he wanted Hamby included. An interview was set up for Thursday morning on neutral ground, at an Office Divvy conference room. Hamby showed up, agreeing only to be present and not participate. Richter did not show. He cited a “prior engagement,” saying he could meet Friday.

One of the questions about Richter’s history pertained to his criminal background.

The Criminal Record

While Richter remained silent until Wednesday, FlaglerLive obtained records provided by the clerk of Bexar County, Texas, which includes much of metropolitan San Antonio. The records disclose that on April 19, 1976, Richter, then 18, was convicted of a third-degree felony. Richter entered a guilty plea to a charge of stealing a woman’s purse in a mall and fleeing until an off-duty police officer pulled a gun on him and stopped him. He was sentenced to four years in prison. The sentence was suspended, and Richter was placed on probation for four year. The conviction was set aside once Richter satisfied half the probation.

Richter in one of several late-night emails Wednesday said his conviction was “never upheld,” then attributed “this event” to his youth and cited a Bible verse (“when I became a man, I put away childish things”) to explain the case.

The theft took place at San Antonio’s North Star Mall, where a 27-year-old Air Force serviceman and his 24-year-old wife were shopping in the early evening. “I do not remember exactly what store we were walking by when my wife shouted someone took my purse,” Richard Harris, the serviceman, wrote in his statement. “When I looked up I saw a tall white male in a white T-shirt and long blond hair running with a purse in his hand.”

Harris set out in pursuit, as did another man who turned out to be an off-duty cop. Richter was located outside a Mexican Restaurant, where the cop, as he wrote in his statement, chased him into the restaurant, pushed him against a table, “and we both fell to the floor and began struggling. I identified myself as a police officer, but the subj. kept resisting arrest. I applied a choke-hold on the subj. and the subj. quit his struggle.”

Richter was 11 weeks shy of his 18th birthday at the time of the theft. Half-way through his four-year probation, Richter was released from court supervision and the conviction was vacated. Nevertheless, the circumstances of Richter’s encounter with the Texas criminal justice system was not divulged by him until he was told that the record was about to be disclosed on FlaglerLive, a serious breach for a candidate for public office.

“As a Christian,” Hamby said, “I believe that forgiveness is part of the thing that Jesus Christ taught us. Something that someone did as a youngster, if they are truly remorseful–almost any of us can say we’ve done things in our youth that we’d not be proud to share. But as a candidate for office often people who put themselves up for candidacy should be willing to discuss any incident like this and express their feelings.”

Court records beyond Bexar County and outside of Flagler County were not checked, as it is not clear where, in the interim, Richter lived.

The Work History

Beyond his refusal to discuss either his brief military career or his brushe with the law, Richter has also shaded and embellished his employment resume in a fashion that raises questions for anyone running for public office. While Richter angrily insinuated that questions about his work history are tantamount to a betrayal of national security, a simple background check reveals that his duties have not exactly been cloak and dagger. By training a skilled mechanic and technician, Richter’s recent employment had him working for a government contractor in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. His duties consisted of instructing military personnel in the operation and maintenance of the vehicles designated MRAP–mine-resistant ambush-protected armored vehicles. The successor to the lightly-armored Humvee, MRAPs were pressed into service in 2004 in response to the large number of casualties inflicted on GIs in the war zone by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

In a phone conversation with FlaglerLive, one of Richter’s former supervisors, Rogers Hamilton, recalls him as a solid employee, “a straight guy,” and noted that he did his job well and “did not get into any trouble on- or off-duty.”

Reached at the California headquarters of government contractor TJ Fig, Curtis Kimbro, a supervisor above Hamilton, confirms that Richter was one of several hundred technicians assigned to the MRAPs training program. Asked what Richter’s skills and duties were, Kimbro told FlaglerLive that Richter was “a trainer working on MRAPs. He had completed field-level maintenance training.” Kimbro added that the MRAPs were being modified at the time, or “re-armored,” and Richter was involved in the effort. “You could call it sort of auto-body,” Kimbro said.

While Richter’s easily-verifiable civilian service as a maintenance trainer in the war zone was apparently performed well, and voters may find it an admirable credential, it does not match up with the campaign biography he has posted on Facebook. Richter claims he is “experienced in management and strategic planning,” and he describes his tour in the war zone as a “training officer for United States military.” Neither assertion can be supported by the facts, and his use of the term “officer” to describe his duties as a maintenance trainer is, at the least, misleading.

A Spate of Late-Night Emails

In a late-night email Wednesday, Richter wrote that “I have never claimed to be a war veteran during my military service I simply stated that I was in the us military and I was honorably discharged.”

Richter’s version of his “service,” as he described it at the Hilton forum, fudges not only his initial service in the Navy, but his subsequent work for a contractor, which he portrayed as additional “service,” and the work-related injury. In Richter’s exact words: “As a young man I enlisted in the United States Navy, I have an honorable discharge from the United States Navy. One morning I was watching the Today show, and I watched the events of 9/11 befall before my eyes. It changed my life. It changed a lot of people’s lives. I was compelled to serve my country once again. I took a position training our sons and our daughters before they went off to war zones. I worked in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan where I was injured, and I returned home.”

