Blackketter Has to Go

DESPITE BEING A DOCUMENTED BENDERSON “GANGSTER” BLACKKETTER REMAINS HEAD OF BENDERSON’S $70 MILLION  ROWING PARK SCAM
PART I
By Jon Susce
Despite attempts by Kelly Thomas, to whitewash a pattern of abusive out of control-behavior by Paul Blackketter, President of Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associated, Inc. (SANCA) which manages the $70 million Public/Private Benderson rowing facility, Blackketter HAS TO GO.

The Thomas investigation of Blackketter, who was handpicked by Randy Benderson to manage his $70 million Public/Private rowing park scam, was initiated when Blackketter was recently caught on a video clearly acting out as a completely out of control, enraged individual, verbally abusing a fellow employee, Michael DePriest with the most foul, disgusting and repulsive language. (SEE ATTACHMENT NO. 1)

Thomas interviewed 31 individuals in his investigation to determine if Blackketter’s behavior, which was displayed on the video, was an isolated incident or  a pattern of abusive behavior toward other professionals.

THOMAS REPORT A WHITEWASH
Thomas attempted to cover up and whitewash Blackketter’s pattern of abusive behavior dating back to 2012 by conducting interviews with those who have a vested interest in Blackketter’s presence as  manager of the Benderson facility; people connected to the cover up of Blackketter’s behavior in the past few years.

Despite Thomas’ attempts to whitewash and cover up the Benderson gangster approach in operating his various business enterprises,  the most significant interviews documented in Thomas’s report, exhibit that Blackketter has a pattern of abusive  behavior.  These are the interviews Thomas had with three of Sarasota’s most prominent political, social and business leaders dating back two years before Blackketter “went off” on DePriest.

PROBLEMS WITH SUNSHINE VIOLATIONS?

For example on April 27, 2012 in a meeting between Blackketter, Rick Piccolo, Del Borgsdorf and John Cranor for purposes of discussion as to why Benderson was NOT PAYING VENDORS at the rowing park, among other problems, this is how Piccolo described that meeting with Blackketter to Thomas:

“The men discussed funding from the State of Florida, how everything must be in the sunshine and in compliance with state law, and how to pay for certain expenses. Blackketter got extremely angry, stood up, and raised his voice at the other board members.

He may have used profanity and stated the following, among other demeaning statements to the others:  ‘Who in the hell do you think you are?  You don’t know what you’re talking about.’  Piccolo, who is the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority’s longtime president and CEO, is responsible for making the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport one of the country’s most financially stable airports,  having run the airport since December of 1995,  overseeing about 130 airport employees.

Piccolo further stated to Thomas concerning Blackketter’s behavior: “He (Piccolo) has attended many business meetings and this meeting was very bad. All of the attendees were in shock at Blackketter’s verbal attack.”

According to Thomas, one month later, “Piccolo told Larry Fineberg,  who is another Benderson Project Manager, that Blackketter is not suitable to be on the SANCA Board due to his temper. Shortly thereafter, Blackketter called Piccolo and for five minutes complained to Piccolo that he had ruined his reputation.”

In the same report, Piccolo further stated, “that he believed the video incident with DePriest in 2014 that came to the surface this summer hurt the SANCA brand and their financing.  Another embarrassing incident occurred in 2014 when Blackketter failed to timely file the Annual Report for the charity’s 501(c)(3).”

BORGSDORF RESIGNS AFTER MEETING WITH BLACKKETTER
In Thomas’s report, this is what Borgsdorf had to say about the same meeting held on

April 27, 2015:  “They discussed the need for more private funding and Cranor questioned Blackketter on expenses and how the debts must be paid. Blackketter became very angry at the group. He raised his voice at them for five minutes. He stated that he was in the military and that their group did not understand.

Borgsdorf advised that this was a terrible meeting and display by another professional. After Blackketter’s incident with the board, Borgsdorf quit working with SANCA.”

Borgsdorf, who was the former City Manager of San Jose California and former Vice President of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, was further quoted in Thomas’s report stating the following: “Blackketter was too aggressive regarding the projects and that he heard that Blackketter acted inappropriately with former Chamber of Commerce employee, Valorie Hillerich. Borgsdorf advised that he viewed the 2014 video incident between Blackketter and DePriest. He stated that he was appalled at Blackketter’s behavior and was worried it would make it difficult to raise money while Blackketter was the CEO.”

BLACKKETTER NEEDS “PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP”
Borgsdorf further stated, “he believes that an intervention is needed and Blackketter should receive psychological help, including anger management courses. Blackketter is lacking in professional social skills and must learn to work with people that disagree with you.” (Thomas was inaccurate in stating Borgsdorf was a former City Manager in Sarasota. Borgsdorf was a former City Manager in San Jose California).
“VENDORS NOT BEING PAID”

This is how Cranor, who is on the board of several corporations, CEO of multi- million dollar corporations, President & CEO of New College Foundation, Inc. from 2003-2008 and other numerous distinguished positions,  described the April 27, 2012  meeting with Blackketter:

“The purpose of the meeting was to sort out SANCA expenses, activities, and fund raising. VENDORS WERE NOT BEING PAID and Blackketter was questioned about the problem. Blackketter claimed we were trying to hurt him, his family, and his career. He also stated that we were calling him a liar and that he ‘was a military officer.’ He was very confrontational. The tirade lasted approximately five minutes and his overall behavior was very poor. Blackketter never contacted Cranor to apologize.” Cranor  resigned from the SANCA Board shortly after that meeting.

