For almost eight years we’ve been subjected to the Kimberle Weeks follies. For six of those years she was the supervisor of elections, the most combative, distasteful, deceptive and ethically suspect elected official in the county. That’s saying a lot in a county that hasn’t lacked for politicians with the integrity of a plunger.
Since she resigned we’ve been spectators to a different sort of follies: the state’s 12-felony case against her for supposedly illegally recording or transmitting conversations. That case is now down to nine counts.
I’m not so sure there should be more than one, at most two. Because as unpleasant a human being as Weeks may have been, that’s no cause for a largely bogus case. I say this as one of the people who was recorded: I was in an extensive off-the-record conversation with Judge Melissa Moore-Stens after a canvassing board meeting, which she chaired. Neither the judge nor I knew that Weeks was recording us.
I don’t remember what the judge and I were talking about. It was nothing juicy. I usually hit judges up—when they’re available–for a bit of intelligent conversation as an antidote to the mind-numbing stupor of public meetings. After any meeting featuring Weeks, a bit of conversation with the judge was like intellectual smelling salts to prevent a concussion. What’s relevant about Weeks recording us is that she did so in the general context of a public meeting, in a public building. That the meeting had actually adjourned is irrelevant. We were still in the common areas of a public building, where we have no expectation of privacy. If, for example, a cop’s body camera was recording the scene in passing, anyone would have had the right to that footage under the state’s public record law, which always errs in favor of openness, not secrecy (at least it should). Weeks was wrong to record us. But she did not break the law.
The whole case against Weeks started over the recording she made of County Attorney Al Hadeed and County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen. Both claimed they were in a private conversation while the canvassing board meeting they were attending had adjourned to an adjoining part of the supervisor’s office. That they were in a private conversation is not in question. But that Weeks had no right to record them begs disbelief. The canvassing board meeting was still in session. While it would have been ethically unacceptable (but not illegal), anyone could have left a recording device in the board room instead of taking it to the adjoining room. If Weeks is to be punished for that recording, then the open-meetings law, where anything may be recorded, would be upended over subjective, hair-splitting boundaries no court should allow, because no public official should be authorized to arbitrate those boundaries.
That’s without considering the sign at the entrance to the supervisor’s office, warning that anything inside may be recorded, meeting or no meeting, though in a public building even that sign is superfluous. (Of course, signs meant nothing to Weeks: a prominent sign at the Government Services Building where Weeks worked also forbade weapons. That didn’t stop Weeks from packing her .38-caliber inside.)
The state attorney went so far as to slap three felony charges on Weeks for sending the Hadeed-Ericksen recording she’d played at a public meeting to two media outlets and a third party. The state attorney claimed that not only was the playing of that recording at a public meeting illegal, but so was sending it subsequently. Of course a judge was right to throw out those charges. The prosecution was seeking to implode the state’s open-meetings law by carving out an exception to documents introduced at meetings. It failed, as much of the rest of its case should fail, with perhaps two exceptions: Weeks’s recording of the secretary of state, after he explicitly told her not to do it, and her phone recording of Palm Coast’s city clerk, who had no idea. That’s straight-out illegal and should be prosecuted. (There’s also a couple of charges over sordid recordings Weeks made in her private life, one of them involving the funeral director handling a family matter, but even those seem like a stretch in the age of epidemic social media surveillance.)
The state probably knew this all along. And threw a vat of spaghetti counts at Weeks in hopes of one or two sticking, probably in a plea, with ultimately a bit of probation rather than prison time. That will probably be the final outcome. Meanwhile, they’re all wasting us a lot of money, time and patience.
There may have been a larger case against Weeks. A person of her wiles and shades should have never been in charge of an office that depends on transparency and trust. The elections she ran are suspect. But that’s not the case the state went after. Weeks is gone and is not coming back. The open-meetings and open-government laws are not going anywhere. Let’s not risk damaging those to get back at an undearly departed folly.
Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.
Concerned Citizen says
It seems we sadly live in a country of I don’t care anymore and the laws don’t apply towards me because I hold office syndrome. It has become routinely acceptable for politicians to break the law and then sometimes go as far as boast about it. Saddening really and one reason why I have lost a lot of interest in politics over the years.
On the grander scale we have Trump and his cons and schemes and hate filled rhetoric. Then we have Hillary Clinton who is as guilty as the day is long for at the very least mishandling classified information. Yet played dumb and and skated thru a rigged FBI investigation and came out cleaner than Dove Soap. I’m sorry you don’t get security clearances especially TS or SCI without a whole lot of briefings and a long list of don’t before getting it. Well hopefully that is true. I will purposely vote independent this year to ensure my vote does not help either one of these succeed. Not that it matters due to a rigged electoral voting system.
In this county we have a Sheriff who constantly breaks the laws and even has charges brought up against him yet still tries to re-run instead of doing the honorable thing and resign. No surprise that an Elections Supervisor would feel the need to uphold the law right?
Thru all these scenarios you might be asking who is at fault? Well for one of course the law breaking office holders are. We don’t have accountability in this society anymore. We like to pawn the blame off on someone else. He/She made me do it or if it’s OK for them to do it why not me?? No one ponies up and says yes I broke the law of course.
