Dubensky Delivers For Benderson, Rodriguez, Ley And Patterson
April 21, 2015
By Jon Susce
In the Godfather trilogy there is a scene when Vito Corleone informs a man seeking a favor from the mobster, that if the Godfather grants him the favor he seeks, there will come a time when the mobster will ask for a favor in return.
Did the time come for Judge Peter Dubensky to pay back the mobsters who control Sarasota and Manatee County Government? Or, as Tom Lyons wrote in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, referencing what most people find shocking and regard as Dubensky’s weird ruling, “The judge must have been paid off.”
How else 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 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 Randy Benderson and Henry Rodriguez conspired with Sarasota County officials to defraud Hugh Culverhouse Jr. and awarded Culverhouse over $20 million in damages.
The Oddest Thing About Dubensky’s Ruling Is That He Ordered Benderson To Do And Pay Exactly What Benderson Offered Culverhouse Thirthy Mintues Before The Trial Started— Coincidence Or Fix? … You, The Reader, Decide.
In reality, how can any reasonable person be shocked by Dubensky’s incredible and scandalous decision knowing that Dubensky is a product of a local judicial system that has multi- million dollar developer, Pat Neal as the chairman of a committee that recommends Judges to be appointed to the 12th Judicial Circuit. Consider, that according to the Bradenton Herald the panel headed by Neal has recently sent the names of five nominees to Governor Rick Scott for a seat on the 12th Judicial Circuit.
How can any reasonable person be shocked by DubenskIy’s decision knowing that former Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson’s husband, attorney John Patterson, has chaired and served on numerous committees for many years that have recommended judges like Dubensky to serve in the 12th Judicial Circuit. (Nora Patterson was recently accused by Henry Rodriguez of giving him inside information on a upcoming vote in exchange for a campaign contribution).
Sarasota County Government Corrupt From Top To Bottom
How can anyone be shocked by Dubensky’s absurd decision knowing that every politician—from Judge to Charter Review Board member—have their political campaigns managed by a corrupt political machine headed-up by convicted felon, Bob Waechter, Eric Robinson and Mac Stevenson; and financed by multi-million dollar developers like Neal, Benderson, Carlos Beruff, Rex Jensen and a few others. If your head is still buried in the sand and you are unwilling or unable to believe just how corrupt the local political system is, just take a day to follow the money at your local Sarasota/Manatee County Supervisor of Election’s office.
Dubensky Has Only Media
Reprensentative Covering Case Removed
What should of have been my first clue that Dubensky was “in the bag” is when Dubensky agreed with the request of the Benderson/Rodriguez legal team to remove this reporter from the court room. The ridiculous reason Dubensky agreed upon as justification for my removal, was that Benderson/Rodriguez alleged that I was talking to witnesses. Please tell me—if indeed I was doing this—what is wrong with a reporter talking to witnesses?
I was forced to file a motion with Dubensky to the effect that my constitutional right to freedom of the press was being violated. I solicited ACUL representative, Michael Barfield to represent me and Dubensky reluctantly allowed this reporter to follow the court proceedings.
By the way, no one media representative other than this reporter covered this trial or the numerous pretrial motion hearings until the last day of closing arguments—which says volumes about the way in which the local media desires not to observe up close, the way in which multi-million developers like Benderson corrupt Sarasota County Government.
The absurd reason given by Dubensky for the reversal, which shocked most of the local community (inclusive of many court officials in the Manatee courthouse) was: (according to Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald Tribune) “there was not enough legal basis for most for the claims in the case to substantiate the verdict for Culverhouse.”
Did Jury Follow Dubensky’s Instructions?
If Dubensky actually believes that, then there is a serious problem with Dubensky’s judicial acumen and fitness as a jurist. For example, the following is Dubensky’s instructions to the jury as they were about to begin deliberations:
“Members of the jury you have now heard and received all the evidence in this case. I am now going to tell you the rules of law in this case that you must use in reaching this verdict. When I finish telling you about the rules of law, the attorneys will present their final arguments and you will then retire to decide your verdict.” (SEE ATTACHMENT BELOW)
Did Dubensky Articulate Rules of Law To Jury?