The only documents Richter produced—again, as part of the spate of late-night emails Wednesday—included letters of recommendations, certificates of appreciation, and excerpts from his military and criminal cases, all of which were already in FlaglerLive’s possession. He provided no explanations or answers to repeated questions, including about his injury.

“I have shown you documentation of my injuries from Afghanistan,” he wrote. “Pending litigation prohibits me from commenting further.” The only documentation of the injury—which Richter did not provide FlaglerLive—is a letter from the Florida Secretary of State’s office telling him he did not have to disclose the sum he received in his worker’s compensation settlement. He had not previously mentioned litigation.

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107 Responses for “County Commission Candidate Mark Richter’s Past: Felony Conviction, 7 Weeks in Navy, and Unanswered Questions”

  1. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    Wow.

  2. Tonya says:

    Thank you, FlaglerLive!!!! Well done!!!

  3. Former LEO long time resident says:

    Despicable. … as much as I don’t care for or trust Mclaughlin this guy should do the honorable thing and drop out of the race! Thanks for reporting this Flagler Live no those who almost made a mistake voting for this guy can make an informed decision

  4. Carol Mikola says:

    Mr. Richter should immediately withdraw as a candidate.

  5. Ralph Belcher says:

    Speaks a bit to his integreity, wouldn’t you say? At first it was his public demeanor, the way he carried himself that threw my consideration off. This seals the deal. Please pardon the Navy pun I inadvertantly made. Is there SOMETHING that is supposed to lure me or anyone else in the county to cast a sacred vote for him. I can’t see it. I try to give everyone a fair shake and hear them out. I’m only hearing crickets here. Sail on.

  6. Right to Privacy says:

    What bothers me about this is NOT Mr. Richter’s past, but the UN-CONSTITUTIONAL way of PRIVACY INVASION that was done . You cowards are no better then the NSA data pigs, or wire tapping police trolls.

    ………………….America is in serious trouble folks ……………………..

    • NortonSmitty says:

      I’m calling Bullshit here. A Republican operative complaining about a candidates privacy! Carl Rove must be pissing himself laughing as we speak!

    • rst says:

      Check the Constitution; there is no guaranteed right to privacy anywhere in it. However, it contains a distinct and absolute right to a FREE PRESS! Long live the Constitution and people who actually read it!

      • Right to Privacy says:

        Amendment IV:
        The Right of the People to be secure in their PERSONS, HOUSES, PAPERS, and EFFECTS against unreasonable searches and seizures , shall not be violated.

      • just saying says:

        The 4th amendment reads “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. – See more at: http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment4.html#sthash.Gk0olgeo.dpuf

        However that doesn’t apply to non-government entities.

    • The Truther says:

      And it is the news media that has done this to OUR CONSTITUTION. THis article speaks very loud like how the news ABC, CBS, NBC. Covering up all the LIES for Obama and his attorney general Eric Holder.

    • Michael L says:

      Horse manure. All the information obtained was done legally through the Freedom of Information Act. You must be a shill with a serious case of butthurt to even mention the NSA and wiretapping. get over it. Your boy is, at the very least, misleading the public about his bio. Any rational person reading it would think he actually served as an officer in the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan where he was injured “in the line of duty.” That leads us also to believe it was a combat injury. As for his criminal record, I could care less, if in the intervening years he walked the straight and narrow. We are after all, a nation of second chances among other things. But as a true disabled veteran of the war in Iraq, I cannot countenance someone inflating their record and misleading the public about their service. It shows that Richter has deep character issues that would preclude him from holding a office of trust for the people.

    • Retired Marine says:

      Hey, right to privacy…you obviously don’t know that the basic records (including dates of service, locations, and other basic information) are available through the FOIA process to the National Personnel Records Center. Ever hear of “transparency in government”? Ever hear of “trust but verify”? (Ironic, huh?).

      Richter is just another lying political wannabee who has been caught exaggerating his military record (as so many others have been). http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=54597 , the web site is a gold mine of information for outing phony, wannabee liars who pose as real servicemen and women, and who steal valor for their own selfish, scurrilous purposes.

      Privacy invasion? *snort* Hardly.

    • Oceanside says:

      Agreed.

      To be fair, Richter has supplied far more info than we have on Obama, and for a far lesser office.

  7. carol bennett says:

    Stay in there Mr. Richter!! everyone deserves a second chance.

  8. tulip says:

    The crime Richter committed when he was 17 years old should be disregarded. I think there are a gazillion people who did stupid things as a kid and grew into fine adults.

    People do puff up their credentials to sound even better than it is but in this case Richter went way to far in puffing up his resume, to the point of being highly and perhaps intentionally deceptive.

    McLaughlin is no saint either and has his not so good characteristics also. Crummy choices.

  9. Jack Howell says:

    Mr. Richter, you are an embarrassment to all of us who served our country as members of the Armed Forces of the United States. I would say shame on you but, your arrogance does not comprehend the word shame. You are a looser. Withdraw from the race!

