During a traffic stop he was involved in on May 11 on Belle Terre Parkway in Palm Coast, Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins–who was in the passenger seat–almost immediately invoked his own name while addressing a sheriff’s deputy, and moments later invoked that of Sheriff Rick Staly while explaining why the woman at the wheel had been going 63 in a 45.
It’s not clear if Mullins was hoping to gain favor from Sgt. Scott Vedder, a veteran Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy. But three years ago, Mullins tried exactly that, according to the sheriff. Mullins asked Sheriff Rick Staly to fix a ticket for him–a speeding ticket Mullins got in St. Johns County. The sheriff immediately refused to extend him that kind of favor.
“He didn’t ask for one for this stop,” Staly said in an interview this afternoon, referring to the May 11 stop. “Has he ever reached out to me before? And the answer to that is yes. He was not a county commissioner at the time. But he was pulled over apparently by a St. Johns County deputy for speeding, and he called me.” Mullins at the time was living in Flagler Beach and would later run for the county commission on a platform of ethical conduct and relentless criticism for politics as usual even as he battled issues of his own regarding his honesty or allegations of lurid personal conduct that have not stopped.
At the time of Mullins’s speeding ticket in St. Johns County, Staly had been elected just weeks earlier. Mullins, Staly recalled, asked him if he knew St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar. Staly and Shoar have known each other many years.
“He wanted to know if I’d call the St. Johns County sheriff because he’d been pulled over by one of his deputies,” Staly said, his voice at this point a bit indignant at the memory. “I told him absolutely not, this is Florida, and we don’t do these kinds of things, at least not with me. So I never called Sheriff Shoar. He’s a personal friend–I talked to him today–and I don’t know what happened with that ticket.” Mullins did not respond to an email with a list of questions about that call or the May 11 traffic stop before this article initially published.
St. Johns County court records indicate that Mullins was ticketed the evening of New Year’s Eve on State Road A1A. It’s not clear at what point he contacted the sheriff. In February, he also contacted Clerk of Court Tom Bexley, after failing to meet a court deadline and risking a suspension of his license.
According to an email Bexley wrote Michelle Cosmato, director of the St. Johns Clerk of Court’s traffic division, Mullins had “written a letter to the hearing officer/judge requesting no points be assessed” to his license. “He is beyond 30 days, but has not been suspended. Will you please submit this letter to the court asap in the hopes this issue can be addressed before a suspension? Of course he is more than willing to pay in full. Please give me a heads up when the hearing officer has rendered his/her decision.”
Cosmato wrote back, saying Mullins had to pay a late fee and fill out a document to “stop the suspension process,” which was days away. Mullins then wrote out the required form, saying he got the ticket while “traveling during that time for work back to Georgia,” and would do his “best efforts not [to] have another issue here.” He asked the judge to withhold adjudication. The next day he entered a no contest plea, then paid the $206 ticket he’d hoped Staly had fixed. The judge withheld adjudication.
The morning of May 11, Mullins was a passenger in a 2019 Audi driven by Cari-Anne Quintanilla-Aurich, a 40-year-old resident of Windermere, the upscale suburb of Orlando.
The Audi was pulled over at 8:43 a.m. as it was heading north, near St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church. As soon after Vedder walked up to the driver’s side window and told the woman she was doing 63 in a 45, Mullins leans forward and waves to the deputy.
As the deputy asks the woman for her license, registration and proof of insurance, Mullins intervenes. “Hey, she was trying to get me–I’m Joe Mullins–she was trying to get me to the dentist,” Mullins says, leaning in again.
“Yes sir,” Vedder tells him. Mullins refers to an emergency.
“Yes sir. You were doing 63 in a 45 though,” Vedder tells both the driver and Mullins.
“I thought it was a 55,” the woman says. Mullins tells Vedder the woman is from Orlando.
After processing the paperwork, Vedder returns to the Audi’s driver’s side. “I’m just going to issue a warning today,” Vedder tells the woman. “One of the reasons I’m going to do that is a car was right next to you, you were both doing the same speed, I have to pick a car to stop.” The woman’s driving history was “clean,” Vedder said.
