Part II Law Enforcement Sleeps/Co. Corruption is Institutionalized



[To View Part I Click Here]

By Jon Susce



What is a prime example of an organized criminal enterprise that resembles a Mafia type operation—directed by a Godfather type figure, Pat Neal and his cronies—and how LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT SLEEPS WHILE SARASOTA COUNTY CORRUPTION WAS AND IS INSTITUTIONALIZED;  is illustrated by the financial wheeling and dealings of local attorney John Patterson and his wife, former County Commissioner Nora Patterson.

For example, as Sarasota County officials and local law enforcement, including the local F.B.I., have in the past sat back doing absolutely nothing, documented illegalities are swept under the carpet, and the statute of limitations runs out on potential crimes by the Patterson’s and others.
Case in point, Kraft Construction, with the approval of the Sarasota County Commission, received a $3.9 million contract in 2006 to refurbish the Sarasota County Sheriff’s sally port.  For the same project, BMK Architects received a $600,000 contract also with the approval of the Sarasota County Commission.  It was mandated by Sarasota County that any additional costs or additions to the project needed the approval of BMK Architects.

A few months into the project it was discovered that there was a major mole problem at the sally port which would need to be fixed.  BMK Architects decided not to put out to bid the $4 million addition to the project.  They conjectured that since Kraft was on the site, that they should receive the additional  $4 million project.  BMK also decided that their fee should rise to $785,000 to complete the project.

In a letter John Patterson sent on May 10, 2010 to the publisher of TEMPO NEWS, Johnny Hunter Sr., Patterson openly admits that he represented Kraft construction and BMK Architects during that period: “As you know I have represented Kraft Construction in certain matters in Sarasota.” Then Patterson goes on to say, “I have represented BMK Architects for years.” Those  two companies were granted multi-million dollar Sarasota County contracts on which his wife, Nora Patterson voted and approved while a sitting Sarasota County Commissioner in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

According to Don Larsen, who was the Project Director for the Sarasota County Project, on five separate occasions Commissioner Patterson voted for public appropriations totaling $7,900,000, which was paid to Kraft Construction (then based in Naples, Florida) and BMK Architects (based in Sarasota, Florida) for the construction of Sarasota County Sally Port Jail Project.

Documentation, which was provided by Larsen, revealed the votes by Commissioner Patterson were on: June 20, 2006, April 25, 2007, December 18, 2007 and September 9, 2008. The contracts with Sarasota County and Kraft Construction were: 1) 2008-126, 2) 2008-376 3), 2008-421 4) and 2009-443. The contracts with Sarasota County and BMK Architects were: 1) 2006-342 2) and 2007-303.

According to Sarasota County records, Commissioner Nora Patterson did not recuse herself on four separate occasions and cast her vote to approve the $ millions in appropriations for the Sarasota County Sally Port Jail Project!



On October 10, 1999 a client of John Patterson’s, Morton Siegler purchased property in what is called the Sarasota International Trade Center (SITC).  In Nora Patterson’s 2010 campaign literature, she publicly admitted that she was a principal in Industry Plaza LLC that developed the SITC property.

On July 17, 2001, Jim Ley acting in his capacity as Sarasota County Administrator and with the approval of the Sarasota County Commissioners, which included Commissioner Nora Patterson, approved the purchase of the Siegler owned property and a half-finished warehouse Siegler had built on the property for $6.3 million. The approval of the $6.3 million purchase handed down by Ley and the Sarasota County Commissioners came after negotiations between the County, Morton Siegler and his attorney, John Patterson.

The plan was to construct what was to become a Sarasota County facility housing hundreds of Sarasota County employees called the BOB Building, inconveniently situated on land that is miles from Downtown Sarasota and the I-75. The half-finished warehouse was renovated by another of John Patterson’s clients, John Cox of Halfacre Construction for $3.6 MILLION.

Incredibly, Commissioner Nora Patterson had no reservations about  voting on both the sale of the building and the renovations, despite the fact that this Sarasota County business transaction involved a client of her husband, John Patterson.   Further, that her husband, John Patterson negotiated the $6.3 million sale of the property for his client, Morton Siegler, and the renovation of the BOB BUILDING to be completed by yet another of Patterson’s clients for $3.6 MILLION! (SEE ATTACHMENT  1)

These two examples represent not only a major conflict of interest, but are also examples of white collar crimes committed by the Patterson’s.  Unfortunately for the public, the statute of limitations has run out on the Patterson’s culpability in these two matters, and in who knows what other similar projects that they’ve rigged up during Nora Patterson’s 24 year political career in Sarasota  County.  Equally unfortunate is that these are crimes that have been ignored by local law enforcement agencies.  The result being that instead of being locked up in jail, Nora Patterson is running for the Florida State Senate.