The jury did exactly what was asked, and if, as Dubensky claims “the jury did have not have enough of a legal basis for most of the claims in the case to substantiate the verdict for Culverhouse,” it was not their problem; it was Dubensky’s problem due to his inability to articulate the rules of law.
One has to remember that this all-woman, six member jury had four university graduates, one of whom with a master’s degree. For Dubensky to question their intellectual capacity to understand his instructions on the rule of law is preposterous, and seriously brings into question Dubensky’s judicial competence.
It appears Dubensky has been keeping company for too long around the Sarasota County good ol’ boys, who only use women as politicians to carry their water.
Dubenseky’s Ruling Absured
There is absolutely no ethical or reasonable way Dubensky could make the decision that he made a week ago, with respect to a trial that so clearly exemplified the corruption of Sarasota County Government under the management of former Sarasota County Administrator, Jim Ley. For Dubensky to have ruled that there was not enough legal basis for most of the claims in the case to substantiate the verdict for Culverhouse is ABSURD.
A clear example of Dubensky’s absurdity is his ruling in question two, in which the jury ruled that Benderson (VOTT) was in breach of contract by conspiring with Rodriguez to defraud Culverhouse. Dubensky allowed the $150,000 to remain as judgment assessed to be paid to Culverhouse for the breach of contract by VOTT.
But what was completely absurd and ridiculous, and made a mockery out of Dubensky is that in question one (in which the jury once again ruled that Benderson (VOTT) was in a breach of contract by conspiring with Rodriguez to defraud Culverhouse) and had awarded $2 million in damages to be paid to Culverhouse—Dubensky threw that verdict out! (SEE ATTACHMENT BELOW )
Quite simply, Dubensky threw out the $2 million in damages to be paid to Culverhouse due to a breach of contract by VOTT, but allowed $150,000 the jury awarded Culverhouse to remainfor breach of contract by VOTT in conspiring with Benderson to defraud Culverhouse. If that makes any logical sense,even to a first year law student, please tell him or her to take up a profession other than law.
Dubensky’s decision is so completely bizarre that Benderson attorney, Steve Chase is finding it nearly impossible to write the order that Dubensky requested him to write concerning his weird rulings.
Why Did Dubensky Wait Two Weeks To Determine That There Was No Legal Basis For Jury Decision?
No doubt the University of Denver Law School where Dubensky received his law school diploma did not offer any logic courses or if they did, Dubensky must have skipped that course. For example, why did Dubensky not logically deduce (as he ruled last week) “that there was not enough of a legal basis” to warrant that Rodriguez/Benderson conspired with Sarasota County officials to defraud Culverhouse, and rule on behalf of Benderson/Rodriguez attorneys for acquittal, after Culverhouse’s attorney rested their case?
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 after both the plaintiff and defense rested their cases, and the jury began their deliberations?
Dubensky Grants Immunity to County Officials
The reason is quite simple: Dubensky believed that by his ruling that former Sarasota County Commissioners Nora Patterson, Shannon Staub, Joe Barbetta and other Sarasota County officials had immunity from testifying by evoking Legislative Privilege, there was no way Culverhouse attorneys could substrate their case.
For example, on several occasions in pretrial hearings Dubensky stated that he couldn’t see how Culverhouse attorneys could make their case if Sarasota County officials could justify not testifying by evoking Legislative Privilege. Nevertheless, he ruled that he would allow the trial to go forward.
Another pretrial decision made by Dubensky, which was favorable to Rodriguez and Benderson and made it difficult for Culverhouse’s lead attorney Steven Hutton to make his case, was that he ruled that the jury could not be informed that Sarasota County officials had immunity from testifying due to evoking of Legislative Privilege.
As any first year law school student would understand, even if a defendant exercises his/her legal rights not to testify, the jury can make their own determination if that decision is predicated on avoidance of evidence that could indict the witness.
Those pretrial rulings by Dubensky essentially gave immunity to Sarasota County officials by allowing those officials not to answer questions before the jury so as to determine if they committed illegal activities. No doubt Dubensky believed, as he stated in remarks during pretrial motions, it would be difficult for Hutton to prove Benderson and Rodriguez defrauded Culverhouse.