He gave her back her papers and the warning and had completed the stop, telling the woman to drive carefully, when Mullins intervened again.
“What’s your name?” Mullins asked the deputy. Vedder tells him. Mullins then tells Vedder again that he was “pushing her” to get him to his destination.
“I got you. I got a job to do, so just watch your speed,” Vedder says, “all right?”
“No, no, no, that’s fine, thank you for doing that,” Mullins says. “I was just going to let–I’ve got to see Rick a little later.” He was referring to Rick Staly.
Vedder tells them to “have a good day,” and returns to his patrol.
Mullins did not have a meeting with the sheriff later that day, Staly said.
“There was no meeting scheduled with me at all, I have no clue why he would say that,” Staly said today. Nor did Mullins and Staly run into each other or go to an event where both were present that day. But Mullins did call the sheriff. “He called me that day wanting to know who my bike people were,” Staly said.
Staly asked him why. According to Staly, Mullins then told him he was an Uber passenger in a car, going to the dentist, and that he wanted to commend the deputy’s professionalism during the traffic stop.
“I told him the supervisor is Cmdr. Gerry Ditolla. Whether or not he reached out to him, I don’t know,” the sheriff said.
Staly had reviewed the body cam video and spoken with Vedder about it. He requires his deputies to only inform him when a public official is involved in such things as traffic stop, only so that he’s aware, but directs them to handle the stops as they would any other.
“Sgt. Vedder did tell me that he didn’t see any indication that the vehicle had an Uber sign or sticker like they usually do, and no one told him that during the traffic stop,” Staly said. It’s not clear why an Uber driver would be operating more than 90 miles from her home. (She and her husband bought a $612,000 house in Windermere less than 18 months ago.)
The sheriff had taken note of Mullins invoking both his–Mullins’s–name immediately after the traffic stop interaction began, then Staly’s name.
“I don’t think that’s what any elected official should do,” the sheriff said. “But I can tell you that my guys tell me that people tell them they know me all the time when they get pulled over at traffic stops. I’m a very active sheriff, I’m out in the community, I meet people, I suspect they think that will help them when it’s really to the discretion of the deputy. And to my knowledge it doesn’t help them.”
The pile just keeps getting deeper on this guy what a joke
Do as I SAY not as I DO! Hypocrite!
CB from PC says
Joe…please go away. You are an embarrassment to the Republican
Party. Consider some other options where dumb shit like thus is ignored.
Keep Flagler Beautiful says
What does it take to get rid of this guy? He’s a moral bankrupt. Just wondering if he was en route to his actual residence in Georgia or on his way back to Flagler from his actual home in Georgia when this stop occurred. We have such a need for responsible commissioners. Can’t wait to see this one go.
Willy Boy says
A recall. – My experience of ten years in a Georgia Mountain town, was the locals would go out of their way to use the “good-ole boy” network rather than normal channels. It seemed to be a matter of pride of “who they knew”.
Vincent Lyon says
Staley was elected on his background of ethical professional behavior. Good to see he’s living up to that.
James Manfre says
With his forty years of law enforcement experience, Staly should have known he had a duty to report the solicitation by Mullins to the State Attorney’s Office for an investigation.
And all car accidents in police vehicles should be reported.
Gary R says
Is this the same Sheriff Manfre who become embroiled in his own ethics controversy in 2015? After a trial before an Administrative Law judge and recommendations by the Florida Commission on Ethics, Sheriff Manfre was publicly censured and reprimanded by Florida Governor Rick Scott and ordered to pay a $6,200 fine.
Haw Creek Girl says
With your 60 years experience of reading the English language, your comprehension level should be high enough to know that said solicitation of the Sheriff was prior to Mullins being elected….so, therefore the SAO would not be interested in investigating…..clearly your case of sour grapes is clouding up your thought processes.
Michael Van Buren says
Manfre is a tool. You just can’t fix his issues. I only hope he moves away never to be seen or heard from again
Haw Creek Girl says
You’re right, my friend, but he can’t keep his piehole shut and we know that…so it’s fun to laugh at his obvious lack of comprehension. Considering he is a lawyer, we have to assume that his comprehension is good so watching him drink from the cup of sour grapes is our reward.
