Neal’s Involvement In Selecting Local Judges Has To End

Neal’s Involement In Selecting Local Judges Has To End

Jon Susce


The recent announcement by the local 12th Judicial nominating committee of the finalist to succeed retiring Judge Peter Dubensky would be comical if it were not so outrageous.  It’s a prime example of why multi-million dollar developer, Pat Neal has to be removed from his position on the 12th Judicial Circuit nominating committee.

For example, two of the finalists that Neal and his cronies have sent along as nominees to Governor Rick Scott are nothing more than the recipients of rewards given to those who do the bidding of the local Don Corleone figure, Pat Neal.

Two of the recommendations are so outrageous that if Scott decides to choose one of these handpicked Neal lackeys,htcscott Governor Scott will begin to look more and more like the U.S Senator from Nevada depicted in the Godfather Trilogy, that the Corleone mob had under their control.


Bentley Resembles a Local  “Mob” Lawyer

One of the finalists is attorney, Kevin Bruning, who is Morgan Bentley’s law partner.  Bentley is the attorney who comes as close as one can get in being called the local “mob” lawyer.  For example, how else would you describe an attorney who represents clients like Bob Waechter, Henry Rodriguez, Joe Barbetta and Randy Benderson?

Neal Appointed By Crist–Reappointed By Scott

Neal was first appointed to this Judicial nominating committee in 2010 by the former Governor Charlie Crist.  Neal was reappointed by Governor Scott in 2014 for another four years. Neal, no doubt will be reappointed by another Governor that he “Pays to Play” unless he is dismissed.

Grgic Set Up Appointments For Nealngr
Neal served as Chairman of the local Judicial committee until July of this year. As Chairman of the committee anyone seeking to be a Judge in the area had to set up an appointment with Neal through Mary Ann Grgic, who is an attractive young female employee of Neal’s.  Grgic accompanies Neal on various campaign trips throughout the state collecting campaign contributions for Neal’s handpicked candidates, which include local, statewide and national politicians.


Crofoot Another Employee Of Neal’s Hustling Campaign Contributions

cmcBy the way, Ivory Crofoot is another one of Neal’s attractive young ladies employed by Neal to “smooch” major campaign contributors back to Neal’s anointed candidates like Presidential candidate, Jeb Bush. Neal certainly has a keen eye for attractive young ladies to “put the arm” on wealthy donors in order to lure them to support of  his various handpicked politicians, and Crofoot is no exception.  For example, when Crofoot is not accompanying Neal on the road or at Neal’s corporate office in Lakewood Ranch, Crofoot is actively involved with swim suit and muscle building activities in places like New Jersey.


dudmTwo other attractive young women who once worked for Neal at his 5800 Lakewood Boulevard location in Lakewood Ranch and raised thousands of dollars for Neal’s handpicked candidates for political office, are Rochelle Dudley and Candice McElyea.


Dudley, who recently married local Sarasota and Washington D.C attorney Casey mcznColburn, works for U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson.  McElyea has formed another political promotion company with Susan Nilon and Christian Ziegler called THREESIXOH, no doubt promoting Neal’s candidates and “causes/issues.”




Neal “Rules The Roost” Of
Judicial Nominating Committee

What is hilarious is the way Neal has attempted to “slither” into the background on the local Judicial nominating committee. For example, the individual “chosen” to succeed Neal as Chairman is William Robinson of the Blalock and Walters law firm. Get this; Robinson’s expertise is “primarily in the areas of real estate and land use zoning and development.”

One wonders if Robinson or his firm has done business “in the areas of real estate and land use zoning and development” with Neal Development or for that matter, business with other Neal multi-million dollar developers in Neal’s MAFIA style organization such as Carlos Beruff or Rex Jensen? Neal no doubt “rules the roost” of this local Judicial nominating committee from his perch as Vice Chairman.


Bruning & Bentley Defend Rodriguez In Fraud Lawsuit


As for Bruning’s potential appointment as a Judge, despite being a really “nice” guy and no doubt a faithful husband and good father to his two children; Bruning, along with Morgan Bentley was part of the duo that represented Henry Rodriguez in the Hugh Culverhouse fraud case against Rodriguez and Randy Benderson were found by a jury of six to have acted in collusion with Sarasota County officials in defrauding Culverhouse.

dubjugThe jury awarded Culverhouse over $20 million, but another Neal lackey, Judge Peter Dubensky threw out the jury’s decision.

What is incredible, as Dubensky rides into the sunset (before a Lakeland appeals judge throws out his shameful and outrageous decision in the spring of 2016) is that
Neal happens to be on a Judicial nominating committee that now recommends Dubensky be replaced by a local judge who will protect frauds like Benderson and Rodriguez,
especially Benderson.


Benderson is a major cog in Neal’s criminal enterprise, due to Benderson contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to Neal’s handpicked local, state and national candidates. By the way, I wonder if Benderson understands that he is just one of Neal’s flunkies and that he better not cross him?


Rodriguez Damages Neal’s Ego In Not Being
Local Yokel “King Maker” And Pays The Price


For example, how could anyone forget the job Rodriguez accomplished in deflating Neal’s enormous ego, and how Rodriguez was eventually banished to exile in North Carolina for sending the email (excerpts below) back in 2011 to former Sarasota County Commissioner Shannon Staub?  Rodriguez wrote that himself, not Neal was Scott’s “Boy” in the Sarasota/Manatee area:

“There are many people that sometimes may get ‘jealous’ when Henry gets all the attention with the past Governor (Christ) and now I am with this new governor (Scott) even closer and more assignments. I’m easing in slowly so as to be inclusive with others.”