FINEBERG TOLD OF BLACKKETTER BEHAVIORAL ISSUES IN 2012
Another individual with the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce interviewed by Thomas, who was not identified by Thomas, made this statement to Thomas concerning his investigation: “The Chamber’s Executive Vice-President, Del Borgsdorf, had the most contact with SANCA and Paul Blackketter and was aware that Borgsdorf,  John Cranor, and Rick Piccolo had a big problem with Blackketter and quit working with him after a bad meeting in 2012.”

Furthermore, this witness continued, “In 2013, Benderson Development Vice-President, Larry Fineburg called for his opinion on placing Blackketter as chairman of the SANCA Board and told Fineburg that he would not recommend Blackketter for the board position because of his unprofessional behavior at the 2012 meeting with Borgsdorf, Piccolo, and Cranor. Shortly thereafter, Blackketter called and stated, ‘What are you trying to do saying I was not qualified?’ Blackketter was forceful and loud during the conversation.” (Thomas’s spelling of Cranor’s name, as “Craner” is mis-spelled. In addition, Thomas’ spelling of Fineberg’s  name as Fineburg is also mis-spelled).

 

 

BENDERSON INFORMED OF BLACKKETTER

BEHAVIORAL ISSUES IN 2012

There can be little doubt that Benderson was informed by Fineberg in 2012 of the comments made by some of Sarasota’s leading business, social and political leaders concerned with Blackketter’s behavioral problems and his leadership as President of SANCA.

 

In addition, there is also little doubt that others involved with promoting the Benderson $70 million Public/Private Partnership scam, were well  aware of Blackketter’s confrontation with Piccolo, Borgsdorf, Cranor and others in 2012, but they (and Benderson) all failed to act,  and Blackketter continued in his position as President of the $70 million Benderson rowing facility.

Two years later Blackketter’s violent abusive behavior is caught on a video and once again another Randy Benderson gangster-thug is allowed to continue to operate in a similar manner to that described by Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier when describing the actions of another Benderson Project Manager, Fineberg.

FOURNIER: “NOBODY SAYS NO TO BENDERSON”

For example, Fournier described Fineberg’s behavior with the City of Sarasota staff in this manner: “indignant, confrontational and intimidating.” Fournier added that Fineberg gave the impression “that nobody says no to Benderson.” Fournier further described the Benderson approach to the city as, “once they get their foot in the door they take down the hinges.”

FOURNIER: “FINEBERG ACTED MORE LIKE

GANGSTER THAN A DEVELOPER”

Fournier detailed Fineberg’s aggressive behavior when negotiating behind-the-scenes, back room discussions aimed at pressuring to get Benderson what he needs.  Fournier stated, “that never in his 35 years of dealing with developers, he had ever witnessed behavior like Feinberg exhibited.” Fournier stated that the Benderson representative “acted more like a gangster than a developer.”

Fineberg was indignant, confrontational and intimidating. “Despite all the efforts of Thomas to  whitewash and cover up the Blackketter pattern of abusive behavior, there is no doubt that Blackketter has displayed a similar pattern to the one Fournier describes as the method of operation for  Randy Benderson Project Manager’s,  when he described Benderson Project Manager,  Larry Feinberg  as someone who “acts more like a gangster than a developer.”

What is a clear example of the type of behavior Benderson condones in his Project Managers like Blackketter, Fineberg and DePriest  is depicted in this outrageous Blackketter/DePriest confrontation.  Not only in Thomas’ report does Blackketter use the most foul, disgusting and repulsive language described in the video, but so does DePriest.

DePRIEST AND BLACKKETTER  “TIED TOGETHER”

| IN BENDERSON $19.5  NO BID CONTRACT WITH SARASOTA COUNTY

One needs to remember that these two Benderson Project Managers, who were engaged in this verbal confrontation using  the most foul, disgusting and repulsive language had integral involvement with the hiring of numerous vendors in connection with the $19.5 million no-bid rowing park contract that Benderson had obtained from Sarasota County Government.  On numerous occasions DePriest came before the Sarasota County Commission with Blackketter to seek approvals for Benderson rowing park expenditures.

It is simply outrageous that the present SANCA Board voted unanimously to allow this Benderson gangster-thug, Blackketter to continue as the face, as the President, of SANCA, with more than 42,000 rowers, coaches and support staff from across the globe planning to travel to  Southwest Florida for the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota.

Calls to Virginia Haley, who has been closely involved with the operations at the Benderson facility, as head of the Sarasota County Tourist Development/Visit Sarasota and to Thomas were not returned
NEXT
PART II

DESPITE BEING A DOCUMENTED BENDERSON THUG, BLACKKETTER REMAINS HEAD OF BENDERSON’S $70 MILLION ROWING PARK SCAM

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