Michael Van Buren says
Wow! Since when are you interested in Ethics Little Jimmy? 😜
Just saying again says
So I wonder why our boy Joe has this beautiful blonde driving him to the “dentist,” where is his family. I am sorry but this guy constantly puts himself in precarious situations. As much as I would like to think that he has our best interests in mind I can’t help but feel that this is the furthest from the truth. I have seen him out in the public numerous times away from political situations and I do not like the way he presents himself.
Not ever meeting Joe Mullins or knowing him personally I’ll limit what I have to say. Publicly this dude has some serious character issues. On the other hand, I’m not mad at him. I don’t agree with favors and breaks for some while others are left to flounder. Unfortunately, this is the American way. Donald Trump is the perfect example. He was touted and lorded as “The Businessman that knows how to make money”! Crude and crooked is viewed as shrewd. (in their world.)
Big bank accounts and who you rub shoulders with is supposed to compensate for the rest of the failings we’re witness to. However, I’m not going to hate on Joe Mullins. I wouldn’t do it or expect it, but I’m not a single, rich white guy living HIS “American Dream” either. So, don’t be mad at him he’s just doing what American culture has taught him.
Mike Cocchiola says
This is insane! Mullins was stopped in a speeding car driven by a much younger woman and he invokes Sheriff Staly’s name. Then it turns out that he did the same thing in 2017. At that time Sheriff Staly did not intervene as Mullins requested, but neither did he report an attempt to influence him as perhaps he should have. That in itself should be looked into.
Then, after Mullins invoked Staly’s name, he reported to the deputy that he was being rushed to a dental appointment by the Uber driver. A fracking UBER DRIVER in an Audi who with her husband owns a $612,000 home 90 miles away. That’s his story! An Uber driver in an Audi! I’m pretty sure I could have come up with something better on my stupidest day.
This, my fellow citizens, is the morally-challenged loudmouth Trump mini-me that sits on our Board of County Commissioners.
Why must you somehow manage to inject the presidents name in this?
Just a lack of maturity. Both sides do it and the adults on both sides cant stand it.
Nancy N. says
It’s pretty much impossible to think of Mullins without thinking of Trump since the MAGA hat is surgically attached to his head and every other word out of his mouth is kissing Trump’s rear.
I am not surprised, the mini Trump seems to be as corrupt and clueless as his idol.
Percy's mother says
You know, we’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.
The whole world has been shut down going on 2 months.
Millions (20 million plus) out of work just in this country.
Businesses shuttered or about to be shuttered (for good).
People nearing retirement have lost value in their retirement accounts.
No one is working.
Many can’t afford to meet their financial responsibilities and/or can’t afford to feed their families.
So big deal. Mr. Mullins invoked Sheriff Staly’s name in an effort to get out of a traffic ticket (in 2017 and last week).
In the whole scheme of things, this is really very benign (in my opinion).
People invoke other people’s names all the time in an effort to help themselves. That’s the way things work in life. Sometimes invoking someone’s name helps and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, and in the case mentioned in 2017, invoking Sheriff Staly’s name didn’t help Mr. Mullins.
Roy Longo says
It didn’t help in either case but the fact remains he tried. What ever horrible things are going on in the world doesn’t mean it’s ok for an elected official to try to use influence to get out of wrong doing. Joe Mullins is an amoral person who was trying to use his status to get out of a ticket. Twice. He needs to go back move back to Georgia
Well, you know, you can make good money driving an Uber, in an Audi. Not sure if you can make enough to spend 600 K on a house AND buy an Audi, but hey, what do I know? Maybe her HUSBAND helps her out!
Swell, one of our elected officials is busy getting tickets and asking that they are excused. And Surprise, it’s Joe Mullins. We were warned about this guy. Too bad nobody listened.
Name (required) says
Lol. I love reading about our local celebrity diva, Lindsay Loha.. er, Joe Mullins. What a pile of liability. This guy is an eccentric crazy person, and Fits right in actually, but it simply doesn’t work whilst in a position of authority. I guess money does buy elections for morally un-righteous people. Hmm. Who’d have thought it could happen so close to home. Wow.