    • Genie says:

      @ Jack Howell: He’s an embarrassment to you because he came down with a skin condition and could not stay? That doesn’t negate the fact that he enlisted.

      Did it ever occur to you that the Navy, nor the contractor for which he worked would have accepted him WITHOUT a thorough search of his background? Quite obviously they were satisfied.

      As for the “auto body work”, you above all should know the effort involved in that as well as the danger.

      Perhaps those who should withdraw here are already in office. This man has nothing to be ashamed of.

  10. A.S.F. says:

    I think Mr. Hamby would be well advised to not talk about the RRA’s “principles and values” in the same breath that he talks about RRA candidates for office like Mark Richter.

  11. Samantha Claire says:

    Reagans just seem to do a poor job vetting their “conservative” candidates.

    Richter was easy to identify as a phony from the start, but his ideological savant-like obeisance to Reagans probably blinded their core leaders to any need to dig around even just a bit on this fellow. An “officer” would proudly highlight his rank, service and basic facts about his service.

    Blame Reagan leaders for this embarrassing blotch on Flagler politics. The good members of the assembly have been duped again. Mr. Hamby, Maybe you need to try something other than politics for a while?

    SC

  12. Brad says:

    I think this speaks volumes about the Flagler Ronald Reagan Assembly and other candidates associated with this group like McDonald (a leader in the group) and Schaffer (a very active member). That group and those candidates have ran their entire campaign on accusing the City Council and County Commission of having poorjudgement and making bad decisions. Yet they can’t even properly see through such obvious holes in someone’s background? This group likes to portray itself as so superior yet they can’t even see through a candidate that flat out lies about his military background? Well, Schaffer refuses to be honest with the public about the funding and who funded her lawsuit against Pollinger. So I guess the shady dishonesty thing is just the theme of that group.

    Not only is this clear reason not to vote for Richter (when there have been so many other reasons), it is also clear reason why NOT to vote for McDonald or Schaffer. These are not the type of people we can even afford to have sitting on our City Council or County Commission.

  13. Happening now says:

    Again, FlaglerLive Thanks.

  14. Joe says:

    Well at least he didn’t vote to buy an old hospital for 3x’s its value from the good ole boys ripping off the hard working tax payer of hundreds of thousands. So when he was 17 he made a bad choice, so what, he paid for it and seemed to be a good citizen since! The choice to vote to buy the old hospital for more than it was worth with tax payers money came from an adult, the incumbants got to GO!!!!!

  15. Diana L says:

    The truth would have set you free, Mr. Richter. It is freeing when you admit past mistakes and apologize, perhaps you will learn that now. I suspect that many of us have made mistakes in our past, what is important is to own them, be humble and apologize. You have embarrassed yourself, your children, your supporters and our whole election process. At 50 years old, I hope that you will take this opportunity to do the right thing, choose wisely.

  16. Nancy N. says:

    With choices like this, it is no wonder no one votes in this town.

  17. Palm Coast, NJ says:

    Holy moley! Good investigation journalism. But, was he charged as a juvenile or an adult. Has he had any other convictions since the Texas incident? But, ah regardless, not a good choice for elected or public office. We already have one commissioner as the subject of a lawsuit as I recall, Mr Meeker.

  18. Seminole Pride says:

    All that he has done has not effected his career or livelihood. We have all made mistakes. He was only 17, When he was arrested, pleaded guilty, received 4 year probation, and his probation was suspended after 2 years. Was given high marks from his superiors, for his outstanding work record. Sounds like someone we need, a little rough around the edges, but a hard ass worker..So what the hell were you doing when you were 17 ?

    • Palm Coast, NJ says:

      “So what the hell were you doing when you were 17 ?” I can assure you, I was not snatching purses. When he did that, he effectively removed himself from public service. He should not have been allowed in the navy. Could that be why it was such an ole of a military career? Also, as an honesty issue, don’t know about you, but I do not like thieves. I don’t know where it’s all coming from with thieves. If he was charged as an adult, it would have removed any employment except ditch digger or dish washer.

      • Raul Troche says:

        He stole a purse at 17. We all know that’s not good. The eighth commandment from God is thou shalt not steal. Hopefully Mark has repented. However we have adult politicians who steal from all of us and I don’t think they have repented.

      • Seminole Pride says:

        I use to steal my Dad’s pickup truck about every other night when I was 17, go down to the lake, drink beer, party, and go skinny dippin’ but I didn’t turn into a bad person. Went on to college, graduated, and worked in a professional job for 30 years. Got caught by the local Sheriff a few times, but he would just tell us to go home. This was our fun in a small Florida town.

        • Retired Marine says:

          Yeah, but you obviously didn’t lie and deceive about non-existent military service. Military training officer? Hell no. He was just another contractor working in-country…no uniform, no weapon, no patrols/outside-the-wire missions, no getting shot at.

      • The Truther says:

        To all of you that like to throw stones. Let’s stop and think about some of the issues you STONE THROWERS have in your past. Mr. Richter has been a good citizen for thirty some years. Give him a chance and see what he does for us. I believe you all should do some investigating on how YOUR COMMISSIONERS are spending your tax money for their agendas. The Incumbants have to be voted OUT. DO you all like paying higher property taxes. Well, guess what, this year your taxes are going up, thanks to your county commissioners and county administrator, Craig Coffee.

