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Attorney Representing Linda Bolante in Cases Against Sheriff Manfre Responds

| April 29, 2016

florida ethics commission jim manfre linda bolante

The Florida Ethics Commission, in a still from its video feed, as it was beginning to discuss the Sheriff Manfre ethics case on April 15.

On April 15 the Florida Ethics Commission voted unanimously to fine Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre $6,200 and publicly censure and reprimand him in a case dating back to 2014. (Audio of the full hearing is here.) The ethics charges were filed against him by Linda Bolante, Manfre’s former finance director, who is also suing him in circuit court in a wrongful termination claim.

Manfre is contesting both cases. In the ethics case, he’s vowed to appeal to the state supreme court if necessary, to clear his name. Last Friday he spoke at length about the case, in more details than he had before, stressing that he broke no laws and no policies, and laying part of the blame for missteps on  Bolante, who, he said, was paid to provide him sound advice on procedures, but did not do so. In his radio appearance, which you can hear in full here and read here, Manfre made several claims about Bolante, including that she “did not even testify at the ethics commission, because her credibility was so damaged in a deposition.” Bolante is represented by Robert L. McLeod II, the St. Augustine attorney, who submitted the response below to Manfre’s claims, on Bolante’s behalf.

It was unfortunately predictable that Flagler Sheriff Manfre made baseless statements in his most recent public effort to avoid responsibility for his own corrupt and unethical behavior.  Rather than admit to what was profoundly proven before the Florida Commission on Ethics recently, Mr. Manfre has elected instead to follow his unceasing course of mistruths and outright misrepresentation by attempting to shift the blame for his own dishonesty and ethical failures on to Linda Bolante…who had the courage and moral fiber to report his misconduct as any honest public employee should.

Moreover, when Ms. Bolante discovered the misuse of public funds and property, she was brave enough to oppose Manfre’s request that she “take the hit” for him and lost her job for refusing to be as dishonest as her boss.

That said, we will not litigate this matter in the press.  However, your readers should know a few important truths:

1. The Ethics Commission rendered clear findings of fact that Mr. Manfre and no else concerning these issues, violated the law and ethical requirements of a public official.

2. Linda Bolante was ready, willing and able to testify in the Ethics hearing. She was ultimately not called because, frankly, it was not necessary because of how obvious and simple it was to demonstrate Manfre’s ethical failures without her.  Proof was manifest.

3. Contrary to Manfre’s public rant, Linda Bolante was crystal clear, truthful and completely credible in her deposition testimony. In stark contrast, Mr. Manfre refused to answer relevant questions and produce public documents in his deposition resulting in a Court Order compelling his testimony and production and, a public and stern chiding by the Circuit Court not to repeat the behavior.

The good citizens and the hardworking law enforcement officers of Flagler County deserve better than this from their Sheriff.  As the Ethics Commission did, perhaps the electorate of Flagler County will decide to do something about that.

Sincerely,

Robert L. McLeod II, B.C.S.
Attorney for Linda Bolante
Bolante v. Manfre

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11 Responses for “Attorney Representing Linda Bolante in Cases Against Sheriff Manfre Responds”

  1. K says:

    Sheriff Manfre,

    Please do us all a favor. and save the citizens of Flagler County the embarrassment of of continuing this ridiculous appeal and even more ridiculous campaign for reelection. If you truly care about this community you will simply disappear into the sunset.

    Thank you,

    Your constituents.

  2. 30 year cop says:

    Keep in mind that Linda Bolante & her husband Joel have donated to Staly’s campaign, hmmmmmmm

  3. Billy says:

    I truly hope Mr. Manfre gets what he has coming to him! Somehow he believes he is above the law and not held to the same standards as the rest of the public! Blame someone one else for your ineptness and unwillingness to adhere to policy! This man has zero ethics and no morals! I witnessed him in court outright lie and purger himself out of plain dedication to his political supporters and their agenda! He sent a low level non- violent person to jail for longer than a murderer and child molester…..and never met the man or read the case! Just testified this was the worst criminal he has ever seen in his entire career! Once again he is ruining others reputations and careers to clear himself!!!! Karma is a bitch Manfre! Hope they take your job, law degree and BK refuses to hire you!

