Thursday, July 5, 2012

Needelman: Ellis' "Complicated" Requests Delayed Release of Clerk Documents, BlueWare Contracts

                                     PHOTO: Brevard Times / File


BREVARD COUNTY, Florida - Last week, Brevard County Clerk of Courts Mitch Needelman  announced the award of a five-year, $8.52 million contract with BlueGem, LLC for digitizing of all past, current, and future Clerk’s office records, including many that are currently stored in a former gymnasium in Titusville.  The release of the contract to the media has raised new questions from Scott Ellis, Needelman’s opponent in this year’s primary race.
Ellis had requested a copy of the contract in late May through a public records request.  However, news outlets were given copies before Ellis.  Some have questioned Needelman’s motives about this release.
Needelman says that it is partially timing and partially Ellis’ fault since he issues requests in a complicated way. 
“The reason Scott did not receive his request back in May was because it was made during contract negotiations, which is protected under statute until completed.  The contract was signed on 06/29/12 and that is the date we released the information.  Scott was notified that his request was ready and of his costs on 07/02/12.  He didn't pay and pick up until the 3rd.”
“Because his real purpose is not to gather information, but to set up failure if possible, his requests are always multi-layered and complicated.  His hope is that something will be missed, left out, or simply not accessible without a great deal of time-consuming research on the part of my staff.  It feels like he has made a request every other day since I took office.
“After repeated accusations that what he receives is “not right” I have finally implemented a policy that requires a check-off cover sheet that must be completed before his request is released.  This, of course, adds time to the process.  I have people dedicated to his searches alone.  We had to put something in place to avoid the redundancy he incorporates into every request to try to reduce the workload,” Needelman added.
Ellis has also questioned how this contract will be paid for in these tight budgetary times.
Needelman said, “As far as the funding for this five-year project goes, the sources of revenue will come from the various areas that the scanning impacts.  We will evaluate the impact from the various function areas that need scanning and proportion the costs appropriately to each area.” 
Ellis disagrees with Needelman’s claims. “The Clerk’s Office is about a $21 million annual operation. A near $2 million annual expense for five years is huge.  If the Office had $1.7 million per year just floating around in excess monies (savings) we’d have seen those monies returned to the funding agencies, the State of Florida and the Brevard County Commission.  Since only $100,000 was returned to the State of Florida, with the County simply repaid the $100,000 in penalties from breaking the insurance contract, clearly more money must come from somewhere to fund this effort.”
The contract had previously come under scrutiny from Ellis and he had accused the current Clerk’s office of a rigged bidding system and favoritism.  Ellis had charged that the bid was only open for seven days through an Invitation-to-Negotiate process.  He also claimed that an associate of Needelman had profited financially through this contract award and that Needelman had refused to comply with requests because that fact might be revealed.
Ellis said, “My belief is the current strategy of starving operations to award no-bid and sham-bid contracts to companies represented by Friends of Mitch (FoM) will be expanded.
“The public records I have requested have been stonewalled for over a month and are quite simple:
(i)  invoices for monies already paid Blueware;
(ii) contracts with individuals (such as Tallahassee attorneys and Public Relations spokesmen); and
(iii) the bids returned from companies on the imaging contract.
“With the award, the contract itself now becomes public record. I believe the invoices will show well over $500,000 was paid the parent company while the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) (had) yet to determine the selectee. Needelman has refused for over a month to even identify the name of the firm selected for the negotiations.”
Records show the following timeline for the bidding process:
5/3 –An ITN was issued by the Clerk’s Office for the digitizing contract.
5/7 – Questions from bidders were due to the Clerk’s Office.
5/11 – Responses to the questions were due back from the Clerk’s Office.
5/23 – The Clerk’s Office selected BlueGem, provided a $500,000 contract guaranty payment to BlueGem, and began final contract negotiations.
6/29 – The contract was signed by BlueGem representative Rose Harr and Needelman.  Copies were released to the media.
7/2 – Scott Ellis is notified that requested copies are available.
7/3 – Scott Ellis acknowledges receipt of a copy of the contract.
According to the contract, “BlueGem will provide a totally functional system providing for the digitization of Brevard County current and historical documents per Florida statutes.”
The contract also note that a 90-day pilot project will be initiated called the “Digital Pen Solution Implementation.”  According to the contract, “The Digital Pen Solution allows instantaneous capture of written data."
The contract notes a pricing schedule that extends payments from the Clerk’s Office over the next five years.
May 2012: $500,000 contract guaranty payment
June 29, 2012: $50,000 contract signing payment
July 1, 2012 – November 1, 2012: $250,000 total (5 monthly payments of $40,000)
December 1, 2012 – November 1, 2013: $1,440,000 total (12 monthly payments of $120,000)
December 1, 2013 – May 1, 2015: $2,610,000 total (18 monthly payments of $145,000)
June 1, 2015 – May 1, 2017: $3,720,000 total (24 monthly payments of $155,000)

