State Attorney’s Investigative Report on Bunnell Police Department and City Commissioner Jimmy Flynt:
Part 6 of 6
FlaglerLive | August 15, 2010
For an analysis of the report, see
“State Report Details Disturbing Patterns at Bunnell PD and Favors For Commissioner Jimmy Flynt“
May 24, 2010, I spoke with Mrs. Ronya Johnson (phone number deleted). Mrs. Johnson is the former Bunnell City Clerk, former Bunnell HR Director and former interim Bunnell City Manager. According to Mrs. Johnson she left the City of Bunnell June 22, 2009 for health reasons and had learned of the SAO investigation. She said Bunnell City Commissioner Jimmy Flynt took a personal interest in the BPD before Armando Martinez became City Manager. She said former Bunnell City Manager, Syd Crosby; tried to downsize the BPD but Jimmy Flynt became very involved in opposing Mr. Crosby with the downsize. She said the BPD downsizing never occurred. I asked Mrs. Johnson about any of the commissioners having a police radio. She said Jimmy Flynt was the only commissioner with a police radio. She said Flynt told her he used the radio for his towing business and that she knew he used it for personal reasons. Mrs. Johnson said she was regularly directed to complete personal tasks for Jimmy Flynt’s business while working as the Bunnell City Clerk. She said these tasks included office related duties such as writing and faxing letters.
May 25, 2010, at approximately 1320 hrs, Investigator Bisland and I made contact with Ms. Arlene M. Smith (WE 05-02-43, Bunnell, phone number deleted). She said she has been living in that location for 11 years. We questioned Ms. Smith about some alleged marijuana plants discovered in the yard of the vacant house next to hers. She said she remembered that a neighbor told her about something in the back yard. She said when she checked she saw 4 or5 marijuana plants in regular planter pots in the back yard where an above- ground pool used to be. She said she recognized the plants as marijuana and called the BPD. She said the largest plant was about a foot tall or more. She said she never saw anyone taking care of the plants but did remember seeing some people carrying water toward the house. She said they stopped when one of the neighbors said something then continued to walk away. She said some BPD officers arrived at her house and she remembered one of the officers loading the plants in a police station wagon. She said that house had been vacant since 2008 and she would regularly call the police if she saw anyone around the house or inside.
Writer’s note: This is the call and information related to the marijuana plants taken by John Murray but never placed in the BPD property and evidence (FCSO CAD information: incident-# 09-3053 on April26, 2009, 17:48:11, ORI# 180100-BpD, units P210-Murray, P218-Wolfie & P1 10-Nasby).
May 26, 2010, Investigator Bisland and I began investigating further into the allegation of illegal tire dumping by Jimmy Flynt. During our initial inquiry, we learned that former Bunnell Public Works Director Eric Crandall (Bunnell,phone number deleted) may have information related to our investigation. After making contact with Mr. Crandall this was confirmed as well as a current public works employee, Mr. Robert Bracewell, (phone number deleted) who may also have knowledge (Mr. Bracewell was reluctant to speak with us for fear of retribution).
Investigator Bisland completed a report detailing this aspect of the investigation: SAO INVESTIGATIVE REPORT (Bisland) #5
SYNOPSIS: This investigative report details the complaint and investigation of the suspected illegal disposal of used tires by Commissioner Jimmy Flynt from a period of time beginning circa 2006 though present day. This activity was conducted in furtherance of the investigation of complaints of Official Misconduct by Bunnell City Commissioner James E. Flynt, aka “Jimmy”.
DETAILS: In April of 2010, Investigator Jim Parker received a complaint that Commissioner Jimmy Flynt was disposing of used tires from his personal Business, Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive located at 201 5. State St., Bunnell, Fl by throwing the tires into the City of Bunnell’s Tire Disposal Dumpster, located at the Public Works Department at Taxpayers expense. On May 26th, 2010, in furtherance of the investigation of the described complaint Investigator Jack Bisland and Investigator Jim Parker, of the State Attorney’s Office 7th Judicial Circuit, conducted an interview of Mr. Eric John Crandall W/M DOB 12/31/60 at the State Attorney’s Office in Bunnell Florida. The interview was audio and video recorded and Mr. Crandall was sworn prior to the statement. During the interview Mr. Crandall advised the following; Mr. Crandall was employed by the City of Bunnell as the Director of the Public Works Department from May 9th 2005 until March 27th, 2009. Mr. Crandall estimates that, shortly after Mr. Richard Diamond was appointed as the City Manager of Bunnell (Circa 2006-07), Commissioner Jimmy Flynt telephonically contacted Mr. Crandall at the Public Works Department and advised that he wanted to clean up his shop (Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive) and inquired about using the City’s tire dumpster to dispose of a “bunch” of tires. Mr. Crandall also stated that Commissioner Flynt explained that his traditional method of tire disposal was not currently available to him. Commissioner Flynt asked how the tire dumpster worked? Mr. Crandall explained that the City of Bunnell contracts solid waste services with Waste Pro, Inc. As part of the contract, Waste Pro, Inc. provides several “complimentary” dumpsters for the City to dispose of solid waste, yard waste and construction waste, which are all located at the City Yard within the fenced compound at the Public Works Department, located at 305 Tolman St. Bunnell, Fl. Also located at the City yard is a tire disposal dumpster provided by Waste Pro, Inc. which is exclusively used for the disposal of tires by the City of Bunnell for official City business. Mr. Crandall further stated that the City of Bunnell has a Highway Maintenance Contract with the Florida Department of Transportation that includes all of Flagler County and a portion of Volusia County which also generates the collection of tires for disposal into this dumpster. The Waste Pro dumpster dedicated to tire disposal is NOT a complimentary service and cost’s the City of Bunnell $179.00 each time the dumpster is emptied. Mr. Crandall reported that Jimmy Flynt “pressed” him to allow the dumping of his tires in the City tire dumpster stating it would just be this “one time”. Mr. Crandall advised Commissioner Flynt that he was going to advise the then City Manager Mr. Richard Diamond of the request. Mr. Diamond advised Mr. Crandall that he would talk to Commissioner Flynt about this however go ahead and let him do it “this one time”. Mr. Crandall stated that he advised Commissioner Flynt he could use the dumpster this one time. Subsequently Commissioner Flynt and two unknown associates dumped two pick up trucks and a flatbed truck full of tires in the tire dumpster. Mr. Crandall estimates the number of tires dumped to be approximately 36 tires.