Maybe her husband does all the driving? That would explain the clean traffic record. 😁
I dunno, just me, but the officer said there was another vehicle next to her’s at 63 mph. The video at the point where the officer pulled out, the officer passes another SUV class vehicle, further ahead & down the road her Audi is the vehicle in the left lane. I mean see for yourself, in the first 35 seconds of the video, shows that the woman changed lanes even to be pulled over after the officer caught up to her. It’s not uncommon for a car going 63 in a 45 zone to momentarily pull alongside a slower moving vehicle. The officer can pull over 2 vehicles and issue citations if both were speeding, it’s not a choice of one or the other beyond instructing which one is first to be pulled over and remains there until it’s their turn to be served. The officer did one of several things here. Gave her a break for knowing Joe Mullins, or let her off the hook for an 18 mph over the speed limit citation due to several factors. I mean even 63 when she thought it was 55 mph zone, 8 mph over is pushing it during periods when law enforcement is cracking down on speeding violations. Just me, but should anyone be more than 5 mph over the speed limit when you know the car you drive is calibrated to indicate you are 3-4 mph slower as actual speed than what the speedometer indicates ? Was this a case of name dropping ultimately and privilege ? I think there is significant evidence from the story and video to say that it was a little of both, her clean record & the name dropping. Next time one gets pulled over the secret codes are to say you are on your way to the dentist, that you are an elected official and that you know the sheriff ? If your driving record is clean, you should get a warning at worst.
Palm Coast Resident says
Should we be concerned in any way that this one particular commissioner has become the focal point for all of our county? I noticed on social media that he is highly vocal and very visible. He has a radio show, asocial medial presence, and he is constantly in the news. His presence, by default, gives him a light of being the action-taker, but what about Commissioner Ericksen Jr.? Commissioner Hansen? Commissioner Sullivan or Commissioner O’Brien Jr.? What about the county administrator, Jerry Cameron?
The way he responds to citizens can be rather shocking. They aren’t elected officials, and yet he criticizes their vocations, their families, their businesses. He asks people to block individuals and businesses, all because they stir the pot. Citizens get passionate and say weird things, but he doesn’t re-focus back on the issues. Instead, he facilitates a dampening of community-level discourse, and creates a black-hole where citizens are focusing their attention squarely at him–either in shear admiration or absolute disgust. He’s not the only commissioner and it’s alarming that he’s created such adversity in the community. He blames partisan politics, blaming the very political divisiveness that he uses, yet the other conservative commissioners do not seem to receive such partisan criticism.
I would like to hear more about these other commissioners. Perhaps we need more knowledge of our city and county government operates so we can effectively engage (or even disengage) to really have a meaningful impact on our own governance.
Mr. Deeds says
Why was someone from Windemere driving him to the dentist in Palm Coast? An UBER driver from Windemere? Come on Lyning Joe you can make up better stories than that.
Not a good Commissioner, not even a good liar. God help us.
Trailer Bob says
When you are an elected official, elected by the people, you are expected to have a higher standard than the general public, not a lower one. You are representing the people, not yourself.
And no, there are no freebies just because you were elected.
When I was a city councilor in Connecticut, I felt that I had to be more responsible for my actions, not less responsible.
But that is just the way I was brought up.
Slick Willie says
Can I get that Uber drivers name and number…..Ah, just in case I need a ride to the dentist !
Flying bird says
I want her name and # just Incase I want a ride……
Old Joe should be let go. Its that simple. Do your job Commissioners, FIRE HIM
I looked into this and only the Governor may remove a sitting Commissioner. Hey, it’s Florida. That certainly should not surprise you.
You’ll need to contact Governor Ron DeSantis directly with your complaints. Until then, we are stuck with this mess.
What a disgrace this Mullins guy is.
The State Governor should remove this individual from office immediately.
Looks like he has a Trump complex.
Total BS. going almost TWENTY MPH over the speed limit and NOTHING. IMO there should be speed patrols on that road all the time nail ANYONE going more then 5 MPH over the limit.
