Friday, January 25, 2013

Brevard EDC Cites "Non-Disclosure Agreement" and Confidentiality With Regards to BlueWare Relationship

MELBOURNE, Florida - The president and CEO of The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast declined on Friday to offer specifics of its proposal in May 2012 to lure BlueWare, Inc. to Melbourne.
“While a non-disclosure agreement precludes us from providing specific details, the company identified a need for a skilled labor pool and competitive tax environment,” Lynda Weatherman said.
BlueWare and its subsidiary BlueGem, LLC were awarded a controversial $8.7 million contract last summer from the former Brevard County Clerk of the Court Mitch Needelman to scan documents.
This contract is currently under scrutiny by current Clerk Scott Ellis. He has called it a “sham.”
Ellis has filed an official request to the EDC for release of its documents related to BlueWare.  Weatherman replied to Ellis that “the EDC legal counsel has advised the information held by the EDC is currently both confidential and exempt from disclosure.”
Weatherman said to Brevard Times, “In general, the functions of an economic development organization working with an out-of-market prospect involve assisting the company in understanding comparative tax advantages, as well as the availability of a skilled workforce able to meet a company’s growing needs, and other areas, such as incentives available at both the state and local levels,”
“Economic development analyses often include workforce availability and cost, payroll tax comparatives, property tax and corporate tax evaluations – in other words, the economic facets that businesses take into account when they consider alternate locations.”
Weatherman also responded regarding a May 2012 press release from Governor Rick Scott that said BlueWare would "invest over $1 million in tangible property and equipment to support operations."
“Our involvement in this project was limited to the standard, widely-accepted and utilized economic development best practices that we offer to any business that we are encouraging to locate or expand in Brevard County,” Weatherman said.
“The $1 million investment refers to the company’s corporate capital expenditure to support the start-up of its operation in Brevard County. We have no knowledge of the contract between the company and the Brevard Clerk of Court and it was not part of our economic development proposal.”
Brevard Times asked Weatherman that since BlueWare has a government contract should they be required to make their budgetary information (payroll, equipment lease/purchase, building lease/purchase) and work deliverables (numbers of documents scanned and delivered) available to the press and public. 
Weatherman said, “BlueWare is a privately-held company and, as such, is not required to release financial information.”
Social media sites indicate that BlueWare owner Rose Harr has re-located from Brevard to England – after moving here from Michigan in June 2012.  Weatherman was asked if EDC had any knowledge of this.
“We understand from working with BlueWare that the company has significant operations in the United Kingdom and sees that market as one with solid growth potential,” Weatherman added.  “However, we have no knowledge of the president’s private living arrangements.”
Gov. Scott’s office was contacted regarding this story, but did not respond.

15 comments:

  1. How deep does this cover up go?

    Her Facebook page says she lives in the UK. She does not have significant operations in the UK and the only reason she is there now is hiding the money Needleman gave her by buying businesses and houses there so we cannot get it back. For a company that has significant operations there why was it so hard for her to make payroll and pay her employee expenses for 6 months until Brevard gave her the money. Really does not make sense.

    We are not asking for you to reveal market analysis simply show up the parts that relate to how our money was spent to move this company from Michigan to Florida - that really is not classified information since it is our money. No one cares about your inflated formulas on workforce and market opportunity because they are speculation. All we care about is how much money was given and what were the tax incentives.

    Where there clauses that said - you actually have to live in Melbourne and establish residency? That would be pretty important. You need to develop actuall business rather than just take the handouts that were given to you? You need to actually employ Melbourne residents?

    These are all critical statements that it appears you may be covering up because you are trying to protect yourself.

    If you really believe that this is a worldclass company do you know there world headquarters before they moved to Melbourne was a house? Not really sure how many global companies with significant operations in the UK work out of a house im the back woods of Michigan.

    My cousin runs a shipping company out of the shed behind is house in North Carolina I will have him call you on Monday to see if you can help him relocate here with some of this easy money.

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  2. For such a global company how come there web site has not been updated and the executives listed there actually do not work there?