        • Anonymous says:

          Can’t be a good citizen when you mislead people about your military service and then get angry when your claims of service are checked and found to be lies and half truths. By the way, for the information of all you Richter apologists and sockpuppets, everyone’s details of their military service are readily available through a FOIA request to the National Personnel Records center. His service records are no more classified than mine are, which is to say THEY AREN’T.

        • Michael L says:

          Have you heard what the definition of insanity is? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. How can you seriously believe that electing someone with Richter’s character issues will change anything?

      • Oceanside says:

        You’re not much on mercy, are you?

        People do grow up.

    • Robert Lewis says:

      I wasn’t committing felonies or lying about a military record.

    • Michael L says:

      “So what the hell were you doing when you were 17 ?”

      I was actually serving in our nations armed forces, not ripping off service members wives. And if you think this is all about a conviction decades ago, you are either not paying attention or being deliberately obtuse. This is about his misleading the public in his bio. Richter shows a serious character flaw. Folks might want to think about that before casting their vote for him.

  19. KMedley says:

    Excellent investigative reporting, Flaglerlive. Thank you for ‘pressing on regardless’.

  20. Bunnell Resident says:

    Unfortunately our base of ill informed voters will not bother to learn anything about the people they vote for meaning this clown could conceivably win. I for one will vote for Nate. He has been a very good public servant.

  21. Outsider says:

    As a conservative and a Republican, I have to wonder who these Ronald Reagan republicans are, what makes them Reaganesque and at what stage of Reagan’s life are they comparing themselves to; are they all senile and falling asleep at their meetings? This guy needs to drop out of the race.

    • Samantha Claire says:

      To Outsider,

      This very small and shrinking Flagler group of angry people is not a chartered part of the Florida Republican Party.

      No one with whom I have consulted can describe just what part of Reagan’s career they are emulating seeming to be making it up as they go.

      They are a mystery. They do not file organization election reports making it impossible get a handle on how they are funded or how they spend their electioneering money.

      They are an embarrassment to the vast majority of sensible county Republicans who strive to help make the party a better more effective organization capable of winning the big elections.

      These are the people who in 2012 elected a Democrat Sheriff because they didn’t like the Republican candidate.

      Richter is an indicator of how obsessed Reagans have been to find people to run against their own purported party.

      Reagans, Please drop the Republican part of your name and go on about your mission in the name of something else.

      SC

      • NortonSmitty says:

        “No one with whom I have consulted can describe just what part of Reagan’s career they are emulating seeming to be making it up as they go.:

        Sam darlin’ you should have asked me. That statement pretty much encapsulizes Regans entire political career.

      • Genie says:

        @ Samantha – As a “sensible county Republican”, which you say you are, how do you know how people voted for Sheriff in the last election?

    • Just wondering says:

      Trust but verify. Sound familiar?

  22. Mark Richter says:

    Well, I guess I really ticked of FlaglerLive by not answering all of the questions.
    The fact is FlaglerLive has a vendetta against me. And has looked into my past going back over forty years. No other candidates’ background has under gone such extensive scrutiny. Why?

    Furthermore, the article is filled with inaccuracies and partial truths. My responses have been taken out of context to suit FlaglerLive’s opinions, and that’s exactly what they are, for they have not presented me with an iota of documentation. If they do not believe what I say concerning my life experiences I challenge them to prove otherwise.

    The arrest for robbery he refers to took place when I was seventeen years old, this today would be classified as “Juvenile Offender”. The case was later dismissed. Apparently the United States Government did not place as much importance on this incident as FlaglerLive when they conferred upon me a security clearance allowing me to train U.S. Troops in here and abroad including Afghanistan. I have provided documentation to FlaglerLive in support of all claims made in my mailings and handouts. And will provide the same documentation to any credible news outlet that cares to see it. This documentation includes verification of the injury I received I Afghanistan while performing my duties as a Training Officer for a contractor hired by the United States Government. My DD2-14 Form stating my service and subsequent Honorary Discharge from the U.S. Navy. FlaglerLive takes issue with my length of service. I submit that I have done what many Americans have not. I “stepped up to the plate” and enlisted to serve my country during the Vietnam conflict. I’m not sure I can say the same for Mr. Tristam or my opponent for that matter.
    Thank You
    Mark Richter

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Mr. Richter enlisted in January 1975, by which time American combat involvement in Vietnam had been over for a year and a half. FlaglerLive similarly investigated Nate McLaughlin, Richter’s opponent, when he first ran four years ago. The only documentation Mr. Richter provided served to confirm what FlaglereLive had already learned.

    • Brad says:

      Now you claim to have “enlisted to serve during the Vietnam conflict”? Do you even know when the Vietnam War occurred? How utterly disrespectful to everyone who actually did serve and sacfriced a great deal in that war.

