Make us your home page
Instagram

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 behrendt@tampabay.com.

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

Loading...
  1. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions in county funding toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  2. Small helicopter crashes into Odessa home

    Accidents

    ODESSA — Firefighters and sheriff's deputies were investigating Monday after a small helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  3. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child

    News

    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  4. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it

    News

    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Editorial: Senate health care bill would be disastrous for Florida

    Editorials

    The frantic effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something — anything — ranks raw politics over sound policy and threatens the health care of millions of Floridians. It is a desperate attempt to declare victory by shifting responsibility from the federal government …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks in August in Doral.