With countless examples similar to what is mentioned above it is utterly absurd that the only arrest in the past years was that of  the local area’s notorious leading political operative, Bob Waechter, for political fraud. (SEE ATTACHMENT 2)


What is equally absurd is the slap on the wrist Waechter received from the local State Attorney for attempting to destroy the political career of Lourdes Ramirez, the opponent of Waechter’s handpicked candidate, Al Maio for Sarasota County Commissioner; this despite the serious nature of the charge and Waechter’s history of past felony arrests and similar disgraceful political mudslinging.

For example, a PAC assembled by Waechter in 2010 called SARASOTA DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY put out a flyer and made robo calls described as “mud-slinging” for the purpose of attacking  former Commissioner Nora Patterson’s opponent, Mark Smith during her re-election campaign. The Sarasota Herald Tribune called the flyers attacking Patterson’s opponent as “slimy, awful, misleading and untrue.”

According to local reporter Joe Hendricks, in writing for the Pelican Press, Waechter, and Tampa lobbyist, Louis Betz  gave $2,000 to a pretender to run as a Green Party candidate for the purpose of siphoning off votes from Democratic candidate, Keith Fitzgerald. The only green that Waechter’s candidate was concerned about was the green that mud-slinger, Waechter put in his pocket.

By the way, this “slimy, awful, misleading and untrue” attack on Smith by Waechter, who is a documented Patterson political operative, is an indication of how the Patterson duo, acclaimed in SRQ Magazine as one of Sarasota’s “Power Couples,” are aligned with this slimy, awful local political operative, Bob Waechter.

For the Patterson’s to deny their relationship with this convicted felon and slimy political operative would be impossible.  Consider that the registered agent and only Officer/Director of the PAC putting out the “slimy” attack on Mark Smith is none other than Bob Waechter, and the address for this PAC is 6539 Peacock Road on Siesta Key, which is also listed as the address of Waechter’s various LLC’s that have John Patterson as the legal agent.

Waechter is also involved in numerous real estate deals with John Patterson.  Beginning in 2002, John Patterson was involved with the following Waechter managed LLC’s:  R & J 7600 LLC, R & J Wingate Plaza LLC, 1200 Ogden Industrial LLC, R & J Stardom LLC, and R & J Center Court LLC.  R & J 7600 LCC concerns property in which John Patterson has a 33% financial interest. R & J Stardom LLC is another Waechter managed LLC in which John Patterson has financial involvement. (SEE ATTACHMENT  3)

What makes Waechter’s crime in defaming Ramirez so outrageous, and an illustration of Waechter’s sense of being “bullet proof” with regard to his criminal actions, is that he brazenly walked into a convenience store with a video filming him committing his crime. Case in point, Waechter is either stupid or he has a “get out of jail pass” in his pocket, which he evidently gave to Brodsky after his arrest.


What illustrates the way in which local law enforcement agencies in the area resemble an organized crime operation (headed-up by Pat Neal) is that as everyone is well aware, the 12th Judicial State Attorney, Ed Brodsky was put into office through the efforts of the Patterson’s, Waechter and his fellow political operative, Eric Robinson.  Eric Robinson is the “Bag Man” for Pat Neal and his million dollar-developer cronies that controls Sarasota County Government.  By the way,  Eric Robinson is married to Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson.  Further, Pat Neal runs the 12th Judicial Nominating Committee, which recommends Judges to the Governor for the local area. (SEE ATTACHMENT 4)

Now as it just so happens the person who Brodsky appointed to prosecute Waechter, and who proceeded to slap the wrist of this  disgraceful, documented, slimly political operative and felon, is Brian Iten; no doubt the “kiss on the cheek” to Waechter had the approval of Iten’s boss, Brodsky.


Two years later Iten is recommended by Neal’s Judicial Committee to Governor Rick Scott to replace retiring Judge Lee Haworth.  Scott, who receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Godfather Neal and his capos, Benderson, Beruff, and Jensen, appoints Iten.

An even more despicable example of institutionalized criminal corruption in Sarasota was the civil trial wherein Hugh Culverhouse Jr. sued two of Godfather Neal’s cronies, Randy Benderson and Henry Rodriguez for conspiring with Sarasota County officials , led by Jim Ley, to defraud Culverhouse out of millions of dollars.


For example, after considering the damaging documented testimony against Benderson and Rodriguez (below) and examining hundreds of pages of incriminating emails,  the jury decided  that Benderson and Rodriguez conspired with Sarasota County officials to defraud Culverhouse and awarded Culverhouse over 20 million dollars:

1. While under oath Rodriguez  admitted, as was revealed in an email exchange between himself and former Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson, that they had committed a crime in that Rodriguez gave a campaign contribution for information on an upcoming vote of the Sarasota County Commission which was given to him by Patterson.

In addition, Patterson indicated in the email exchange that she and other county commissioners were going to vote for a project that would defraud Culverhouse out of millions of dollars.  Also under oath, Rodriquez stated that the original email correspondence was “doctored” and split-up into two emails in a deliberate attempt to cover up his contribution to Patterson in exchange for Patterson’s information.