Honest Truth says
Once again I am going to ask when will Flagler County Commissioners going to get rid of this little man that thinks he is larger than life? He is a total disgrace to Flagler County. As others we would be honored to have him go back to Georgia where he came from, unless they don’t want him there either.
Lester M. says
I am politically neither for or against Mr. Mullins. Reading this article I am left wondering why this was written or published. As a reader I seek news, either news that informs or entertains me, this does neither. When a person is stopped by a deputy it can be a bit scary, if I were Mr. Mullins I would’ve identified myself too. This lets the deputy know that he is dealing with an elected official, not someone that would probably be a threat. The report does not mention that Mr. Mullins broke any law during the May 11 stop and was not questioned or arrested, but I did notice that Mr Mullins mentioned the Sheriff AFTER he learned that the driver was only being given a warning, at no point did he ask for special treatment. As for who was driving him and why, that’s not my business or yours, if he wants to hire a driver, male or female that is between him and the driver. This was nothing more than a traffic stop that resulted in a warning, not newsworthy whatsoever.
Nancy N. says
Do you really think there are a lot of Uber drivers running around Palm Coast that drive Audis and live in $600,000 houses in Windermere, over 1.5 hours away? Come on…that doesn’t even pass the laugh test.
And yes, it is the public’s business. Joe Mullins is an elected official whose ethics and conduct are therefore of concern to the public. The public has the right to know if they can trust their elected representatives to conduct themselves in a trustworthy manner.
uber isn’t the only escort he’s used to
Robert Glen says
But you still vote for him…smh…
THE GAY RANCHER says
AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH deep breath AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Honest Truth says
Lester M. this article was written because it is public information. And that you Pierre for writing it and proving to us or didn’t nor will ever again vote for a loser.
I am asking once again that the Flagler County Commissioners do their jobs that you were elected to do and get rid of this character once and for all before we read about more drama he creates.
Charles F. Ericksen, Jr says
You are confused, the Flagler Count Commissioners have NO control or authority, over who is elected or fired,, That is your responsibility, as a VOTER,, You elected him, you fire him, as you want
Just expect “Hoodwink“ Joe to downplay situation and play victim. It’s reassuring we have a Sheriff and Deputies that do not Play into the GA “good O’l boy” system Joe is accustomed to. Joe is used to Columbia and Richmond County GA Sheriff’s letting him and his ,Soon to be Ex-wife, go from traffic infractions.
He is not only representing FC but he also forgets he represents Florida as a whole. DeSantis needs to know this man is not following FL values and he is embarrassing the County and State. Two more years won’t cut it with this man in Office. He is a loose cannon with access to sensitive Public information and dividing the County.
I hope more people come out about this man. He has a reputation for “suing “ Anyone who holds him accountable. Hopeful this story will shed light that it’s safe for people to speak out about his shenanigans and not worry he will retaliate.
Joe- Accept your not a good fit for the task and move in. Go Clean Trumps Toilets!
Why is Mullins in the front seat in an “Uber” car??? That never happens. Single riders are always in the back seat….
Unless it is NOT an “Uber” car but “something “ else!!!
People who think that there’s a problem with what happened on this video in the traffic stopped are the same type of people do you think that President Trump should have been impeached and removed from office.the deputy in this road stop conducted himself with the utmost professionalism commissioner Mullins did not demand any special treatment or even suggest special treatment and the sheriff has responded in the proper way he should .it’s no big deal . My opinion so what it’s a non-issue.
Jay Kosack says
Mostly negative comments on a simple matter. Let me ask, how many of you would try, or have tried, to get out of a traffic summons? With all these negative comments no one mentioned the numerous violations committed while watching this video. No One!!! The violation: Not moving a vehicle to the left, out of the adjacent traffic lane, next to a police vehicle when a police vehicle is stopped on the shoulder of the road, especially with his warning lights flashing! That is certainly more dangerous than what the speeding violation was. Oh yes, criticizing, Joe Mullins, with all these reply’s is something to complain about. Really important! You don’t like him, run for office! Backstabbing is not the way to solve issues. Actually, this was not an issue and the Sergeant addressed it professionally and correctly. All the negative reply’s were trying to make this an issue. Keep up th Ed good work, Joe! 😉👍
Blame then deflect . . . This citation deals only with the operator of the auto. Joe’s comments are extraneous to the issue.
