Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FDLE opens inquiry into former Hillsborough PTC chief's handling of public records

    

Cockream’s phone was reset, an investigator reported.



TAMPA — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has launched a preliminary inquiry into a former Public Transportation Commission chief's handling of public records less than three weeks after closing an investigation into whether his agency was too cozy with taxicab companies.

The new inquiry is expected to focus on whether public records were illegally deleted from Kyle Cockream's agency cellphone. A forensic investigator reported recently that the phone Cockream used for almost a year had recently been reset, a process that wipes it clean. FDLE officials said they had received information about the case from the PTC.

"We're looking at the new information," spokeswoman Jessica Carey said.

Cockream's phone was handed to a forensic investigator in November to extract public records, including text messages, requested in June by a Sarasota law firm. The firm sued the PTC in September for not fully complying with the request.

At a hearing last week, a judge gave Cockream five days to provide the investigator access to an online account that backs up phone records to see if he can retrieve missing data.

Cockream, who stepped down as PTC chief at the end of December, has yet to comply with the order, according to Hillsborough County attorneys who are representing the PTC in the lawsuit.

On Tuesday, Cockream's private attorney, Michael Carey, filed a motion asking the judge to overturn that decision or to at least give Cockream more time to comply.

The former PTC chief was not represented at the hearing and was deprived of his constitutional due process rights, the motion states. On Tuesday, he was added as a separate party to the lawsuit.

In a report included in a court filing, computer forensics firm E-Hounds CEO Adam Sharp stated that Cockream's agency phone was reset on Oct. 8 and then restored with no data from before Sept. 2.

An invoice shows the PTC paid $2,994 to Valrico firm Data Specialist Group for "Mobile Device Data Recovery." It lists Cockream as the customer and was paid on Oct. 12 with a PTC credit card. Cockream authorized the payment.

The invoice does not specify whose phone was given to Data Specialist or what work was performed.

Neither Cockream nor Carey returned calls requesting comment.

An earlier FDLE investigation into whether Cockream and the agency he led were too closely aligned with the taxicab and limo industry it regulates was closed Jan. 3. It was requested by state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, after a Tampa Bay Times story revealed that taxi and limo drivers posed as Uber and Lyft customers in PTC sting operations.

That FDLE investigation found no evidence that Cockream benefited from the collaboration or that any law had been broken.

"The issues above would better be suited to be reviewed by the Florida Commission on Ethics," the report stated.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at codonnell@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.

FDLE opens inquiry into former Hillsborough PTC chief's handling of public records 01/18/17 [Last modified: Thursday, January 19, 2017 11:38am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena

    Tourism

    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  4. Update: Scientology cancels planned mock FBI raid on downtown building

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology planned to film a mock FBI raid on a downtown building Monday afternoon, but the actors and cameras never showed up to the location disclosed to the city.

    According to Clearwater Police, the Church of Scientology plans to hold a mock FBI raid at 3 p.m. Monday at this vacant building at 305 N Fort Harrison Ave. Police announced the raid in advance to alert the public. They said they did not know the reason for the event. [Google Earch image]
  5. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Human Interest

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]