2. Benderson admitted under oath that in a meeting he had with Culverhouse and other individuals, that he had essentially threatened Culverhouse to comply with an inequitable  financial agreement that would favor Benderson development, and Benderson indicated that when the proposal came before the county commission he already had “three county commissioners in his pocket” to support his proposal.

3. Other individuals at that meeting testified under oath that Benderson had stated that he had three Sarasota County Commissioners in his pocket.

4 Sarasota County Administrator Jim Ley testified under oath that he and his wife rode on a private jet owned by Gary Kompothecras, who is close friend and business partner with Rodriguez, to the inaugural of Governor Scott.  In addition Ley received tickets to the inaugural from Rodriguez and accommodations were arranged for Ley and his wife to stay at a five star hotel in Tallahassee, courtesy Rodriguez.  (SEE ATTACHMENT 5)

Ley, who could not get a job in the public sector due to knowledge of corruption in his management of Sarasota County Government, is now working for Kompothecras.



Two weeks after the jury’s verdict was delivered, Judge Dubensky came out with a ruling “that there was not enough of a legal basis” to warrant that Rodriguez and Benderson conspired with Sarasota County officials to defraud Culverhouse.  For Dubensky to have ruled that there was not enough of a legal basis for most of the claims in the case to substantiate the verdict for Culverhouse is ABSURD.

If Dubensky thought there was not enough of a legal basis for most of the claims in the case to substantiate the verdict for Culverhouse, why didn’t Dubensky make that determination before he gave instructions to the jury, either before or after both the plaintiff and the defense rested their cases, and the jury began their deliberations?

One need not have had to graduate from any law school to have the logic to see that Dubensky’s decision, as one of the many Judges who have ascended from the local corrupt 12th Judicial District State Attorney’s office to the position of a local Judge, is a pay back to Godfather Neal and his multimillion dollar developer cronies, who control  Sarasota and Manatee County Government and preside over the 12th Judicial Nominating Committee.  The same Judicial Nominating Committee that recommended Dubensky, Iten and other Neal handpicked judges. (SEE ATTACHMENT  6)

Could any logical person fail to come to the same conclusion that appeared in the Sarasota Herald Tribune when Tom Lyons wrote, tongue in cheek, describing Dubensky’s weird ruling, “The judge must have been paid off”?

How could any rational person come to any other conclusion when Dubensky reversed the decision of a jury of six educated women, who took meticulous notes, listened to all of the witnesses, studied all the documents presented, listened to final arguments, adhered to Dubensky’s instructions on the rules of law involved in this civil law case, deliberated for two days and then unanimously made the decision that  Benderson and Rodriguez conspired with Sarasota County officials to defraud Hugh Culverhouse Jr. out of over $20 million dollars in damages???

A striking confirmation of the corruption present in the local law enforcement agencies and the institutionalized county-wide corruption is that Dubensky  now slides into retirement and local law enforcement does absolutely nothing concerning the documented illegalities brought out in the Culverhouse fraud case against Benderson, Rodriguez and Sarasota County officials. In addition not a word from law enforcement officials concerning serious  tax issues for Benderson, which were exposed with the discovery depositions of Benderson officials.

Not a word from Brodsky, Sarasota County officials or for  that matter the local F.B.I concerning testimony that gave evidence that laws were broken and corruption is  running rampant in Sarasota County.

Most troublesome is that this lawsuit that started out as a multimillion dollar fraud case with Culverhouse seeking a settlement of a dispute over a development called the EEZ Project in Osprey, has not expanded into a federal investigation of not  only  the inner workings of a corrupt Sarasota County Government under Ley and the current Sarasota County Government, but also the inner workings of the Benderson Corporation.

Among other nefarious issues now being exposed in the inner workings of Benderson Development are potential serious tax issues, which were revealed through discovery of various emails and depositions gathered in the Culverhouse litigation that brought Benderson tax fraud allegations to the surface.  In addition, false statements have been documented under oath made by Benderson legal advisor, David Baldauf (legal advisor to Benderson Corporation for 27 years) and Ed Vogler (local legal advisor to Benderson). (SEE ATTACHMENT 7)

What illustrates overwhelming confirmation that the local law enforcement agencies  are part of the institutionalized county-wide corruption is that Dubensky now slides into retirement, convicted felon, Bob Waecther lobbies the Sarasota Charter Review Board comprised of members that he got elected, Jim Ley is back in Sarasota after an exile in Kentucky and is now employed by Gary Kompothecras, Henry Rodriguez is now also working with Kompothecras on a project in Osprey between trips to his retreat in North Carolina, Benderson continues to rip off the public with his $70 million rowing park scam, and to top it all off,  Nora Patterson runs for the Florida State Senate!




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