State Attorney’s Investigative Report on Bunnell Police Department and City Commissioner Jimmy Flynt:
Part 3 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“
SAO INVESTIGATIVE REPORT #1 (Bisland)
Synopsis: On April 13th 2010, Investigator Jack Bisland met with Investigator Jim Parker in St. Augustine, Florida and was briefed regarding the ongoing investigation of allegations of Official Misconduct against some members of the City of Bunnell Police Department and an Elected City Official. Additionally, a preliminary interview of a former Bunnell Police Corporal, Nick Massaro was conducted.
Details: Investigator Parker advised he had received a complaint from a local Wrecker Service in Flagler County that members of the Bunnell Police Department were illegally funneling wrecker service customers to Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive Company in violation of the established Rotation Wrecker Contract/Agreement. The complainant asserted this “favoritism” was occurring in large part because the owner and operator of Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive is Mr. Jimmy Flynt who is also a City Commissioner for the City of Bunnell. Additionally, Investigator Parker advised that on 02/12/10 an incident occurred at Payless Auto Sales, located at 2201 E. Moody Blvd., Bunnell, Florida resulting in the allegation of Battery against Mr. Jimmy Flynt. A review of the reports of that incident reveals that Mr. Flynt was involved in a dispute over an unpaid wrecker fee of $165.00 with Mr. Donald Kokenge, a Payless Auto Sales employee. During the dispute Mr. Flynt is accused of physically “pushing” Mr. Kokenge. The Bunnell Police Department was summoned to the scene and ultimately the debt was collected and the criminal charges of Battery are pending investigation. Investigator Bisland also read the file and reviewed the accompanying documents to date.
At approximately 1130 hours, same date, Investigators Parker and Bisland conducted an interview of Mr. Nick Massaro, a former Bunnell Police Corporal, who had requested the opportunity to speak with Investigator Parker. A voluntary interview resulted in the following synopsis: Massaro advised he worked for the Bunnell Police Department for approximately five years and resigned while under investigation on January 28k”, 2010. Massaro also advised that he recently spoke with Bunnell Police Sergeant Frank Gamarra who reported that the State Attorney’s Office was investigating allegations of wrongdoing as it relates to the practices of the Rotation Wrecker Services at the Police Department. Massaro identified that conversation as the impetus for his contacting Investigator Parker to share information which he stated might be important to the investigation also for which he stated; “he had nothing to loose or gain”. Massaro advised that on one occasion while at the Bunnell Police Department he overheard then Chief of Police Armando Martinez tell then Sergeant John Murray to “feed” cars to Saxon’s to help keep his business alive. Mr. Massaro stated that it was very common for Lt. Murray to use Saxon’s Wrecker Service, out of rotation, after falsely representing the request was an “Owners Request”. Specifically, Mr. Massaro stated that on one occasion he had arrested an individual identified as Bryan Vernon and Lt. Murray had contacted Saxon’s Wrecker Service, out of rotation, falsely representing it was an “Owners Request”. Mr. Massaro further advised that on another occasion he arrested Don C. Flynt, Jimmy Flynt’s son, for DUI. From the scene of the arrest Lt. Murray telephoned Jimmy Flynt directly and released the vehicle his son had been operating to Mr. Flynt. This concluded the preliminary interview and a formal sworn statement will be obtained at a later date. This investigation continues.
At approximately 1530 hrs, same date, I received a call from Ponce Inlet PD Officer Laura Barnes (phone number deleted). I explained the purpose of my investigation. Officer Barnes said she witnessed John and Lisa Murray calling Saxon’s Wrecker, via cell phone, when they were not on rotation. She said Jimmy Flynt would always show up on scene in his tow truck when he was not on rotation. I asked Officer Barnes to explain this in more detail. She said Jimmy Flynt would hear a tow call on his police radio and would show up on scene asking the officers if they wanted him to tow the car. She said she would hurry and call in a rotation request because she knew what he wanted when he arrived. She said that she was not part of the traffic deployments and was already working for Ponce Inlet P.D. at the time. She said she used to be friends with Lisa Murray. She said Lisa would always try and intimidate people by threatening to arrest them or was just rude and unprofessional when she talked to people. Officer Barnes said she knew first hand that Lisa Murray altered her time card to go on vacation with her husband because she didn’t have enough leave time. She said Lisa Murray did that about two and a half years ago, April or May 2008, by showing that she was working when she was actually on vacation. I thanked Officer Barnes and said that I would need to subpoena her for a sworn statement at a later date. Writer’s note: On April 28, 2010, I took a sworn videotaped statement from Officer Barnes at the Daytona SAO. Please refer to the videotape for exact details.
