TITUSVILLE, Florida - Documents released by the new Brevard County Clerk of Courts reveal a complicated payment arrangement between former Clerk Mitch Needelman and BlueWare, Inc. They also raise questions as to what a $6.1 million is being used for.New Clerk Scott Ellis has maintained since the summer of 2012 that the digitizing contract between Needelman and BlueWare is a “sham.”
A promissory note – a copy of which was released to Brevard Times by Ellis – was signed on October 23, 2012 and indicates that the clerk’s office would receive the funds from Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Company for “essential” equipment.
The note states specifically that “the use of the equipment is essential for Maker’s proper, efficient and economic operation, Maker will be the only entity to own, use or operate the Equipment during the term of this note and Maker will use the Equipment only for Maker’s governmental purposes.”
A legal opinion written by Joe Teague Caruso, legal counsel for the clerk’s office, also notes, “The Equipment is personal property and will not become a fixture.”
Neither the note nor the legal opinion indicates specifically what the “equipment” is.
Then, on October 24, 2012, Needelman requested that the money be directed to three “vendors,” each receiving differing amounts: Blue Gem - $5,690,526; Brunswick Companies - $209,474; and The Hanover Insurance Company - $200,000. A second identical payment direction was signed on October 29, 2012.
Hewlett-Packard accepted the promissory note on October 27, 2012.
To further complicate the arrangement, there is disagreement between the documents as to exactly what it should be called.
The promissory note calls the agreement both an “advance” and a “lease.” The payment direction letter calls it a “loan.” And the clerk’s legal representative calls it a “lease.”
Deputy Clerk Tyler Winik told Ellis in email communication on January 15 that he is continuing to investigate the relationships between Blue Gem, Brunswick, and Hanover.