Mr. Crandall further reported that within one month after the described tire disposal he was again contacted by Commissioner Flynt who asked again to use the City tire dumpster stating, “I got a few more tire’s can I dump them”? Again Commissioner Flynt dumped tires into the City tire dumpster. This reoccurred every 2-3 months with Commissioner Flynt and or his employees disposing of tires from his business; Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive. Mr. Crandall personally witnessed the disposals and in some cases would be informed by city employees, after the fact, that Commissioner Flynt had stopped by and dumped tires. Mr. Crandall also stated that around 2007-2008 a new City Manager Mr. Sid Crosby took over (April 2008) and after discovering the tire dumping activities of Commissioner Flynt spoke with the Commissioner and the dumping ceased. Mr. Crosby was replaced as City Commissioner by Mr. Armando Martinez, the current City Manager of Bunnell. During the period of time between Mr. Crosby’s tenure and Mr. Martinez’s appointment, Mr. Martinez served as the interim City Manager. It was during this time period that Mr. Crandall reports he was contacted by a City Hall employee named Ronya Johnson requesting that an automatic gate opener be furnished to Commissioner Flynt. The opener was a battery operated clicker that opens and closes the secure gate at the entrance to the Public Works Department which contains the described tire dumpster. Mr. Crandall advised that Commissioner Flynt resumed dumping tires in the City tire dumpster and with the issuance of a gate clicker could now do so at any time including after business hours. Mr. Crandall stated he spoke with City Manager Armando Martinez expressing concern for Commissioner Flynt’s use of the City tire dumpster and was told by Mr. Martinez, “don’t worry about it; it’s no big deal”. Mr. Crandall advised that Commissioner Flynt continued to dump tires from his business into the City tire dumpster through his tenure as Public Works Director which ended in March of 2009. At no time did Commissioner Flynt financially compensate or offer to compensate the City of Bunnell for the tire disposal services. Mr. Crandall was asked if any other City Officials or private citizens were authorized to use the City tire dumpster for personal use, to which he replied, “No”. No other City Commissioners were issued gate clickers allowing access to the City yards.
Also on May 26, 2010, Investigator Bisland and Investigator Parker interviewed Mr. Robert Bracewell Sr. a current employee of the City of Bunnell who after being sworn provided a statement which was audio and video recorded. Mr. Bracewell has been employed by the City of Bunnell Public Works Department for approximately five years and has personally observed Commissioner Jimmy Flynt dispose of tires from Saxon’s Wrecker Service into the City’s tire dumpster located at Public Works- City Yards. Additionally, Mr. Bracewell has personally helped Mr. Flynt unload tires from a Saxon’s Vehicle into the tire dumpster. Mr. Bracewell stated that he was asked to assist Commissioner Flynt by his boss Mr. Crandall and was doing as requested. Mr. Bracewell was aware this was an ongoing activity by Commissioner Flynt under Mr. Crandall’s tenure as Director of Public Works.
Subsequent to the interviews of Mr. Crandall and Mr. Bracewell, Investigator Bisland contacted the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and researched the rules governing the disposal of tires due to the environmental impact of improper tire disposal. Tires disposed of at a landfill must be cut into pieces of a prescribed size prior to disposal. Additionally, any business that disposes of more than 25 tires per month is required to be permitted and maintain records of the disposal and either become a registered disposal agent, contract the services of a registered tire disposal agent or directly dispose of the tires in compliance with the governing rules. If a business disposes of less than 25 tires per month no permit is required. Businesses are also prohibited from storing in excess of 1500 tires at a time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has no record of Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive having ever been a registered tire collection agent. As of this date only two registered tire disposal agents are active in Flagler County and they are identified as Cooper’s 24 hour Emergency Road Service and Timothy L. Pendington (Palm Coast). Businesses disposing tires are allowed to charge a per tire disposal fee, which is not regulated however is customarily around $2.00 per tire. All new tires sold in Florida include a $1.00 fee payable to the State of Florida.