April 14, 2010, at approximately 1035 hrs, Investigator Bisland and I responded to 201 S. State St., Saxon’s Wrecker, to serve a subpoena for records to Jimmy Flynt. Investigator Bisland completed the investigative report detailing this action:
SAO INVESTIGATIVE REPORT (Bisland) #2:
Synopsis: On April 14th 2010, at approximately 1035 hours Investigator Jack Bisland and Investigator Jim Parker served a subpoena on Mr. Jimmy Flynt the Owner and Operator of Saxons Wrecker and Automotive requiring production of Saxon’s Rotation Wrecker Log records and supporting documents from October 2008 through April 14th, 2010. This activity was conducted in furtherance of the investigation of allegations of Official Misconduct by Members of the Bunnell Police Department and an Elected City Official.
Details: Investigators Bisland and Parker traveled to the business location of Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive located at 201 S. State St. Bunnell, Fl and met with Mr. Jimmy Flynt. Investigator Parker served Mr. Flynt the subpoena and identified the records being sought. Mr. Flynt complied with the request and provided the Investigators twenty nine (29) pages of documents identified as Saxon’s Wrecker and Automotive Rotation Wrecker Log’s from the period of October 2008 through April ~ 2010. Mr. Flynt was given a reasonable time (5 Business days) to also provide the accompanying tow sheet(s) for each Rotation Tow for the Bunnell Police Department during the described period. During the time in which the Investigators were at Saxon’s Wrecker, Mr. Flynt made statements of relevance to this investigation. Without solicitation Mr. Flynt provided an explanation for seven (7) tow jobs he conducted out of rotation for the Bunnell Police Department on Super Bowl Sunday 2010. Mr. Flynt explained that he was told by Lt. Murray of the Bunnell Police Dept. that he (Murray) had created a “Special” rotation list exclusively for Police Special Enforcement Events/Operations. Rogers Towing was the scheduled Rotation Wrecker Service during that time however Lt. Murray’s “Special” rotation had moved Saxon’s Wrecker to the top of the list. Mr. Flynt continued to explain that Lt. Murray stated this was because of poor response times of wrecker services during past DUI deployment details. Mr. Flynt stated, “I didn’t like it but I was just doing what I was told”. Additionally, Mr. Flynt stated “Just to show you guys what type of person I am, I gave up one weeks rotation to Rogers (Towing) that cost me three grand”. Mr. Flynt explained his actions were in response to Rogers Towing Investigator Jim Parker SA726 complaining about the Super Bowl Sunday business described above. Mr. Flynt also inquired of Investigator Parker the status of the “Incident at Payless”. This was a reference to the allegations of Battery against Mr. Flynt on 02/1 2/10 at Payless Auto Sales, Investigator Parker advised Mr. Flynt the incident remained under investigation, Investigators Bisland and Parker secured from the scene with the described tow records. The records were copied and the originals personally returned to Mr. Flynt later that same afternoon by Investigator Bisland.
This investigation continues.
At approximately 1450 hrs, same date, Investigator Bisland and I previously left a card and contact number at the residence of Todd R. McCoy (WM 07-23-68). Mr. McCoy was another person identified as making an “owners request” for Saxon’s Wrecker. Mr. McCoy called and said he was stopped by BPD for DUI on October 15, 2009, (BPD case# 09- 7880). He said he did not remember anyone asking who he wanted to tow his car. He said if they did he would told them to call Saxon’s Wrecker because he knows the owner and they are friends.
April 15, 2010, at approximately 1035 hrs, I received a call from Mr. Lloyd Freckleton Sr. (Flagler Beach, phone number deleted). I explained the purpose of my investigation. Mr. Freckleton said he also received my letter but that his son, David A. Freckleton (phone number deleted), was away at college. He said that he had to pay $500.00 to get his son’s car out of impound and he had all of the paperwork. I asked Mr. Freckleton if I could interview him at his residence.
At approximately 1405 hrs, same date, I met Mr. Lloyd Freckleton at his residence. Mr. Freckleton said he had to pay a $350.00 fee to the BPD as well as a $180.00 fee to Saxon’s Wrecker. He said his son was not physically arrested but was issued a Notice to Appear for possession of marijuana (BPD case# 09-194). I asked him if he knew the details of his son’s stop and detention. He said his son was stopped, never questioned about a wrecker, issued a ticket on the roadside, and then told to call someone to pick him up. Mr. Freckleton then showed me the paperwork and said he was upset because the officer wrote, “owner request” on the tow sheet. He said his son never requested a wrecker and never requested Saxon’s to tow his vehicle. Mr. Freckleton said his son was currently attending Beacon College in Leesburg and that I could call and talk with him on the telephone. I contacted Mr. David Freckleton by telephone prior to leaving the residence. According to David Freckleton the officers were standing in the road flagging people over. He said some BPD officers walked up to his car asking him several questions then ordered him out of his car. He said they found an empty baggie and took it. He said he waited next to his car for approximately 25 minutes and a tow truck pulled up. He said no one had talked to him and he then asked why they were towing his car. He said a BPD officer they were seizing his car and they had a right to seize it. He said they put him in handcuffs for awhile then eventually wrote him a ticket. He said he signed a form to go to court then was let go and told to find a way home. David Freckleton said he never asked for a wrecker and no one discussed a wrecker with him. He said when the wrecker arrived he said he didn’t want his car towed. He said he never made an owners request for Saxon’s Wrecker to tow his car. I told David Freckleton that I would need him to come to the Flagler SAO and make a statement when he got back to town. He said he would be coming home soon and would call me.