43 comments:

  1. I was notified July 3rd and paid same day. Blueware has been paid money since last March. prior payments are not subject to 'negotiation' and the invoices are public record. Rather than claim I make these requests every other day, just release the requests themselves, they are public record and few in number and simple to respond to, if they wanted to respond.

    From: Merrily Longacre [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 9:01 AM
    To: [email protected]
    Cc: Sean Campbell; Mitch Needelman; Renee McGrory; Diana Spivey; Michael McDaniel
    Subject: Public Records

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  2. Mitch has to go. "Good ol' Boy" politics and favortisim is what has gotten this county and our nation into the trouble we are in.
    Perhaps Mitch should have directed his staff to be accurate with their record keeping and been less concerned with how to pander to his cronies in the private sector.
    It will be very interesting to see if he takes a position with BlueGem LLC when he is voted out of office in November.

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  3. The only way any records request is "complicated" is when you are trying to HIDE something Mitch!
    A checklist can't even keep up with all the LIES you have told..... BUT GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!!

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  4. This is no time to delay with the election so close. You have convinced me to vote foe Ellis Mr. Needleman.

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  5. Clerks Office improved dramatically when Scott took it over.
    Employees like him too.
    Employees got screwed when Mitch took over (we tend to forget about this, Brevard).
    You can't hide corruption and really dumb moves from Scott (especially in the Data world). He's a ferret for the people.
    Points to remember at election time.

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  6. Rose Harr is a liar. She did not and is not moving 30 employees to Melbourne. There is not even 30 left. She moved a few, and suddenly laid a bunch off. Brevard County please be careful, when it sounds too good to be true it usually is!! And 190 new employees at $69,000? Did anyone do any research on this "BlueWare" or "BlueGEM"? Are they financially stable? How is their track record with customers and partners? Since they have worked internationally, how are they liked overseas?
    Needleman, in my opinion, is just as sneaky as Harr.
    Good Luck Brevard County!!

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    1. BlueWare/BlueGem/BlueWhatever is not a financially stable company. They miss payroll, do not reimburse staff expenses for months, and have not made a new sale of their signature software BestBond in almost 3 years. And, BestBond is not even completed to the point it will function properly for a hospital. They are trying to sell vaporware. The only new client they have brought on in the US over the past 3 years is the Brevard County Clerk of the Court. If anyone thinks this company is going to bring 190 new jobs with an average salary of $69K to the Melbourne area they need to get a reality check. It is just not going to happen. Since May 2012 they have lost (quit/fired/laid off) their Finance Director, COO - twice, CTO, Sales Manager, sales staff, programmers/tech support, and others.

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  7. Anon at 7:19. We know -we have a history here of being fools and suckers w/these types of corp welfare gifts that make a handful of insiders wealthy on our backs. I always find it suspicious when one individual (Rose Harr) finds it necessary to open 10 different corp entities on the same day (5/16/2012 Fla)Blueware Cloud, LLC; Bluezen, LLC; Roseware, LLC; Blueware Land, LLC; Blueware DOD, LLC; Bluescan, LLC; Blueware Eire, LLC; Blueware, Inc.; Blueware International, Inc.; Bluegem International, Inc. – all with a corp office address at an oceanfront condo in Indialantic that is being rented.

    The office on the river that FT intimated they purchased – there is no deed recorded for that property so they must be renting that as well. Yes, they are really investing big time here so far with their gift $$ from us sucker tax payers! Not bad for a person that has zero history of doing business in this county or state.

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    1. Thanks for the good information.

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    2. "Many on the STREET"? What street is that? Not where I come from.

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    3. I think you are the lier. Check out their website:
      http://blueware.us/

      See the info on Rose in the about section. I would say you are the sucker listening to all the lies!