On June 2, 2010, Investigators Bisland and Parker interviewed former Bunnell City Manager Mr. Sid Crosby. Mr. Crosby served for approximately 10 months in 2008. Mr. Crosby had no recollection of Commissioner Flynt disposing of tires at the Public Works tire dumpster. Additionally Mr. Crosby stated he did not remember a conversation with either Mr. Flynt or Mr. Crandall regarding tire disposal.
On June 14, 2010, Investigators Bisland and Parker conducted an interview of former Bunnell City Manager Richard Diamond who served as the City Manager of Bunnell from March 2006 through Jan 2008. Mr. Diamond was questioned regarding the described tire disposal and had no recollection of Commissioner Flynt disposing of tires at the Public Works tire dumpster. Additionally, Mr. Diamond stated he did not remember a conversation with either Mr. Flynt or Mr. Crandall regarding tire disposal.
On June 17, 2010, Investigators Bisland and Parker conducted a voluntary interview of Commissioner Flynt at the State Attorney’s Office in Bunnell, Florida. Mr. Flynt was invited to the office by Investigator Parker and provided a voluntary sworn statement which was audio and video recorded. During the interview Mr. Flynt was asked about his tire disposal activities to which he responded that he has disposed of tires in the City tire dumpster for approximately five years. Mr. Flynt advised that he had always sought permission from either the previous Public Works Director(s) and or City Manager(s) explaining that the tires he disposes of in the City tire dumpster are only tires that are illegally dumped on his business property; Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive. Mr. Flynt offered an additional explanation; often he discovers that person(s) unknown leave old used tires adjacent to his fence at his Wrecker yard near the location of his business dumpster. Mr. Flynt speculated that people throw away their tires and put them near his dumpster on the outside of the fence after hours. Mr. Flynt stated he throws these “illegally” dumped tires over the fence of his business and as a courtesy occasionally runs them out to Public Works to “properly” dispose of the tires. Doing so avoids incurring the time and expenses of cutting the tires in compliance with FDEP rules in the City’s tire dumpster. Mr. Flynt clarified stating that all the tires he collects for destruction in the operation of his personal business are hand cut by him or his son and disposed of in his privately paid for dumpster. Mr. Flynt also stated he was doing the City a favor by taking the time to transport the “illegally” dumped tires to the dumpster. Mr. Flynt stated he did not feel it was his responsibility to incur the cost of taking the time to cut and dispose of “those” tires. Mr. Flynt stated he has never disposed of a tire from his personal business in the City dumpster. Mr. Flynt was asked why he has an automatic gate opener for the Public Works yard. Mr. Flynt stated he only uses that for after hour emergencies in his capacity as a City Commissioner or if as a Wrecker operator is towing a disabled Police vehicle to the City Mechanic’s Garage after hours. Mr. Flynt denied ever using the electronic access device for after hour’s access to dump tires. Additionally Mr. Flynt stated that on at least one occasion he filed a Police Report with the Bunnell Police Department reporting the illegal dumping of tires that had occurred on his business property. Mr. Flynt estimated the number of tires that he dumped at the City tire dumpster on each occasion to be approximately a minimum of 3 to maximum of 15 tires. Mr. Flynt stated he did not remember ever disposing of approximately 36 tires contained in three trucks. In summary Mr. Flynt stated he sought prior approval and permission from either the Public Works Director(s) or City Manager(s) to dispose only of illegally dumped tires.
Mr. Flynt was asked if, as a City Commissioner he ever negotiated or approved the Waste Pro Contract(s) with the City of Bunnell. Mr. Flynt did not remember negotiating the contract but stated he may well have voted for its approval.
Writer’s note: Please refer to the sworn videotaped statements provided by Mr. Crandall, Mr. Bracewell and Commissioner, Jimmy Flynt for exact details.
June 8, 2010, at approximately 1100 hrs, John C. Murray and Lisa C. Murray responded to the Flagler SAO to provide a voluntary sworn videotaped statement. I had previously contacted John Murray and asked if he and his wife wanted to make a voluntary statement. He agreed and they both responded. Please refer to the videotaped statements for exact details.
June 15, 2010, Flagler County Judge Richard Watson signed a felony warrant (10-561-CEFA) for John C. Murray for the charges of: Official Misconduct, Possession of Cocaine, Tampering with Physical Evidence and Grand Theft. On the same date Judge Watson also signed a felony warrant (10-562-CEFA) for Lisa C. Murray for the charges of: 2 counts of Official Misconduct.
June 16, 2010, John and Lisa Murray responded to the Flagler SAO. After collaborating with Chief Arthur Jones, they were both arrested for the outstanding warrants signed by Judge Watson. Investigator Bisland and I transported them to the FCSO Detention Facility where they were booked for the listed charges.
James A. Parker, lnvestigator
Office of the State Attorney
7th Judicial Circuit
For an analysis of the report, see
“State Report Details Disturbing Patterns at Bunnell PD and Favors For Commissioner Jimmy Flynt“