      7 weeks is NOT serving. It’s time spent. That’s it. You should be ashamed of being so disrespectful to every veteran and service person today, yet you claim to be the victim. Unreal.

      • Genie says:

        @ Brad: I’m having trouble understanding why this man is “despicable”, according to your terms. As the spouse of a Vietnam vet, I’m finding the off the handle judgment of others a little despicable myself. Forgive me for that, please. But somehow, I don’t think you are qualified, nor is anybody else here, to pass this kind of frontier judgment on this man.

    • Robert Lewis says:

      Mr. Richter

      No one had a vendetta against you. Rather you were merely exposed for what you are. Let’s quit with all the bible verses and the repent to Jesus nonsense that people with no real values hide behind when it’s convenient.

      You broke the law, you dis honored our nation and now you lied about it all.
      You have proven that you are not worthy of any vote.

      If you are the best candidate that the Ronald Reagan Facist can drum up, then heaven help us all.

    • Geezer says:

      Bright light hurts your eyes when you’re exposed.

      Bright light!
      Bright light!

      Don’t worry – you’ll probably be elected.
      Look at Rick Scott, whole stole much more than a purse.

      Congratulations on your newly-elected position.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Mr. Richter, more than ticking off Flagler Live, you pretty much ticked off everybody. None more than myself and other Vets. There is a big difference in an Honorary Discharge, which frankly I’ve never heard of, and an Honorable one. The fact that you, who washed out of boot camp for Christs sake, would try to reach up and grasp at the glory of real Veterans who bled, died and are still scarred from actually serving in a war zone is disgusting. To clutch to them hoping that a little bit of their hard earned respect may scrape off under your fingernails and resurrect your sorry-assed political campaign is downright abominable!

      Speaking for myself, and I’m sure many other Veterans from Viet Nam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and all of the other conflicts we have served in, Mr. Richter, please shut up already.

    • Michael L says:

      You just can’t help yourself, can you. You did not serve during the Vietnam War. Our military was out of that country by then. You also weren’t a “training officer” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Calling yourself an officer, when you weren’t, implies service in this nation’s military as a commissioned officer. And please. drop the whole “security clearance” bull. I also carried a security clearance, but that doesn’t stop me from talking about what my job was. No, all you’ve done is kick sand over the plate. And before you make a comment, I am actually a veteran of our armed forces and am 100% disabled from my deployment to Iraq. I served as a 15Q Air Traffic Controller with the US Army. See, that wasn’t so hard and I didn’t give away any state secrets that could doom the Republic. Get over yourself, Richter.

    • Jack Howell says:

      Now let me get this straight. You were injured in Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan you were not a member of the United States Armed Forces. Thus, you were a civilian contractor working to help US troops to learn how to repair the MRAP. You volunteered to go to Afghanistan. You knew the risks and dangers you would face as civilian. Let’s talk about the incentives that lured you to Afghanistan. As a civilian contractor, your pay was significantly higher, including tax breaks, than the military personnel assigned to Afghanistan. By the way, most if not all, military personnel don’t necessarily volunteer for that combat duty. They are ordered to do so!

      Your tour of active duty in the United States Navy was cut short to 7 weeks in boot camp. From what I have read, you had some skin condition which qualified for separation under medical conditions. I accept that this was an Honorable Discharge. That said, don’t consider yourself a veteran in the truest sense of the word. Sorry to tell you, your not!

    • Retired Marine says:

      Sounds like FlaglerLive was doing us all a favor by outing you.

      Do tell, why do you think that 3 weeks in Navy boot camp qualifies as service during the Vietnam era? You were in boot camp for such a short period of time that you’re not even considered a veteran.

    • Kendall says:

      You are a joke. You don’t even deserve to be called sir.

  23. NortonSmitty says:

    Having been in the Navy, I don’t seem to recall getting out of Boot Camp in 7 weeks,let alone getting some kind of high security clearance. And getting the “boot” in that short of time you pretty much had to be a real… well, not an asset to the US Navy. And then claiming his Clearance is still active today is just the worst kind of ChickenHawk bullshit imaginable.
    I’m going to Norfolk on Sept. 18th for a reunion with some of my old Buds. I’d be glad to take Mr Richter up with me to swap his highly classified stories with the boys. I got a feeling I’ll have an empty seat on the ride home.

    I hope this story drives a stake through the heart of this Poltroons candidacy. And the disgusting stench of his childish lies corrupts all of the vermin who are running with him. Good job Pierre.

    PS If any of these studly brigands threaten you over this let me know. They recently passed a law making it illegal to claim military glory you did not earn. I’d be glad to start the ball rolling to add to his criminal record. Or, ahem. help in any other way.

  24. Jan Reeger says:

    All the folks who want to oust incumbents just for the sake of ousting, need to think twice and take a good look at the candidates.

  25. Derrick R. says:

    Put a fork in him , regaless of his past he was less than open and upfront.
    Can I write myself in?

  26. PJ says:

    Way too much drama for this guy as a candidate!

    How good would a candidate be who also seemed very uninformed to be a commissioner.

    The hand shaking incident with his Son? The apple don’t fall far from the tree.