By essentially granting immunity to Sarasota County officials by allowing them to invoke “Legislative Privilege,” Dubensky allowed those officials to avoid answering questions pointing to a conspiracy between Benderson and Rodriguez to defraud Culverhouse by enticing Sarasota County officials with campaign contributions and other gifts.
Patterson Allowed By Dubensky To
Make Mockery Of Legal System
For example, what would have been the response be of former Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson if she was called as a witness in the trial, and was asked to respond to Rodriguez’ admission under oath, that he doctored an email exchange between himself and Patterson on October 14, 2010? This particular email clearly indicated Patterson had passed inside information to Rodriguez regarding an upcoming Sarasota County Commission vote and discussion involving the EEZ Project set to take place on October 26, 2015, in exchange for a campaign contribution.
What would Patterson’s response have been if she was asked to respond to Rodriguez’ statement under oath admitting that he doctored the email in order “not to go to jail” and had done so because, “it would be illegal if he did not do so”?
What would have been Patterson’s response if she was asked why Rodriguez destroyed the hard drive on his computer to avoid turning over the email exchange between himself and Patterson, which Rodriguez stated would send him to jail had he not done this?.
What would have been Patterson’s response if she was asked by Hutton why it took Sarasota County Attorneys Steven DeMarsh and Alan Roddy over 13 months to deliver the doctored Rodriguez email exchange, which Rodriguez testified was an action he performed in order not to go to jail?
Unfortunately, for the jury and the general public, Dubensky gave immunity to Patterson by allowing Patterson to invoke “Legislative Privilege.” Not only did Dubensky give Patterson immunity to prosecution, but he also gave immunity to other Sarasota County Commissioners like Joe Barbetta, Shannon Staub and Sarasota County Deputy Administrator Dave Bullock.
Consider what Barbetta’s response would have been if he was asked by Hutton whether the statement he read on October 26, 2010, recommending deferral of the EEZ Project, was written by Ley, as Ley so testified under oath at the trial? What would the response have been from Barbetta, Staub and other Sarasota County officials, if after numerous emails uncovered in discovery by Culverhouse attorneys, gave evidence that they had been influenced by Benderson and Rodriguez to vote to defer the EEZ Project on October 26, 2010?
Dubensky Shields Patterson From Indictment
By granting “immunity,” Dubensky shielded Nora Patterson and other commissioners and county employees from indictment by the US Attorney in Tampa. DUBENSKY KNOWS THAT THIS APPEAL WILL TAKE 18 MONTHS OR LONGER AND BY THEN THE FEDERAL CRIMINAL STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS WILL HAVE EXPIRED.
Dubensky will save John ctmentwife, former Commissioner Nora Patterson, from being indicted for bribery as the result of Henry Rodriquez’ testimony. He will cause the statute to run out on bribery charges against Ley and others, including several other commissioners. What an utter perversion of justice.
Dubensky Ignores Florida Supreme Court
As significant as it was that Dubensky granted immunity to Sarasota County officials by allowing them to invoke Legislative Privilege; also significant was Dubensky’s decision to essentially ignore a decision by the Florida Supreme Court concerning Legislative Privilege.
For example, in December 2013 the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the League of Women Voters that Florida state legislators and other Florida legislators and officials could not invoke “Legislative Privilege” in the League’s lawsuit concerning term limit legislation. Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente wrote that “the court must strike a balance between the constitutional rights of Florida citizens and the separation-of-powers principle.” Pariente continued, “We conclude that there is no unbending right for legislators and legislative staff members to hide behind a broad assertion of Legislative Privilege to prevent the discovery of relevant evidence and improper discriminatory intent.”
Deirdre Mcnab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida, commenting on the Florida Supreme Court Decision on Legislative Privilege stated: “No amount of kicking and screaming by legislators should prevent the will of the people from being followed.”
