Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents this morning served a search warrant at Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks’s office. Agents were there several hours today, and remain there as of 5 p.m. Friday.
“Our agents are still there. we’re still on scene,” an FDLE spokeswoman said at 5 p.m.
Weeks is now formally under investigation by the state police agency.
Earlier this week FDLE confirmed that it was looking into a complaint that Weeks had allegedly illegally recorded one or more conversations, and may have conducted canvassing board business outside of sunshine law requirements of open meetings. FDLE had not determined at the time whether the complaint warranted an upgrade to an investigation.
“It is a formal investigation,” the FDLE’s Samantha Andrews, a spokesperson, said this afternoon, confirming that Weeks had been served the search warrant. The FDLE could not describe the scope of the search warrant, though the very lengthy presence of FDLE agents at the supervisor’s Bunnell office suggests that it is broader rather than narrower, and may involve documents and hardware. WESH television’s Claire Metz reported from the scene that agents were “removing elections office equipment, including computers.”
Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks was apparently recording canvassing board meetings and, at times, conversations that were not taking place within the scope of meetings, with her cell phone. The recording of meetings is not illegal: they’re public meetings. But the recording of conversations outside the scope of meetings is a different matter.
The question becomes whether the participants in those conversations had an expectation of privacy or not. Since the conversation in question–between County Attorney Al Hadeed and County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen–took place at the supervisor’s conference room, where a canvassing board had just met, and had adjourned to a different part of the building, it’s not clear whether an expectation of privacy existed or not: public meeting places, public buildings and other such public areas are generally considered public, diminishing or eliminating the right to privacy.
The county did not initiate the complaint, County Administrator Craig Coffey said this afternoon. FDLE said it began to look into the matter when a News-Journal reporter made an inquiry to the State Attorney’s office. The State Attorney then forwarded the matter to FDLE. But the county is cooperating in the investigation.
“We’ve been asked for various things which we’ve provided to FDLE,” Coffey said. “Those are primarily emails and recordings and anything we have of any substance to their investigation.”
Coffey welcomed the independent eye on the supervisor’s methods, which have caused recurring and abrasive conflicts with the county administration and Palm Coast government over the past few months, with some issues still unresolved–and new issues of worry to the county on the horizon, such as a likely special election, immediately after the regular election, to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. John Thrasher, who’s been named president of Florida State University.
“Any time you have an issue of this magnitude I think it’s always important that an outside, independent third party looks into the matter to get to the bottom of it,” Coffey said, “because records requests, going back and forth in the media, you really aren’t going to resolve the issue that way.”
Weeks has taken to addressing county or city governments through statements in the media rather than by addressing city or county managers.
After weeks of delay, Weeks fulfilled the county’s requests for recent recordings of canvassing board meetings. But more requests are on the way. “We will be initiating some new requests, probably next week, related to some minutes, draft minutes and adopted minutes and similar issues,” Coffey said. Palm Coast had made similar requests.
You just can’t make this stuff up. It’s more entertaining than reality TV!!!
Ralph Belcher says
Egads. Well this in itself is not an indictment, but as the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Robert L. says
I am not familar with the responsibilities of a “Supervisor of Elections” or if this woman is experienced/capable of the job. What I do know is that every time I read an article pertaining to Ms. Weeks, it always appears to be negative towards her and her job actions. One negative is OK, two is break-even, three plus is enough. And enough of Ms. Weeks.
Wow! This is stunning.
So I guess the lesson is that sometimes when there is “controversy” about a person, it may be based upon something worth looking into, and not just a personal animus.
Derrick R. says
Suffice to say her personal lawyer will be handling this at the taxpayers expense.
Enter the Twighlight Zone says
An Issue of this magnitude? The local politicians who are stirring this pot behind the scenes have been very aware, for up to two years now, of someting a whole lot more sinister that has been happening to the citizens they have sworn to protect and serve in Palm Coast and Flagler County.
Judge Craig said the City of Palm Coast violated a citizen’s State and Federal constitutional right to due process. Why is that important? Click the link provide below to the Justice Department website to hear it in thier own words.
Code enforcement mislead the Code Enforcement Board members under oath that due process had been served and presented false documents under oath in the Feb. 2013 Code Enforcement Board meeting. Chariman Mugford and attorney Babb-Nutcher who looked to be representing both the City and the Board at different times against the citizen, played right along and perpetuated the violation of Mrs. Hendrickson’s rights in the subsequent May 2013 hearing.
Due process is a fundamenalt right of every U.S. citizen. Laws are intentionally written to describe the process that is due to be heard and defend each citizen’s rights in different situtaions. F.S. 162 clearly states citizens are to be given 30 days to respond to Certified Letters the City sends out (see below). The City Attorney and Code Enfocement decided 30 days was too much time, regardless of what the law clearly says, and sent them out 10 days in advance of Code Enforcement Board hearings for how knows how long. Due process, is in part, about giving people time they need to prepare a defense, not giving the City illegal maximum power and control over citizen’s property and constitutionla rights.