    Ronald Reagan would be turning over in his grave if he could see how his name was being abused and misused.

    It should be everyones right to run for office but don.t try to be bigger than you are just be you, we may listen and believe in you but not this time. Do us all a favor and DROP OUT!

    You need to change the name of FlagerLive the “The FlagerShredder” nice work, WOW!

  27. NortonSmitty says:

    Oh yea. If you would have got to the point in your spectacular military career where you actually took your oath, you would remember you swore to defend your Country (which I guess includes your County) against “ALL enemies, both foreign and domestic.” Which is exactly what Snowden has done. At great personal sacrifice I might add, unlike some.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Oops, my bad. The oath states you swear to defend the Constitution of the United States, not the Country or Government. Shows you our founders knew what was the important stuff way back then. Snowden knew it today.

  28. w.ryan says:

    Everyone should have the opportunity to grow and get a second chance in life. We mature as we learn and some people do deserve to be allowed to move on. But keeping information such as this seem to demonstrate that he hasn’t really changed. Great that he gave back but he hasn’t learned. This candidate is disillusioned within his Ronald Reagan world. If elected how can we expect the truth. Now about the self righteousness…so many have put away childish things and have been kept from change because of ultra conservative politicians who support stringent laws against drug addicted offenders along with anti voting and other infringements on civil rights. I don’t mind a conservative candidate but he’s a deceitful self righteous person. He needs to get out!

  29. yellowstone says:

    Interesting that Mr. Richter is so in tune with US Security – yet he overlooks the fact that there is a public record that is generally available to everyone. Everyone who has access to the Internet, that is. Very little is secret when comes around to employment; especially those assignments in the public sector. Everything is there from your Drivers’ License, voting record, phone number and home address, and property owned.

    Considering everything said and not said, there are several problems with Richter’s tall tale . . .

    But as a VNm veteran I can say I do have an Honorable Discharge – that truly is honorable. It took four long, hard years to obtain. On top of that I had to serve another two year obligatory Navy Reserve assignment.

    I saw a number of ‘Rainbows’ like Richter drop out and simply disappear during those first 7 weeks of rigorous basic. Some simply could not, would not get up in the morning. Some could not keep cadence (left, right, left, right, etc) because didn’t know, couldn’t tell time, or tell the difference in directions!

    Those folks got out on a “General Discharge (sometimes along with an Honorable mention) at the Convenience of the Military” All of that stated on his DD-214 discharge papers – something that is submitted for VA Benefits; such as the VA Medical, FHA/VA loans – not at all a private or secret document.

    Others were discharged with a “Medical Discharge”. For things like passing out too many times in formation, public intoxication, all the way up to mental issues. Discharge would also state “at the convenience of the military”.

    In all due respect to Mr. Richter – though I greatly appreciate your service to our country – why can’t you simply be honest and present yourself as someone who can be trusted? Under the present circumstances, it is impossible to support or defend the reprehensible.

    Please withdraw!

  30. navy vet says:

    the fact this individual exaggerated his military accolades are no different then the usual person claiming valor. to only make it 7 weeks in boot camp and claim you are a veteran is truly disrespectful, but even more to claim you are injured while in Afghanistan insinuating it was due to combat or conflict really takes the cake….sad sack of….

  31. fruitcake says:

    They normally become convicted felons after they are elected!

  32. Raul Troche says:

    It’s a shame that when it comes to elections our choice is ussually left to choosing the lesser of two evils.

  33. Kurt Schneider says:

    I’ve spent almost a year with Mark at FOB Warrior in Afghanistan. Together we survived many attacks by militants and provided the best support we could to the US Military and our Allies. As I knew him Mark was a hard working, caring person that took the business of watching the backs of our young men and women in uniform very seriously. From what I see in this article, the author has spent more time digging 30 plus years in the past instead of finding true facts about Mark. Perhaps some actual facts would make this article more believable. With all the half-truths printed here I feel that Mark is just a subject of a smear campaign by a rival that has their feelings hurt for some reason.

    • Will says:

      My experience with Flagler Live is that they don’t carry the ball for any rival’s smear campaign.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      So Kurt, please expand and regale us with both of you studs brave exploits in the famous and epic “Battle for the Classroom behind the Motor Pool”. I for one can’t wait to hear them. Give me the facts and I’ll even write a song or poem to your bravery. It’s the very least I could do.

    • Michael L says:

      I would say that Richter has done it all to himself. He has deliberately misled people in his bio. he was not a “training officer” as he has stated. His whole bio was nothing more than a pathetic attempt to puff himself up as a “war hero”, insinuating that he was an officer wounded in combat in Afghanistan.

  34. bychoice says:

    Troubling but hey, the door is open for a Democrat..

  35. yellowstone says:

    Hey Kurt, how about doing Mark a favor here. Ask Mark to fill in the blanks and tell his “whole story”. Not knowing anything but half truths hurts his campaign – don’t you think?

    Yes. Get Mark on the horn and get this straightened out NOW. (Tell him, “Or you’ll do it for him.)

    Bet neither one of you will . . .

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.”