His comments though somewhat contradictory to the situation adds/subtracts from his already nefarious profession character and as a Flagler County elected official.
VOTE next time . . . and vote often!
Gary R says
@Jay Kosack – Not moving a vehicle to the left? You never move the vehicle to the left! If a police car is following you with its siren blaring or emergency lights flashing, pull over to the right quickly (but safely) and come to a complete stop in a safe place. Both the white SUV and police motorcycle were to the far right, in fact they were in a right turn only lane. Very safe stop. Google Police Stops: What to Do If You Are Pulled Over.
Jay Losack says
Don’t know what you saw in the video but it’s nothing what the video shows. The police officer was stopped with the vehicle in question on the shoulder of the road, next to the right traffic lane. Again, when a police vehicle (emergency lights on or not) is stopped on the shoulder of the road cars driving by are required to move to the left lane, period! It’s clearly stated in the traffic laws. Many vehicles did not do this! The video clearly shows this. For clarification look up the law, ask a police officer or go to the Sheriffs office for an explanation.
Little Bit Kinder says
GARY, I think you haven’t either read or possibly just misunderstood what JAY was trying to convey about the infraction in which he was speaking. Read it again and possibly offer an apology. His point was important.
If you are unable to move over because the lane is occupied, or there is no other lane available, you must slow down to 20 MPH blow the speed limit. This also applies to tow trucks, sanitation trucks, and utility vehicles. It’s obvious very few know anything about driving here in Florida, so here is a detailed description of the law:
To use coercion, is not what this commissioner was voted by the constituents of Flagler County. Is enough that coercion and pay back runs rampant with POTUS in the WH. Do we want it here also? When are the other four county commissioners going to lete go of Mullins or ask the De Santis to do it for them? Maybe Sheriff Staly should present a complaint to the State Attorney’s office over coercion as his intention was to pay back to our honest Sargent Vedder. Kudos to our traffic unit.
The county commissioners intend to send our former honest SOE Kimberle Weeks to jail for 18 months and tens of thousands in fines for much less than this just “being a whistle blower” but do boot Mullins? Well, election time is coming soon.
Boy….. this is getting to be more fun than when our friend Kimmy Weeks was in the news…..
Send this loser back to Georgia…. ASAP
David S. says
Another Trump wanta be……..
How did the traffic criminal charges get dropped in 2019 against Mullins (Case 2019-CT 000539)? The State Attorney should be doing some explaining. Was the officer who issued the citation a LIAR? Another cover up, I would bed. When one is a gaslighter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbVPcPL30xc they do just as Mullins does….just sayin. Mullins reputation from GA is proving to be true his short time residing in Flagler County. This man needs to be removed from office. How I see it, he lied to the COP saying he had a meeting with Staly lined up that afternoon and he has broken the public’s trust. Does he really think anyone gives a crap that he is Joe Mullins? I would be embarrassed to throw that name out there if I were him.
This is the same guy that posts on Airbnb and uses the name JEFF. Everywhere you turn, there are lies!
SASHAY AWAY says
FISCAL CAL: YEP! AND ALSO at the most recent BOCC meeting they knew how to vote for the opening of the Airbnb’s PRETTY QUICKLY, which many officials here own to supplement their incomes, they bought these places cheap, in fact there were a bunch of questions asked by a resident on how these Airbnb’s are going to be managed and who is going to oversee social distancing guidelines, once again no answers from them! They are all in favor to lining their pockets while keeping parking spaces near Flagler Beach closed off , and why was there no relief for the residents in this county on their utility bills during this pandemic while in many states across the United States city residents are given relief and extensions paying their utility bills! All while this mayor extols how great Palm Coast is to live in! SUPPORT THE TAX PAYING RESIDENTS ALREADY! We have lost our businesses and much more!
This continues to prove, Mullins is bad for Flagler County.
Joe Mullins, is a disgrace to the citizens of Flagler County.