Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Blueberry Festival bribe complaint unfounded, state attorney says

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County commissioners and the organizer of the Florida Blueberry Festival have committed no crime and no fraud, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Hernando County resident and government critic Dennis Purdy last week filed a criminal complaint accusing the commissioners of taking bribes from festival organizer Michael Heard in return for their support of the event, scheduled for this weekend in downtown Brooksville.

The commissioners were promised the same package as other festival sponsors, including passes to the event and the concert as well as parking privileges and mention in advertisements. In his complaint, Purdy said this amounted to a bribe.

After reviewing the case, the Hogan Law Firm, which represents the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, stated "neither the Board of County Commissioners, nor the president of the Blueberry Festival, Ms. Heard, committed a fraud.'' The firm then deferred to the State Attorney's Office.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Simpson reviewed the case and he and State Attorney Brad King agreed that no fraud was committed by any of the parties, according to a memo released Thursday by Detective Dustin Mormando.

"This just proves that the charges were far-fetched and frivolous from the beginning,'' said commission chairman Dave Russell. "Unfortunately, the allegations had to be dealt with up through the channels.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at

Blueberry Festival bribe complaint unfounded, state attorney says 05/02/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 2, 2013 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. GOP Montana win may be blip in Democrats' anti-Trump hopes


    BOZEMAN, Mont. — A Montana Republican businessman won the state's U.S. House seat after being charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of the election, a victory that may temper Democrats' hopes for a massive anti-Trump wave next year.

    Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters after being declared the winner at a election night party for Montana's special House election against Democrat Rob Quist at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday in Bozeman, Montana.
  2. More than half of Senate signs onto bill to end Cuba travel restrictions


    WASHINGTON - Fifty-five members of the Senate, including Bill Nelson, have endorsed legislation to fully lift restrictions on travel to Cuba.

  3. Militants attack Christians in Egypt, killing at least 28


    CAIRO — Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 people and wounding 22, the Interior Ministry said.

  4. District finals won't count for Pasco County students


    Scores from the district finals Pasco County students took in recent weeks will not count toward their semester grades or grade-point averages, superintendent Kurt Browning said Friday.

  5. Tampa International Airport morphing into a mini-city unto itself


    TAMPA — By the end of the 2026, Joe Lopano wants Tampa International Airport to function as its own little city.

    Artist rendering of phase two of the $1 billion construction expansion of Tampa International Airport. The airport is transforming 17 acres of airport property that will include at least one hotel, retail and office space and a gas station, among other things.
[Courtesy of Tampa International Airport]