  36. Raul Troche says:

    If you think Nate is so good look under tags for Nate especially NewCommission Chairman Nate McLaughlin Flexes Unyielding muscle Dec.5, 2012. He grabbed the $$$$ positions. He also is in cahoots with the good Ol boys. Check out some of his past too. Personally I feel Mark would be better for our county.made Nate has made too many poor decisions in the past costing the taxpayers way too much. Mark wants to cut keep taxes down. We need new blood as the old blood has been corrupted.

  37. please says:

    Cheap shot to go back 40 years to discredit someone. I think everyone would be felons if they were caught at everything they did….none of us are sinless..It’s too bad you didn’t do this much research on Barbara Revels and her ethics complaint and shady dealings and when Clerk of Court Gail Wadsworth spent us broke by mismanaging nearly 6 million tax dollars just a few years ago. Look at her form 6 from she filed in 2007 where she inflated the value of her home from what the Property Appraiser had it listed as, and she didn’t have an independent appraisal to list the inflated price. She wanted it to appear she wasn’t broke, when she was. The tax payers bailed her out. Nate McLaughlin is running scared. He’s never Held real job for any length of time and was never in the service. Dig up the truth on the band equipment that is rely his.

    • Michael L says:

      Nice try at distraction. No, we would not be felons if caught. Most of us did nothing that would have warranted a felony conviction. It’s also telling that you deliberately overlook his deception concerning his military career, or lack thereof. It shows deep character flaws.

  38. Joe says:

    As a registered Republican I am embarrassed. The guy should withdrawl immediately from the race. Either way I don’t see a chance in hell he will win.

  39. ConcernedCitizen says:

    We are so lucky to have Flagler Live. Too bad the national politicians don’t get the same kind of scrutiny and investigation.
    Great, great, great!! And so are many of the citizens who took the time to write and think about this.

  40. Michael says:

    Didn’t Nate McLaughlin claim bankruptcy twice, and run one or two businesses into the ground? Not really a great choice for someone we are trusting to create a run a budget, honestly our choice is between the lesser of two evils; and that sucks

  41. JtFlagler says:

    Excellent job Flagler Live. Now we know he’s a perfect fit for Flagler County politics. He must be allowed to join the liars club presently in place.

  42. Palm Coast, NJ says:

    After reading all this and taking it all into consideration, I think it’s best Mr Richter just withdraw at this point. Find something else to do Mark because public office is not in the cards for you. Now, I might vote for him if that DD-214 is published and he can prove that all charges were dropped from the purse snatching incident.

  43. A.S.F. says:

    Mr. Richter is apparently a legend in his own mind. For his own good, as well as the good of those with whom he associates, he should now (as quietly as possible) withdraw from contention.

  44. Troubledbythis says:

    Sick! Mr. Richter compares himself to the true men and women that are fighting for our country! How much did he sue our country for on those injuries he claims to have? I met him the other day and aside from the cholesterol bags around his eyes he appears to be a perfectly fine functioning able body!
    McLaughlin better win this race!

  45. Flagler Citizen says:

    Kurt Schneider, Do you live here in Flagler County? Or, did Mark call you to write something positive for him? No smear campaigning. Just a curious citizen looking into the background of a man who has a problem telling the truth, and who lets his sons do his dirty work.
    Yes, it’s true that everyone has done stupid stuff when they were younger, but I have never stolen from anyone, or just flat out lied about my past work history, or any other history. Regardless, in time the lies will catch up with you.
    Mark has walked around this County for the past 6 or more months, in Military clothing, and told people he was a soldier in Afghanistan, and even told stories on how he did this and that. He just lied, no other way to put it!! And, I will not vote, or put my trust into someone like that!!

  46. confidential says:

    Nate voted along the others to buy that old derelict hospital that now caused the bankruptcy of Bunnell and also the overpriced Plantation Bay Mori Hosseini utility. To me that is more negative for us that his contender’s record. My absentee has the new candidate on it!

  47. Genie says:

    I voted for Mr. Richter and I would vote for him again.

    I’d vote for just about anybody putting an end to the favoritism and payoffs to the local big landowners here above the needs of the local community. Millions are going to these people in land deals and loans and we can’t stop it.

    As for the early criminal record, obviously the Navy was satisfied that it was expunged or they would not have allowed him to enlist.

    Mr. Richter, there are some local politicians with some shady deals in their backgrounds. I don’t see any in yours. I see no reason for you to withdraw from this campaign.

    Mr. Schneider you are correct. It is a smear campaign of the worst sort.

    • Michael L says:

      I’ll wager that Richter’s conviction was after he’d been booted from the Navy. And the only smear campaign is Richter’s against the good people he wants to elect him. He puffed up his bio, making it appear that he actually served as a commissioned officer in Afghanistan where he was wounded. In these very comments he claims to have served during the Vietnam War. I would suggest taking off your blinders and looking closely at your candidate. If you want change in your local politics, you certainly won’t get it by electing someone with the character flaws of Richter.

    • Kendall says:

      He entered the navy at 17 and was 18 when he graduated to purse snatching. Not certain when his fiction writing/lying phase began.

