Saturday, January 19, 2013

Former Clerk's Digitizing Contract Under More Scrutiny

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. 

14 comments:

  1. "Maker" is the Brevard County Clerk of Court

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  2. I was under the impression that any government contract has a 24 hour cancellation clause without cause. If that is true couldn't the county simply cancel the contract with HP and stop payment. Yes HP would basically be out of the money they paid in advance but that is not the county's problem.

    I guess the real question is how does HP get the money they have advanced? I would hope they would have provisions in their contract with Bluegem that if that clause was exercised they would have the ability to reimburse the advance.

    I am still not sure why would HP advance money for services not rendered? I remember we had to indicate work was complete, services delivered or equipment was received and then payment would be issued. Has any of the above been completed for HP to make payment and if so why are the documents not all digitized?

    So many questions that have not been answered and I still do not understand why public pressure cannot have the owner of Bluegem come forward and explain to tax payers the complexity of this contract in simple terms.

    I understand private businesses have the right to keep their business private but once you enter the public sector everything is supposed to be transparent and correct me if I am wrong we are talking about a public sector contract?

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  3. Anonymous 5:54 - you want simple terms I will help you out -

    Blueware pulled a fast one on the county and HP and despite warnings got away with it.

    Rose is hiding in the UK leaving everyone else here out to dry.

    HP can't get their money. It is either spent or hidden. She is laughing at all you fools who gave her the contract, did not stop it despite warnings, paid for a building for her, paid for the employees who work there and think she was the saviour.

    You had one basic question to ask and no one was smart enought to do it - why are we paying in advance for services not rendered?


    Is that simple enough for you?

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  4. You can't say Blueware pulled a fast one on the Clerk's Office if the upper management of the Clerk's Office was in on it. Just because a deal is stupid for some does not make it stupid for all, witness the Sarno Landfill.

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  5. HP has no contract with Blueware, it is the beauty of the scheme orchestrated by Blueware. HP loaned $6.1 million to the Clerk of Court, who directed $5.7 million of the loan proceeds to Blueware and the other $409,000 for a Blueware performance bond. HP thought they were the smart ones by sending the Clerk's hired attorney (who collected $50,000) the language he needed for 'his' opinion to bless the deal. All they did was ensure their own loss of six million dollars.

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  6. So in the end Rose won. She found some people she could manipulate - the economic development committee, an easy mark in Mitch, a company hungry for a sweet deal and put her devious plan in motion.

    Six months later - nothing has improved in the county, Mitch is somewhere counting his payout, HP is stuck with a significant loss of money and Rose is across the pond living large on stolen money.

    How sad things are. I am just pissed that I did not realize the taking was that easy or I would have figured a plan to take a few million myslef instead of working hard in a struggling economy - who is the fool?

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  7. It's not over yet. There is still plenty of evidence of fraud and misconduct. I suspect the desire is to pull the money and split leaving behind a 'corporate mess' but evading any criminal issues. We'll see how it unfolds, there is evidence aplenty if the State Attorney chooses to act on it.

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    Replies
    1. will your office still continue to make entire case files available online or will we have to do it in person???

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    2. We have been scanning for ten years and will continue. The Bluware files are all ten years or older.

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  8. This story still appalls amazes me. Why is Needelman NOT in jail yet? When will that happen? When will Brevard County Taxpayers get our money back? I know we won't actually get a refund, but at least bring it back to be used properly by the Clerk's office if nothing else.

    Please do put the records online and be completely transparent in this. It will be good for Brevard County Taxpayers to be able to see what happened to their money and how it was misused and mishandled by Needelman. This scam needs to be totally uncovered and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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  9. Too many people involved who are in political offices for anyone to want to touch this one. It is safer to just count the losses and say we learned from this one.

    Once you start peeling back the layers you have to go all the way back to say who wanted this company to come to Florida in the first place and the answer is not pretty.

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  10. They close schools and spend fraudulent money on this scam?
    Where is the state attorney???

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  11. I see Rose's kids Kaitlin and David have traveled to England. Are they on holiday visiting their scam artist mother, or have they moved there to avoid the scandal as well?

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