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    4. Go to http://www.sunbiz.org/search.html (Fla Corp filings)

      Look up Rose Harr in an ‘Inquire by Officer/Registered Agent’ search. It's all there.

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    5. Well, duh. You can form a Corp in FL too!

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  8. I am really tired of all the false and incorrect information being published here. It is amazing how you can tell lies and expect the public to believe what you write. You can not even get your facts straight. I will support our current clerk as he is doing a great job straightening out the mess he was left by the former clerk.

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    1. You must be one of the employees who got a $10,000 or $20,000 raise!! Because those will be the only people voting for Needelman....

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    2. You only wish those are the only ones!

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    3. Those are the only ones,
      MITCH NEEDELMAN IS
      A LIAR AND
      SO ARE YOU.YOUR
      PYSHIC ABILITIES ARE A CROCK.

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    4. No, they are not the only ones, the community is wise to all the scams you are putting out their. The correct information is public record, so no matter how much you try to spin it, you lies are revealed. Pyshic abilities? You need some of your own because I am not who you are accusing me of being! So who is the liar here?

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  9. The neutrality of Brevard Times is in question. Many on "the street" believe it is just a propaganda tool for Scott Ellis and his band of ultra right wing extremists, who interestingly enough pander to extreme left wing extremists. The funny thing about extremists is that they have more in common then they have things in common. Scott Ellis is an extremist egotist. Everything he does and says is about himself. He comes from an unstable family background and had major issues with his father. This is why he constantly seeks approval and tries to make himself feel superior to everyone else. It is why he surrounds himself with people that he looks down upon and people who in his narrow world view don't come close to his perceived sense of intellect. The truth is, Scott Ellis is seeking approval from his father and he will never receive it. People, we need a Clerk not a mentally unbalanced cocaine user acting out some bizarre Freudian fantasy.

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    1. Now now that isn't nice. But I did hear Scott was a major coke snorter since the days he was hanging out at Ichabod's beachside. Based on his paranoid screwball behavior looks like nothings changed.

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    2. Hey guys I've heard things about Scott too. Quite frankly I think he is just white trash.

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    3. I'm a hillbilly from West Virginia and let me tell you something. To call Ellis white trash is insulting to white trash. That guys got a mean streak in him that makes him meaner then a junk yard dog. I think the boy has a screw loose in his head.

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    4. Are your comments suppose to help Mitch? People wants facts not fabrications and lies. This only HELPS Scott, doesn't hurt him at all.

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    5. I think the person that wrote this and some that responded to it, need to get a LIFE. You certainly help us all realize how we DON'T want Mitch and people like this (supporting him)running the Clerk's office. Who talks like this (white trash, etc.,) sounds so GHETTO. I wonder what they had for breakfast? A can of beer? I would put the the original comment writer on ignore and the scatter brainers (air heads), and go back to ISSUES, not all this nonsense. What a distraction to some intelligent conversations in here. This is the response to be EXPOSED....lol

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    6. "Many on the STREET"? What street is that? Not where I come from.

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    7. LOOKS LIKE THE COMMENT AND THE FOLLOWING REPLY'S ALL CAME FROM THE SAME PERSON. IF THIS PERSON SUPPORTS MITCH NEEDELMAN, DO I NEED TO SAY MORE?

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  10. You can always tell who the "extremists" are. They are the ones who level outrageous and unsubstantiated insults and denigrations on a candidate, Scott Ellis, without ever addressing the issues being raised. What a bunch of scum bags these pro Needelman wacos are.
    Mitch Needleman should be judged by the company he keeps and thrown out of office shortly thereafter.

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    1. So are you one of Scott Ellis' cocaine buddies. Sounds like it. Scott is the biggest coke addict going.

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    2. Mr Needelman surrounds himself with all kinds of upstanding people,his adminsrative assistant has a felony charge of fraud,,his finance director is in foreclosure and his son is a criminal,and his pyshic attorney predicts he will be relected.all of those interesting tidbits are facts.take a look for yourself on the clerks website.

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    3. Perhaps you should go back to school yourself:

      Mr. people, administrative fraud, criminal, and psychic re-elected. All clerk’s

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    4. Oh yes Anonymous July 11 7:54 PM, People that are in foreclosure are evil people. People that due to hard times in this county that wanted the American Dream. Thousand in this county! Scott Ellis supporters think people in foreclosure are vial! Oh, what about Scott Ellis who doesn't own a piece of property in this county?