1. How many other people did not show up to a Code Enforcement Board hearing becuase they were out of town or were not home to receive their certified letter which the law states Code Enforcemnt is required to give them 30 days to respond. How long did Code Enforcement make it a practice to send them out only 10 days prior to Code Enforcement Board hearings? In the May 2013 Code Enforcement Board meeting, attorney Babb-Nutcher told Mr. Hendrickson she did not care if their family was not there to get the mail. Mr. Hendrickson was presenting evidence before the board that Mrs. Hendrickson had not been given the proper time to receive the notice. When Mr. Hendrickson kept pressing the matter of Mrs. Hendrickson’s right to due process, Chairman told him not to speak unless spoken to or he would have him removed from the building. Judge Craig took seriousissue with Mugford’s actions his decision. Woo was Mugford really helping? Was he being the impartial judge per-se he was placed in that position to act as or was he involved in an ex-parte conspiracy to violate a citizen’s rights in order to force the destruction of property the City had approved by the City Code Enforcement Department with the sale and purchase of the land to Mrs. Hendrickson? Was he helping Code Enforcement cover for their bungling of a land issue prior to Mrs. Hendrickson purchasing it or was Babb-Nutcher helping orchestrate the fraud with Code Enforcement?
Because Code Enforcement and the Code Enforcement Board have decided the violate the 30 day requirement for Certified Letters, how many other hundreds, if not thousands, of times have citizens not been given proper time to receive notice?
“Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”
2. How many times has Code Enforcement said under oath the citizens had been served proepr notice when thye had only been given 10 days instead of 30 to receive the notice and prepare?
3. How many times have they provided false/faudulent documentation that proper notice was served as they did in the Hendrickson 6 Cole Place issue?
Florida Statutes 843.0855 – Criminal actions under color of law or through use of simulated legal process:
(3) A person who simulates legal process, including, but not limited to, actions affecting title to real estate or personal property, indictments, subpoenas, warrants, injunctions, liens, orders, judgments, or any legal documents or proceedings, knowing or having reason to know the contents of any such documents or proceedings or the basis for any action to be fraudulent, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
F.S. 162.12 Notices.—
(1) All notices required by this part must be provided to the alleged violator by:
(a) Certified mail, and at the option of the local government return receipt requested, to the address listed in the tax collector’s office for tax notices or to the address listed in the county property appraiser’s database. The local government may also provide an additional notice to any other address it may find for the property owner. For property owned by a corporation, notices may be provided by certified mail to the registered agent of the corporation. If any notice sent by certified mail is not signed as received *****within 30 days***** after the postmarked date of mailing, notice may be provided by posting as described in subparagraphs (2)(b)1. and 2.; (***** added to original text)
Not if she is charged with a felony. For that matter the Governor should remove her pending the outcome of the investigation.
Bill Butler says
Removal from office until this possible commission of a felony by a seated election supervisor? Think? Of course this needs to be done. A police officer goes on admin leave if he fires his service weapon. Supervisors of elections are entrusted to ensure the people of their counties are granted their rights under the Constitution of The United States of America that do not follow the law and are being investigated for commission of a felony need to be immediately removed from their office and a temporary replacement by the Governor of the State of Florida should be done ASAP. There is just no other answer that fits.
Mrs. Weeks, welcome to politics… You will likely be charged now with a felony and you will attempt to utilize the money from your position to defend yourself. I think passionate people get things accomplished. I actually stood behind you on the City of Palm Coast issues as Landon is a loose canon (but apparently you are too).
I get the media (term used very loosely) likes to stir up non-issues, however, the picture that was being portrayed was a desperate person in search of power. People who are desperate for power generally do dumb things (look what Hitler did). I am not saying by any stretch of any imagination your Hitler, but a comparison to how the need for power fogged up his vision from right and wrong. When you get into the power zone you just don’t care because you feel like you’re above the law, and people will move out of the way. Well, the reality of it is, you’re messing with a judge and an attorney. Now, you find yourself on the business end of the law… Huh, wonder how that happpened? Coincidence? I think not!
Unless you have a big poster on the front door in Red and Black print with a foot high lettering claiming you record every conversation you have, and waivers signed by all parties you recorded you will not win this. The law is clear on this. The law has been around for a long time too.
Fed up with Weeks says
Well, it’s a start in the right direction.
Honestly, this is a disgrace for our county, any public official should be removed from office (no pay unless not charged) until the investigation is complete
Published In DBNJ today 10/0/14…
“In the recording made by Weeks, a copy of which was emailed to The News-Journal, Hadeed and Ericksen can be heard speaking in hushed tones about an incident that Hadeed said had happened before Weeks was first elected in 2008. Hadeed can be heard telling Ericksen that he once had to “caution” a former county commissioner for reading ballots.
“No, with a prior … county commissioner, I had to caution him, ’cause he was reading the (word deleted) ballots,” Hadeed says on the recording. “I said you cannot do that.”
While Hadeed and other county officials have claimed the recording of the private conversation without consent was illegal, Weeks and two government legal experts said there is no presumption of privacy at any public meeting.
Repeated attempts to contact Weeks for comment have been unsuccessful.
Hadeed said he would not comment publicly until the FDLE has completed it investigation”
As far is concerned us the voters, FCBOCC and Hadeed have to be investigated instead.
Has anyone thought about what was discussed in the recording — Hadeed talking about the former Commissioner possibly looking at ballots?
That can’t be legal? Why did they have access to ballots? No one is watching!
Even if the recording is a grey area shouldn’t this be investigated?