    Could it be someone is hiding something?

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  3. Linda they are all hiding in the UK - you really need to take care of yourself and stop believing Rose's email where she tells you everything is taken care of and you have nothing to worry about.

    If there was nothing to worry about wouldn't she be answering questions?

    If there was nothing to worry about would her whole family be over there hiding?

    If there was nothing to worry about would everyone be investigating what is going on?

    I can hear someone knocking on the door.

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  4. Fine - then it's time to file a lawsuit to get the info. As a BC Tax Payer, I have no problem with Mr. Ellis spending whatever $$ is necessary to get to the bottom of this.

    Our EDC (over-paid travel agents) seem to think we need to hand out $$ like candy to lure business here, and the word is apparently getting around-Free Money in Brevard - we are Suckers! Come and get it!

    Recent article in the Vero Press Journal (1/25/2013)…“Financial incentives haven't been promised to lure Bass Pro Shops to the Treasure Coast, state and local officials said Thursday, as has been done in Brevard County…. "Absolutely not, this stands alone," Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County President Larry Pelton said. "This stands on their business model and their expectations for the store, so no, there are no incentives being offered."

    So where does it end if we just let this Blueware boondoggle go?

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  5. Excellent point. If the purpose of the EDC is to motivate businesses to relocate with incentives that we get back equal or higher than what was offered I am all fine with that.

    But from what I can read about this boondoggle - a company was offered a lot of money and tax incentives to relocate, they were given money to buy a building, and given free labor and to top it all off they were given a $6 million contract.

    They promised they would improve the community by making ivestments and employ 193 people.

    Here is the reality - they rented and never purchased homes (and actually owed rent on a lot of the properties), never really employed any local folks, took the money from the county and left as soon as the heat was turned up.

    And to top it all off embarrassed HP who was caught with their pants down when they found out that Rose bailed and left them with a worthless contract and in debt for $6 million.

    Nice job EDC - if I was in your position I would claim private and confidential as well. I know our President does that same thing so you might as well too.

    And let's not even talk about the repurcussions of Gov. Scott when he finds out he was suckered in on this deal.

    Where are all those political geniuses now that were posing with Rose at that imaginary ribbon cutting ceremony at the rented building.

    Sure attack Mr. Ellis when he was trying to enlighten everyone and you called him crazy and smear tactics. Well where are all these name callers now - hiding in the UK counting their money and laughing at us.

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    1. The EDC is locking down the entire Blueware file claiming 'confidentiality'. The entire file. In the comingweeks I don't expect this to fly. Blueware was signed for up to $4.2 million in free money incentives. Money has already been siphoned out. My belief is the EDC wants this one locked down as they may have some very intense involvment with the scheme.

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    2. Lets see where FDLE gets

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  6. Charles & Scott: Who is the atty for the EDC, and can we get a formal statement from them as to their specific exemption from the Sunshine laws?

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    1. I have such a legal opinion and sent it to the Brevard Times right as Charles was publishing the article. They are welcome to publish the letter and legal opinion, or if you e-mail me at sellis@spacey.net I can send it to you.

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  7. Have Rose Harr's kids, David and Kaitlin moved to the UK or are they just on holiday visiting their con artist mother?

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  8. I thought Rose was now on the EDC Board. How can she be on the Board and be in England at the same time? Interesting.

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  9. I see Rose has returned to Florida. I do hope there is an arrest warrant soon in her future.

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  10. Check Cadillac, MI. I hear they have a good amount of real estate up there. Of course the reason they moved was because people were on to them. If you ever get to inspect those documents, I'd say there is a good chance there is corruption.

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  11. I used to work for BlueWare... worst experience of my life. Ms. Harr is a child and would often have outbursts, wasting money left and right on a very expensive lifestyle. The business had absolutely NO structure - no human resources, no training, no thought put into anything. BlueWare is one of those companies that is crooked as they get and barely making it buy... while the president puts up a facade of success and sustainability.

    Most unprofessional, unorganized environment ever. Walmart and Burger Kings are run better than this "organization."

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