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  11. The facts are here and can not be refuted. It is public record. The rest is all lies!
    http://www.mitchforclerk.com/

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    Replies
    1. You have to be JOKING!!!!

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  12. Never worked for any Clerk & don’t know anyone who has.My biz requires access to the clerk records to operate & I have been using them in Brevard since ‘85 when it required a trip to Tville to do so. I have spent wasted time, $$$ & aggravation since MN took over that office, and there is more coming–unneeded changes to web site & vendor software(s).

    Now this. IMO it is negligent to obligate us to a GUARANTEED $8.5+ MIL contract for a task that is NOT a priority now. I haven’t needed a pre‘80 doct for 12+ yrs.

    Blueware/RoseWare/BlueGem… This (10 corps in all) is a 1 person Limited Liability corp. No other partners=severely limited resources in borrowing $, raising capital… She could just walk w/the $500K we just paid for zip. We’re also on the hook to take care of her and pay her rent. Per Contract “Charges for cost of travel, accommodation and subsistence, and expenses incurred by Supplier are to be paid in addition to other fees owed under this Contract...”.

    Who would sign such a no-limit, unilateral contract? Is this a good steward of our $$ and resources? I hope people will take the time to get informed. I want my Clerk’s Office and my Money back!

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    1. If Ellis had done his job when he was in office before you would not have had the problems you had. He allowed documents to be entered on line with people’s bank account #, and their social security numbers. Too bad so sad, we were all inconvenienced, I am sorry you were aggravated, but it was the law and Ellis decided not to start the process at all. It was left in Needleman’s lap!

      Another problem is these folks are confusing their documents. They are mixing up their facts and trying to make them look like something they are not!

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  13. You are wrong. They were being scanned all along. It was so very rare an instance I saw an SS or acct # in the records prior to MN pulling 20 yrs of docts down for 10 months. Most other FL Clerks are using a scan prior to the doct being viewable on-line. Did Blueware get that 'redaction' contract too? How much $$ did the office rake in charging $1 per page during that time?

    On that note, it was not 2 days after the docts were back up that I saw a SS# on a newly recorded mortgage. I urge anyone having a financial doct recorded lately to double check it on-line - this Clerk's office is a distracted mess and is missing a lot.

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    1. Really, and that is why people complained after Needelman took office which required them to take action? Then Mr. Needelman is personally respondsible for that SS# being on that document and the person that entered into the system takes no responsibility for that. Maybe that person needs to be taken to task. Did you contact the office to let them know that there was an error on the paperwork? Shame on you if you did not! So let me see one document out of thousands, ohhhhh, that terrible terrible clerks office!

      Yes the docs were scanned all along but not redacted! Yes, and why didn't Ellis put that into place along with the OTHER FL clerks?

      So what if Blueware did that contract? I have not checked the records, but if they did then that might be the payment everyone is talking about which they claim was an advance to a contract being let! Maybe it was for services already rendered under a different scope of business! Just maybe they are not doing their fact check completely!

      So who might be wrong here? Lets twist the facts some more, because everyone knows that is what they are good at!

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  14. I think it is very sad that Ellis has to resort to personal attacks on people who are not even candidates. Apparently he has no personal achievements or successes to tell voters about. All he seems able to do is try to distract everyone away from his lack of accomplishments anywhere, either in office or in private sector. I knew him back then. He was so weird others in his department threatened to quit if forced to work with him. All he ever bragged about was coaching little boys baseball. You gotta wonder.
    And I,too have heard the rumors about his recreational activities. You also gotta wonder. Too many people discussing that one. He talks about public record? It is also public record he frequently needed pay advances to get him through to next payday. The man was making freaking $139k per year, and he could not make it from pay he l to paycheck??? Connect those dots, folks.

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  15. Anyone know where Ellis wife and kids are?? In candidate profile he claims to be family man. So where is family. Rumor is she left him years ago. Lives in another state. Maybe technically stillarroed. It another example of how he twists the truth. Come on Ellis. Bring that wife and kiddies out of the closet and lets see 'em up there on the campaign trail with you. I love to see those good ole American values brought forth.

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  16. Sorry. Meant to say technically still married. But y'all got the drift!

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  17. Wow! What a bunch of nasty crap from both sides!

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