BLACKKETTER FIRING BY BENDERSON
CANNOT COVER UP SCANDALOUS ILLEGAL BENDERSON SCAM
It’s way past time that the multimillion dollar so called Public-Private Partnership between Randy Benderson and Sarasota County be exposed for the fraudulent scam that it is.
With the recent firing of Benderson flunky, Paul Blackketter and another Benderson Project Manger involved in the Benderson Project, Mike DePriest sent packing back to Buffalo, and two former competent administrators of the Benderson Project, John Krotec and Nicole Rissler leaving the Benderson scam on the lake, the cover-up of a totally mismanaged multimillion dollar project cannot continue.
BLACKKETTER’S FIRING CANNOT BE DENIED
If anyone believes that Blackketter was not fired by Randy Benderson, they must be part of the multimillion dollar Benderson/Sarasota County Public/Private Partnership scam or have their head buried in the sand. It’s almost comical how Blackketter, who was a total fiscal failure as the CEO of Randy Benderson’s Rowing Park, is being reported as submitting a so-called voluntary resignation. A prime example of how Benderson’s various scams are covered up since he parachuted into the area from Buffalo, which is also a disgrace to investigative journalism, is the continued cover up of the fraudulent Benderson Rowing Park scam by the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Case in point, a recent article in the SHT titled, “Sarasota County Officials Cite Rebound From Purchasing Scandal”, failed to mention one word about Sarasota’s “Dirty Little Secret.”
SARASOTA’S “DIRTY LITTLE SECRET”
The outrageous control that Randy Benderson has over the Sarasota County Commissioners, is exemplified by his 2011, $19.5 million Benderson Rowing Park no-bid contract and management agreement, which has burgeoned into the current $70 million, is disgraceful and appalling.
PATTERSON SIGNS OFF ON BENDERSON SWEETHEART DEAL
|The scandalous nature of the $19.5 million no bid contract signed in 2011 by former chairperson of the Sarasota County Commission, Nora Patterson, and approved by the four other county commissioners, who have received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Benderson, was acknowledged in an email from Kimberly Humphrey to a local developer with this comment after reading THE SARASOTA PHOENIX articles published on December 8, 2014:|
|“Wow, glad this isn’t my project. Why would the county ever waive a (performance) bond?” Humphrey is a Project Manager for Sarasota County Capital Projects and Facilities. Humphrey has a LEED AP, GGP, FMP and a FMA.|
Not only was Benderson given $19.5 million to assist in building his rowing park, he also received an additional 16% of the $19.5 million to supervise the construction management of the bonanza.It is way past time that the multimillion dollar so-called Public/Private Partnership between Randy Benderson and Sarasota County be exposed for the fraudulent scam that it is by the so-called local major media outlets.
BLACKKETTER RESIGNATION IS LAUGHABLE
Blackketter was recently caught on a video which clearly depicts a completely out of control, enraged individual, verbally abusing a fellow employee with the most foul, disgusting and repulsive language, and despite Blackketter’s ridiculous pronouncements to the contrary, has been sent packing by Benderson. Blackketter now joins another former incompetent Benderson Project Manager involved with Benderson Rowing Park, previously mentioned Michael DePriest , who has been sent into exile in Buffalo.
BENDERSON’S STENCH CONTINUES AT PARK
Furthermore if anyone thinks the departure of Blackketter and DePriest will end the stench from what neighborhood activist Alice White once asserted “smells like three day old garbage” in reference to the Sarasota County Commission decision to first back this scam in 2011 by allocating $19.5 million in public money— think again. The excitement once generated for the rowing park has now turned into valid criticism of the no-bid $19.5 million contract that the Sarasota County Commissioners granted to Benderson in January of 2011. Benderson’s decision to throw Blackketter and DePriest “under the bus” begins to resemble former President Richard Nixon’s Watergate cover-up.
The recent departure of Krotec, who was a once enthusiastic supporter in charge of volunteers at the site, now turned critic of the scam, coupled together with Rissler’s departure to Sarasota County government after only six months as CEO of the project, only further indicates the obvious stench emanating from this multi-million dollar scam on the lake.
BENDERSON SCAM BEGAN TO CRUMBLE OVER DREDGE AMERICA LAWSUIT
This Benderson Scam began to crumble when Dredge America sued Benderson in a Federal Court in Tampa for nonpayment of $529,490 in publicly funded money, which was part of an $1,300,000 contract Dredge had with Benderson. These public funds that Benderson had withheld for over two years were appropriated to Benderson from Sarasota County for services Benderson had stated were completed by Dredge America.
BENDERSON STUFFING PUBLIC FUNDS IN HIS PRIVATE ACCOUNTS
|The lawsuit alleged that Benderson withheld public funds allocated to Benderson by Sarasota County for work that Kansas City based Dredge America completed on Benderson’s Rowing Park.|
Dredge America demanded Benderson pay them the money he owed them—payment that Sarasota County officials had authorized on November 16, 2012— on work which Benderson had informed the county had already been competed by Dredge America. Dredge America documented the work they performed at the rowing park and completely complied with contractual obligations for dredging the lake where Benderson was building his $70 million plus facility
BENDERSON SETTLES WITH DREDGE FOR $395,000 SETTLEMENT
Dredge America, knowing quite well they would not get a fair hearing in a local court, sued Benderson in a Federal Court room in Tampa. Benderson, no doubt acknowledging that he wouldn’t get the usual “home cooked” judicial decision as he would in front of a Pat Neal appointed Judge, paid an out of court settlement to Dredge for $395,000.
What followed was beyond audacious—Randy Benderson making a request of Sarasota County officials to reimburse him the $395,000!
Please explain to me how Benderson can ask for an additional $395,000 for a project that he informed Sarasota County officials had been completed and paid up. How could Benderson ask for an additional $395,000 for a project that has a documented invoice dated June 30, 2014—an invoice which documented that Benderson was paid $525,000 to compensate Dredge America for the completed project?
The audacity of this latest scandalous request by Benderson should signal that there should be no further delay in bringing forth a criminal investigation of Randy Benderson’s ability to manipulate Sarasota County Government to his financial benefit.
THE SARASOTA PHOENIX DOES INVESTIGATING
THE SARASOTA PHOENIX became aware of the brewing scandal, between Dredge America and Sarasota County and reported on Benderson’s withholding of public funds intended to be paid to Dredge America. In addition we began to examine Benderson’s $19.5 million contract with Sarasota County, as a sweetheart deal that borders on the illegal.
It became apparent that Sarasota County officials were not carefully examining the invoices that Benderson has been submitting to them for payment and this is a serious problem. In addition, has Benderson been holding back funds that Sarasota County officials have authorized to compensate other vendors for work they believe is completed at Benderson Rowing Park in addition to the work performed by Dredge America?