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Sheriff Knocks Commissioner Flynt’s Towing Company Out of Wrecking Rotation Indefinitely

| August 16, 2010

Rotated out. (© FlaglerLive)

Responding to a withering State Attorney’s investigation of the Bunnell Police Department and chronic favoritism toward Saxon’s Wrecker in Bunnell, Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming Monday evening told FlaglerLive that  Saxon’s was no longer part of the wrecker rotation law enforcement agencies use in the county when vehicles have to be towed.

“I have suspended Saxon’s from the rotation,” Fleming said. Saxon’s is owned by James “Jimmy” Flint, a Bunnell City Commissioner who was also a focus of the investigation.  “He’s not on my rotation. That’s per legal counsel,”  Fleming said. Asked for how long Saxon’s would be suspended, Fleming said: “That’s indefinite. That could be forever.”

Bunnell Police Chief Arthur Jones called the sheriff’s decision a “crucial move” that speaks for all the local law enforcement agencies. “If one of them has been suspended from the rotation, that means they’re not to be used by any of the agencies. We’re committed to that rotation.”

Three companies were on the rotation: Saxon’s, Roger’s Towing, and John’s Towing. Each knows precisely when it is on call by the Sheriff’s Office, the Flagler Beach Police Department and the Bunnell Police Department, as calls for towers from all three must be routed through the sheriff’s Emergency Operations Center, which then dispatches wreckers where and when necessary. Calls are logged and assigned to a wrecker according to a strictly regulated schedule to ensure that wrecking business is spread equitably, without favoritism. That’s not how it was in Bunnell, where calls were being routed outside the rotation to Saxon’s directly, skipping the sheriff’s dispatcher. The only time that may happen by law is when a vehicle driver makes a so-called personal request for a wrecker of his or her own choice. Some Bunnell police officers were not giving drivers that choice–nor were they respecting the rotation, calling in Saxon’s instead.

It’s a lucrative business: the Bunnell Police Department was charging a $350 administrative fee for each towed vehicle (that fee has been scrapped for now). Towers charge towing fees and storage fees, which run into the hundreds of dollars, sometimes preventing vehicle owners from affording to pay to get their vehicle back. The investigation reveals that on some occasions, the fees Saxon’s was charging were so steep that owners abandoned their vehicles, enabling Saxon’s to sell them at auction.

A complaint by John’s Towing, followed by an altercation between Flynt and a business owner in Bunnell, led to the State Attorney’s four-month investigation. The investigation’s report was released last week and is available in full here. It details a pattern of favoritism by Bunnell police officers–particularly two officers who have since been fired and face felony charges–toward Flynt, who stood to benefit monetarily and significantly from having more wrecking calls. The report also reveals that Flynt was using the city’s public works dump sites for his private uses, dumping tires there without paying.

Fleming, who called the report “scathing,” said he was not interested in telling the Bunnell Police Department how to run, though he had conversations with Jones and Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez as a result of the investigation’s report.

“I never second-guess the sheriff. He’s our big brother,” Jones said. “I know that his decision is as sound, as good a decision as can be made.”

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15 Responses for “Sheriff Knocks Commissioner Flynt’s Towing Company Out of Wrecking Rotation Indefinitely”

  1. John Coffey says:

    So who other than the towing company was benefiting fron this scam? Sounds to me that the Police Officers must have been getting something for their efforts, someone in chage of the officers must hve benefited and someone in the City Government had to have gotten some form of kickback. A report is meaningless, some people need to loose their jobs and Go to Jail. Crooks working in Public Service positions need to be routed out and simply allowed to retire.

  2. Truth Traveler says:

    Hurray for the sheriff. Next step should be the resignation of Jimmy Flint as a Bunnell Commissioner.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good investigation work Flagler Live.

  4. Dorothea says:

    To John Coffey:

    You need to think very, very hard about who benefits the most by revealing this scam. Naive little Bunnell city crooks loaded the gun for bigger and more sophisticated crooks to take aim and fire. Just think about it. Who get the biggest bang out of this in the end?

    “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  5. Haw Creek Girl says:

    Hmmmm, I wonder if Jimmy Flynt is still saying, “I run this town” ?? Being kicked out of rotation is pretty much a death sentence for his business….

  6. elaygee says:

    All the employees, County, City and otherwise, need to have their bank accounts investigated for “unearned income”. Perhaps the IRS confidential reporting line could be called?

  7. Haw Creek Girl says:

    Suntrust filed suit against Jimmy Flynt for indebtedness according to today’s news of record…..what was he doing with all that extra money? Maybe he was purchasing his fellow commissioner–Jenny Crain Brady’s vices for her?!

  8. Itchey says:

    Has Mr. Flynt been charged with a criminal misconduct yet?
    It sure looks to me that he should be. There is the original battery case, Certanly Malfeaseance of office, and corruption if not out right theft.

  9. He should be charged (Flynnt) Just because he works for the city doesn’t make him any different from me–I put my pants on the same way he does, one leg at a time–

  10. Just wondering says:

    Are the only problems we have in the City/County who gets a wrecker call, and where a tire is disposed of?? We are really in good shape, find some real news. Small town politics are old news and very boring. Who did this guy make mad??? You would think he would hit the front page only when he did something?? What exactly did he do??

  11. starfyre says:

    he shall be forgiven

    then he can tow my lazy self around town

  12. FEDUP says:

    1- The taxpayers of bunnell need to go to the city commissioner’s meeting and call the news station before going and demand, on camera, to protect themselves from being falsely arrested by bunnell p.d., and demand Jimmy Flynt be taken off, as one of the police commissioners.
    2- City manager Martinez and Chief Jones HAVE to be investigated for their connection in the corruption and the taxpayers of bunnell have to rally together to make sure this gets done.
    3- The taxpayers of Bunnell are the ones who pay for all those tires Jimmy Flynt dropped off at the public works dept, to later be picked up and recycled. The city pays that fee. Who pays the taxes for that to be done. Taxpayers!!!
    4-I also know the only corrupt cops that have been terminated were the “Murrays”.
    5- Why did the chief of police and city manager allow the “Murrays” to work together. I thought that was against police depts. policys. All this needs to be looked into.

  13. FEDUP says:

    The citizens of bunnell have no idea how the chief of bunnell and martinez intimidated their officers and favored the Murray’s. If any officer tried to bring the corruption with the Murrays to the chiefs attention, they were delt with, HARSHLY. The officers that tried to speak out, were written up or terminated for anything the chief could come up with. The chief should tuck tail and run, because there is more to come out of this investigation.

  14. Joe says:

    Just wondering says:
    August 20, 2010 at 9:45 pm
    Are the only problems we have in the City/County who gets a wrecker call

    J.W. if you had just glanced at the report you wousee many people were victimized in the most cruelest way. People ere pulled over on pretext, their cars towed, no citation or arrest and were told to walk home. I only hope you never have to fork over $700.00 to retrieve your impounded car. Read the report and if your old enough it will remind you of the 1970s when police corruption was at its zenith.

    This was one hell of a thorough investigation and an equally well written report.

    The one thing that hasn’t been dealt with is the Chief of police. Where was he/she while this was going on? How could Maurray keep his office such disarray that he couldn’t find his ass with both hands? He maintained care, custody and control over secured evidence in his office — but yet when asked to produce he could only respond with. . . duh.

    Poplice corruption always brings up the “one rotten apple” defense, Bunk!!!

  15. Don says:

    To all the people that have no idea of what there talking about kinda funny how we are back on rotation no problem

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