Writer’s note: On April 26, 2010, Mr. David Freckleton and his father, Lloyd Freckleton responded to the Flagler SAO. David Freckleton made a sworn audiotape statement detailing the events of his stop. Please refer to the audiotape for exact details.
April 16, 2010, at approximately 0805 hrs, Investigator Bisland and I took a sworn videotaped statement from BPD Officer George Hristakopolous (phone number deleted) at HIU North in St. Augustine. Officer Hristakopolous described what he believed were incidents of favoritism and misconduct on the part of John Murray. He also talked about his arrest of Freddie Lee Giddens. He said that he arrested Giddens for drug possession and seized, what he described as a large amount of currency, from Giddens. Officer Hristakopolous believed the money to be drug proceeds. He said John Murray took the currency and gave it to Giddens mother instead of allowing him to make a seizure subsequent to the arrest. Please refer to the videotape for exact details.
Writer’s Note: Investigator Bisland and I met with ASA Steve Gosney. ASA Gosney is the prosecutor who handled the possession case on Freddie Lee Giddens. He said he was upset that the currency was not seized during the arrest. He said he learned of the currency during the deposition of BPD Officer Hristakopolous. ASA Gosney said that information was not in the charging 707 so he had Officer Hristakopolous document a supplement report explaining why the currency was not seized. This is when ASA Gosney learned that John Murray returned the currency to Gidden’s mother at the scene of the arrest. On May 11, 2010, Investigator Bisland and I took a sworn videotaped statement of Freddie Lee Giddens. Please refer to the videotape for complete details.
At approximately 0945 hrs, same date, Investigator Bisland and I took a sworn videotaped statement from BPD Officer Christopher N. Wolfle (phone number deleted) at HIU North. According to Officer Wolfle he and other BPD officers received a call to 201 S. Stone St. in Bunnell regarding marijuana plants. He said the complainant called advising there were marijuana plants growing in the back yard of the vacant house next door. Officer Wolfle said there was no question they were marijuana plants and he was told to place them in the rear of John Murray’s police SUV. Officer Wolfle said he was told by Murray that he would take care of the plants and for Wolfle not to write a report. Please refer to the videotape for exact details.
April 18, 2010, at approximately 1710 hrs, I received a call from Daniel Sousa (WM 08-01-78, Bunnell, phone number deleted). I had mailed Mr. Sousa a letter and previously left my card at his residence. I explained the purpose of my investigation. Mr. Sousa said he was arrested for DUI on February 2, 2009, after the Super Bowl (BPD case# 09-0883). Mr. Sousa said he was required to have his car towed and requested Saxon’s Wrecker. Mr. Sousa said he had to pay a $350.00 fee to the BPD but that Jimmy Flynt only charged him $50.00 because he knew Flynt.
Writer’s note: The BPD tow sheet showed this was a rotation tow, not an owner’s request as stated by Mr. Sousa.
April 19, 2010, at approximately 1630 hrs, I received a call from Jennifer Ashley Cauldwell (WE 04-04-84, Palm Coast, phone number deleted). I explained the purpose of my investigation. According to Mrs. Cauldwell she was stopped because she had a black female in the car and the female jumped out and grabbed the mail at her (Jennifer Cauldwell) residence (BPD case# 08-7405). Mrs. Cauldwell said her previous residence was public housing in Bunnell and it must have looked suspicious. Mrs. Cauldwell said Cpl. Lisa Murray stopped her, ran her license and discovered it was suspended for financial responsibility. She said she was pregnant and had her other three children in the car with her. She said she didn’t know her license was suspended. She said Officer Hristakopolous was also present and they searched her car. She said no one ever asked her anything about a wrecker or a wrecker preference and Saxon) (called out of rotation) towed her car. She said Cpl. Murray wrote her a ticket and she and her three children were made to walk home. I asked her if she thought her stop had anything to do with where she was or having a black female in the car. Mrs. Cauldwell said she used to live in public housing because that’s all she could afford. She said all of her children are mixed but from the same father who is her husband. She said maybe it looked suspicious but there was no reason that she, being several months pregnant, was made to walk home with three small children. She said she later had to pay $350.00 to the BPD then another $600.00 to Saxon’s Wrecker to get her car. She said her mother paid it after several days of storage fees and no transportation. She said she could not understand why she had to pay so much for a suspended license ticket and why she was treated like she was. I told Mrs. Cauldwell that I would need a sworn statement from her at a later date. She agreed and said I could call anytime.
Writer’s note: On May 14, 2010, Jennifer Ashley Cauldwell responded to the Flagler SAO and provided a sworn videotaped statement. Please refer to the videotape for exact details.
For an analysis of the report, see
“State Report Details Disturbing Patterns at Bunnell PD and Favors For Commissioner Jimmy Flynt“