Dubensky Allowed County Officials To Abuse Legislative Privilege
Dubensky’s interpretation of “Legislative Privilege” enabled self-interested legislators like Patterson, Barbetta, Staub and other Sarasota County officials to abuse Legislative Privilege by shielding their misconduct from legal authorities and the public. Moreover, Dubensky’s improper broadening of the Legislative Privilege in this case has precluded needed inquiry into legislators like Patterson, Staub, Barbetta and other Sarasota County officials concerning the EEZ Project.
Jury Read Dubensky Instructions Correctly And Found Benderson And Rodriquez Guilty Of Conspiracy
Unfortunately for Dubensky, Rodriquez and Benderson the jury believed that Culverhouse lead attorney, Hutton, did indeed substantiate in a clear and concise fashion, Culverhouse’s claims that Benderson and Rodriguez conspired with Sarasota County officials to defraud him. Despite Dubensky’s efforts to obstruct justice—the jury agreed with Hutton.
(By the way, Hutton established himself in this trial, as no doubt, one of the state of Florida’s most outstanding litigators and clearly outclassed the attorneys for Rodriguez and Benderson both at the trial and during pretrial hearings).
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:
*CLEAR EVIDENCE OF INSIDE INFORMATION PASSED TO RODRIGUEZ BY PATTERSON FOR CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS.
*COMMISSIONER PATTERSON LED DISCUSSION FOR DEFERRAL OF EEZ PROJECT ON October 26, 2010.
*BENDERSON ATTORNEY, ED VOGLER FAILED TO ENDORSE EEZ PROJECT BEFORE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISION ON October 26, 2010.
*JURY GIVES CREDIBILITY TO CULVERHOUSE—DENIES CREDIBILITY TO BENDERSON, RODRIGUEZ AND LEY.
*”SMOKING GUN” EMAIL.
*PAULMANN TESTIFIES BENDERSON ASSERTS HE HAS THREE COMMISSIONERS IN HIS POCKET.
*RODRIGUEZ CLAIMS TO NEIGHBORHOOD OPPOSITION TO EZZ PROJECT IS BOGUS.
*LEY GIVING INSTRUCTIONS TO BARBETTA TO RECOMMEND DEFERRAL OF EEZ PROJECT.
*LEY’S SWORN TESTIMONY OF TAKING GIFTS FROM RODRIGUEZ AND KOMPOTHECRAS.
See ATTACHMENT BELOW which gives a detailed description of how Culverhouse’s lead attorney Steven Hutton in a expert fashion proved to the jury and those who sat in the courtroom and can determine that 2×2=4, that Benderson and Rodriguez conspired with Sarasota County officials to defraud Culverhouse.
Dubensky Verdict A Slap In The Face To Six Member Woman Jury
Dubensky’s decision is a mockery of our legal system. It is a slap in the face to the six women, who for two weeks took meticulous notes, engaged in days of deliberation, and came in with a verdict that was substantiated by the testimony of witnesses and numerous documents that Benderson and Rodriguez conspired with Sarasota County officials to defraud Culverhouse.
QUESTIONS NEEDING ANSWERS
1. Why did it take Dubensky over two weeks to decide that the jury made an incorrect decision concerning the legal merits of this case? Could it be the dirty little secret that Sarasota County Government was corrupt was revealed with this verdict and that this revelation was not going to go away? Thus, it became necessary for the mobsters who run Sarasota County Government to call in their chit from Dubensky.
2. Why was Dubensky confused and unable to answer Hutton’s questions to why he allowed $150,000 for breach of contract by Benderson and then throws out the $2 million breach of contract by Benderson?
3. Why did Dubensky have Chase write his rulings and not do it himself?
APPEALS COURT WILL DECIDE
BENDERSON, RODRIGUEZ AND DUBENSKY’S FATE
What is certain is that an Appeals Court in Lakeland, Florida will determine: Did the jury follow Dubensky’s instructions to the letter on reaching their verdict or did Dubensky fail to give the jury the proper legal instruction? In addition, as even Dubensky essentially stated after making his very troublesome, weird decision— the final decision of how a corrupt Sarasota County Government operating under Ley will be determined in an Appeals Court in Lakeland.
“SEE ATTACHMENT BELOW ”
•Verdict Jury Instructions
•Complaint (Third Amended)
•JUDGE PETER DUBENSKY