  48. tulip says:

    @ Michael Yep, McLaughlin went bankrupt twice and it looks like he’s aiming for a third time be spending his way into bankrupting Flagler county along with help from his buddies.

  49. Joe says:

    I voted for him as well, what has good ole Nate ever done during his time on the commission to earn my vote??? The hospital purchase was the straw for me and I would not vote for any incumbent that did!!!

  50. Gia says:

    THANK’s for the freedom of PRESS. They are better then lawyers.

  51. Carl says:

    Sounds like he`ll fit right in with the rest of the crooks running this place, can`t wait till it`s possible to move , I came here when the roads were dirt, all the businesses were on Utility drive , Red Carpet Homes, Town and Country Homes, and Eddie Shatz Landscaping , and of course ITT Head Quarters, a Handyway the only place to get gas and a hotdog for lunch where the pods are on Club House Drive, and Security First Bank is where it is now by Publix, only it was in a mobile home, the closest Publix was Belleair Plaza in Ormond , and the closest restaurant was Momma Mia`s where Manny`s is on AiA, it was too quiet then , but a few years later turned into a Utopia, soon as ITT left and the scurge that moved here voted it be a city , opened the door for the filthiest politicians I`ve ever seen in a town this size, they turned this place into a monopolized , jobless , crime ridden, policed slum. They can waste all our money they want making roads unsafe by stuffing tree`s and plants in the medians , all they are doing is putting a dress on a pig. They`ve Destroyed PC……… good job.

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot to mention the RED LIGHT CAMERAS! That really has hurt the enitre community. I’ve heard several potential home buyers say they wouldn’t live in PC due to the RED LIGHT CAMERAS.

      • Genie says:

        @ Anonymous: Commissioner Frank Meeker was the person on the Council who introduced the Red Light Cameras to Palm Coast when he was on the City Council, according to the minutes.

        You may want to see what he has to say about that. Since we are in the midst of an election, let’s give credit where credit is due.

      • Oceanside says:

        You’re correct. I recently bought a home in Flagler county and never even bothered considering Palm Coast–too much drama, too many regulations, and red light cameras!

  52. Art says:

    As I see it, the incumbents here have demonstrated that they are not the solution to our problems, they ARE the problem.

  53. Logg Cabbin says:

    The theft took place at San Antonio’s North Star Mall, where a 27-year-old Air Force serviceman and his 24-year-old wife were shopping in the early evening. “I do not remember exactly what store we were walking by when my wife shouted someone took my purse,” Richard Harris, the serviceman, wrote in his statement. “When I looked up I saw a tall white male in a white T-shirt and long blond hair running with a purse in his hand.”

    He was not stealing, he was accessorizing.

  54. confidential says:

    McLaughing as candidate I recall had misled too, regarding his place of residence and please correct me if I am wrong. Also in his record he had more than one bankruptcy and other ethical issues: http://flaglerlive.com/25955/nate-mc-laughlin-ethics-settlement/
    The county commission had a GOP commissioner in no long distant past, around 10 years ago, that was also the Chief of the police union, that may be still in jail for sexual abuse of his step daughters: http://www.lawlessamerica.com/index.php?option=com_mtree&task=viewlink&link_id=1498&Itemid=100

    Nate voted along the others to buy that old derelict hospital that now possibly caused the bankruptcy of Bunnell and also the overpriced Plantation Bay Mori Hosseini utility and wants to raise to the maximum allowed our already high gas tax. To me that is more negative for us than his contender’s record. My absentee has the new candidate on it!

    • Will says:

      What’s the connection with the old hospital sale to the county and how that “possibly caused” the bankruptcy of Bunnell ?

    • Will says:

      There are at least two sides to the “ethical issues” link that Confidential stated. It looks to me like the supervisor of elections saw it her way (as usual) and Mr. McLauglin, his lawyer, and the quoted paragraph of state law saw it another. The end result was a compromise. A footnote to history, maybe, but hardly a black mark against Nate.

  55. confidential says:

    Will, I intended to say that what contributed to the bankruptcy of the city of Bunnell was the piggy back on the county’s Superman cape while buying the Hosseini derelict Plantation Bay utility. Sorry my mix up of issues but facts are for all to see.
    Two sides or not of the ethical issue a $600 fine was awarded and discounted from the usual $1,000 one.

  56. A.S.F. says:

    All this defending of Mr. Richter’s juvenile record by the same people who go on and on about how about how Barack Obama may have puffed a joint when he was but a lad…and some of those fine folk, who think we should “overlook” Mr. Richter’s obvious falsification of his own personal accomplishments, are the same folks who continue to make snide little inferences about Barack Obama and what they fantasize he has lied about (his college transcripts, his birth certificate.) Talk about judging people with a different yardstick!

  57. jennifer Lopez says:

    Ahh who cares, I just went to vote early, and they gave me a ballot to vote, for people living in PC. I had Woody Douge, and Joel Rosen, etc for the COtu. But the kicker is this, I live in Bunnell.
    I asked and they told me it was to late I marked that one.
    I not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
    What a world.

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