The answer to who is at fault for allowing this behavior astonishingly lies with we the people. Now before you get up in arms I say this because we hold the great responsibility of electing these people into office. We have re-elected the same people over again and have gotten the same results. Any surprise? Isn’t there a saying that goes insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results?
Fellow citizens of Flagler County I have said it before and will say it again. It is way past time for a change. Don’t sit idly by at election time and don’t re-elect incumbents who keep feeding you the same dish over and over. Yes vote your conscience but let’s make a change!! We need an overhaul in the worst sense in this county. It won’t happen until we start voting responsibly.
Agreed we should spend our times decimating every hate group popping up in this country. It is defined as follows: (Terrorism) the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. All of these groups and movement organizers should be prosecuted and held accountable for the murders of police across the nation.
Brad W says
In all honesty, I don’t think she wants a plea. I truly think she wants to go to trial with some crazy thought that she will be able to “expose” all the things in her “Binder of Secrets”.
One of the great things about democracy is that anyone can be elected. One of the worst things about democracy is that anyone can be elected. Kim Weeks should have never been elected. And if we had any news coverage in 2008 (which we had none) I highly doubt she would have been. Instead with the help of Kim Medley (current candidate for Supervisor of Elections) and her use of anonymous online identities we got stuck for 6 years with one of the most horrendous public officials Flagler County has ever seen and are continuing to pay for her antics. So each time you hear Kim Medley bad mouth Kim Weeks and what she did in that Office, you should remind her that it was her who helped put her there in the first place.
It wasn’t that long ago Ms Weeks was recognized by the state for being one of the most efficient SOEs in Florida. Most of her problems came from the obstructionists in county government: a bunch of weak men uncomfortable with a strong woman. Remember the parking flap? All she wanted to do was have more parking so seniors and the disabled could have better access to the polls. Add to that the bunch of pinheads who malign not only her but her hard working and decent family,and the hang ’em high mentality kicks in. Bottom line,we lost a hard working public servant.
Gail B says
Well said, Concerned Citizen.
But, please, do not waste your vote on an independent who has no chance of being selected.
Weeks was the best SOE Flagler County ever had. She was very transparent and because of that she ruffled feathers when she exposed corruption. She was charged to hide the crime that was whispered about. LD.Ablo couldn’t have said it any better.
Gun Owner says
Weeks did not break the law by possessing a fire arm because she didn’t work in the courthouse. Anyone with a concealed weapons permit is required to know the Florida Statutes on this topic. After reading this story, it appears someone hasn’t to wrongly accuse her for illegally possessing a firearm at work and for Sunshine Law violations of recording public meetings, because both are LEGAL.
(12)(a) A license issued under this section does not authorize any person to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into:
1. Any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05;
2. Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station;
3. Any detention facility, prison, or jail;
4. Any courthouse;
5. Any courtroom, except that nothing in this section would preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in his or her courtroom;
6. Any polling place;
7. Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district;
8. Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof;
9. Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms;
10. Any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building;
11. Any career center;
12. Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose;
13. Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile;
14. The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft; or
15. Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.
(b) A person licensed under this section shall not be prohibited from carrying or storing a firearm in a vehicle for lawful purposes.
(c) This section does not modify the terms or conditions of s. 790.251(7).
(d) Any person who knowingly and willfully violates any provision of this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Come on, as your piece points out ,this lady is a foul ball. Good riddance. 12 counts 1 count the most important thing is she that she is out. Also, 12 counts or one count the worst that will happen to her is a slap on the wrist, which is appropriate
Concerned Citizen says
@ Gail B.
You suggest I not waste my vote on someone who does have a chance in winning. However I refuse to support either Trump or Clinton on the sole basis of lesser than 2 evils. It’s that mentality right there that keeps us in the mess we are in.
I do not believe that Trump is what this country needs right now. He spews a lot of hate and we need healing. His dishonesty is coming out to the point that even his own party won’t support him and is trying to throw his nomination.
With Clinton her and her husband are so dirty it’s frightening. I hold her personally responsible for Benghazi, As Secretary of State she had Intel on what was happening and failed to safeguard State Department Personnel and an Ambassador that trusted her. That cost their unnecessary deaths and the deaths of U.S Navy Seals who weren’t able to properly protect their assets.
Then she constantly mishandled TS/SCI material and lied her way thru a rigged FBI/State Department investigation. Not even touching the money issues out there. I am all for a Woman President but I do not believe Hillary Clinton is the right candidate.
I refuse to let my vote help either one of these candidates get into office. If we all have the mentality of an Independent can’t have a chance then that is why we keep going thru the same rehash of Major Party Candidates.
I also believe that if you aren’t out there voting and trying to make a difference you don’t have much of a right to gripe about what’s going on in the political world. That’s just my opinion though and doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things.
Once again let’s get out there and vote and make some changes !! :)
WISHFUL THINKING says
Now honestly… who is more tarnished – Corinne Brown or Kimberly Weeks? Brown will probably get probation and will never spend a day in the slammer and might even be re-elected. Our government – county-state – federal are all going nuts !
Only in Flagler County says
This just goes to show how corrupt this county is and how they will go after someone when that someone goes against them or exposes what they don’t want exposed.