  4. Wishful thinking says:

    Amen to the previous post. Manfre’s ego is obviously his only concern.Time to call it a day and let the county hire a qualified objective experienced police chief. Charter revision time
    i

  5. Jim says:

    LINDA…
    I sincerely hope you take Manfre’s comments and file a defamation suit against him as well as nailing his manhood to the wall for what he has done. You are always an honorable and truthful person and always have been as long as I have known you over 30 years now…Sic em!

  6. Concerned Citizen says:

    Mr.Manfre,

    Time and time again you have proven just how unethical and dishonest you are. Your actions speak louder than words. If you had any honor or decency at all you would resign from your office and leave Law Enforcement to someone more qualified. yes more qualified.

    The facts are you cannot conduct business ethically, you have lied several times including sworn statements and you have poor leadership skills. You deflect blame instead of accepting it like most adults do. We don’t care about what Don Fleming did or how his fines compare against yours. We care about whether you accept responsibility and try to move forward.

    Your department’s moral is at an all time low. You have either fired or forcefully retired any experienced Deputies/Supervisors who were a threat and a good part of your current force is inept. (Case in point recent false arrests and lying on arrest reports). Your new hires are so young they lack life experience to know how to do the job. I guess that makes them more controllable. And let’s not forget the faltering communications system that you won’t take responsibility for. And training?? When was the last time you conducted any worthy large scale training like the exercise last June? Which by the way was mostly coordinated by Emergency Services.

    As an elected official you have a large responsibility to represent your citizens. You also swore an oath to serve and protect. You have failed miserably on all accounts. Why you think you have a chance of reelection is beyond me. I will be pleased when the citizens of this county decide to make a change this year and vote you out. It’s time to make a change and get someone who will hopefully do the job properly.

    Flagler County please remember this at election time !!

    As I have said before if it seems I am being hard on the Sheriff then I am. Leadership starts from the top and you lead by example. Mr. Manfre has opted to do the entire opposite and somehow it’s everyone Else’s fault.

    Again Thank You Flagler Live for keeping the heat on Mr. Manfre and reminding us voters of our responsibility this year

  7. r&r says:

    All you voters that voted Manfe in must REALY be proud of yourselves.

  8. Biker says:

    The governor should remove him from office.

  9. Insider says:

    To all citizens of Flagler County:
    I have worked for the Sheriff’s office for years and would like to share my thoughts:

    I’ve known Linda for a long time and she is a very honest person: one with the highest integrity.
    Manfre, however, is the spawn of satan. When he got elected in 2012, he brought Staly in, and they both immediately began corrupting the sheriff’s office. They look at people from the top down, like they are nothing but peasants. Manfre has fired MANY very beloved, and competent people, out of sheer ego. He has ruined lives.

    He says he is fair, but he picks favorites. He lets his secretary Pat Ruzzo and his wife Cornelia run the sheriff’s office and make decisions for everybody. Pat got her friends into jobs at the Sheriff’s Office and they just spread rumors and gossip among the organization. Manfre allows her to take 2-3 hour lunches, do her hair, go shopping, and go home whenever she wants; this is all done on taxpayer money.

    Cornelia comes to the Sheriff’s Office and like a queen, dictates where things should go and how it should look in the office. Nobody in the office is allowed to voice their opinion. EVERYBODY in the organization feels unsafe and is in a constant state of fear for their jobs.

    When we worked under Sheriff McCarthy and Sheriff Fleming, two great men who Manfre always bashes, we felt secure, loved, and like we were part of a family. Manfre has destroyed any semblance of team chemistry among the different departments. It is time for him to go.

  10. Observant says:

    How many of you complaining about Manfre will actually get out to vote and get him out. I know I will and I usually don’t vote for local officials. From what I’ve been reading and hearing, he’s the top dog in the Palm Coast gangster scene. Eliminating anyone who opposes him, like Stalin did, except without the executions, although lives might have been ruined for those who served our community.

  11. girl says:

    Insider – well said… I know there are many who feel like you do. Just afraid… time to stand up and do the right thing… we need our Sheriff Fleming back – he cared about his people and people of this county. Enough of this BS… time is coming….

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