“Susanne (Rodriquez’s wife) is only one of the 20 Hosts for the Inaugural HOST Committee in the entire state for The Tallahassee ball –and I am one of them. The list includes ambassadors, governors, ex RPOF Chairs and the like. No one else locally is on that list.”

“What I have to be careful with people like Pat Neal is that he does not think that I am not the continued perceived ‘King Maker’ as some call it—he did not like that about me with Charlie—so that is why I am spreading the credit around for now. When Pat found out I was the host he cancelled the ski trip he had with me.”

“Although Rick and I are very close—closer than even Charlie if you can imagine. None call the Inaugural Committee and get tickets in this area without me.”


Neal, no doubt would not tolerate anyone other than himself as   the local “King Maker,” and Benderson better not forget it, especially when Neal can get local judges to overturn a $20 million jury decision against his flunkies like Benderson and Rodriguez and get his “Mob” lawyer’s law partner recommended for appointment as a local

Who better to carry Neal’s water on the bench than a law partner of Bentley, a man whom Neal has stated would be his choice for numerous political offices, if Bentley chooses to run—  even though Neal is a Republican and Bentley, a Democrat.

As motioned above, Bruning is very nice young man, who before deciding to become an attorney attended the University of Missouri to become a journalist. Unfortunately, Bruning’s judicial experience, irrespective of his excellence as an attorney doing numerous foreclosure proceedings on properties, is nearly nonexistent in court rooms.
For example, until the Rodriguez/Benderson fraud case, Bruning was never even involved in cross examining witnesses.

At the trial Bruning asked Bentley if he could cross examine a witness, which Bentley agreed to allow. Bruning then proceeded to ask his wife to witness the great  judicial exercise that Bruning was about to perform. After asking a few irrelevant questions, Bruning sat down and proceeded to resume his superfluous duties for Rodriguez and Bentley.


Did Rodriguez And Benderson “Stiff” Bentley


Evidently Bruning is hoping to get off the sinking Bentley law practice which was reportedly “stiffed” by Rodriguez with respect to legal fees and then once again “stiffed” by Benderson, who supposedly was to assist with Rodriguez’ legal fees. This was in connection with the $20 million dollar fraud case, which was overturned by a “home cooked” decision by Dubensky.

When I asked Bruning if Rodriguez and Benderson had reneged on legal fees due Bentley,  Bruning stated he didn’t know and I needed to ask Bentley. Calls to Bentley have not been returned and calls to Rodriguez and Benderson to confirm or deny if they “stiffed” Bentley have not been returned.


Benderson Has History Of “Stiffing” Vendors

deepakBy the way, Benderson has a history of stiffing local merchants and gets away with it, because local merchants don’t have the financial resources to take this carpetbagger from Buffalo to a local courtroom.  In addition, Benderson has “Godfather” Neal’s protection in the local courts, as witnessed in the Culverhouse fraud

Dredge America avoided Neal’s local Judicial “home cooking” in aiding Benderson by suing Benderson in a court room in Tampa to get back  the money Benderson owes Dredge America for work they completed on Benderson’s rowing park. Incredibly, Benderson had been paid over two years ago, $500,000 by Sarasota County to pay Dredge America for work completed.

Without local judicial “home cooking,” available in Tampa, Benderson “ponied up” $395,000 to pay Dredge America the money Benderson owed them. Equally incredible, Benderson has subsequently asked Sarasota County officials to reimburse him the $395,000!

Iten & Brodsky Pay Back For
“Slap On The Wrist” To Waechter


Almost as disgraceful as Neal’s and the committee that Neal no doubt presides over as the “Kingfish,” is the recommendation of Brian Iten for a Judge in local 12th  Judicial District. Although Iten’s courtroom experience is more extensive than Bruning’s— but what local attorney’s is not?

Iten is just another player in a Mafia type of criminal enterprise operation that Neal controls in his  Manatee and Sarasota County fiefdom. For example, Iten was the attorney appointed by the 12th Judicial District States Attorney Ed Brodsky to prosecute Bob Waechter for criminally conspiring to destroy the political career of Lourdes Ramirez, who had the temerity to run against a Neal handpicked candidate for the Sarasota County Commission, Al Maio.

Iten, being the loyal “solider” in Brodsky’s entourage of prosecutors, proceeded to recommend the proverbial “slap on the wrist” to Waechter, which was no doubt a clear example of a reward for Waechter’s years of service for being essentially a political operative for Neal.

Case in point, Waechter handpicks the politicians who will fit nicely into the pockets of Neal and his cronies. Waechter then, along with another Neal political operative, Mac Stevenson manage the campaigns and Neal  and his fellow travelers finance the campaigns of politicians like Brodsky.

Waechter’s Political Connections

For example, in a deposition concerning the multimillion dollar lawsuits filed by Hugh Culverhouse Jr. against Randy Benderson, Henry Rodriguez, Jim Ley and Sarasota
County, Waechter was smug and full of bravado when asked how many recent local politicians’ campaigns he has been involved with:


“It will be an incomplete list, but I have assisted in most Republican campaigns in Sarasota County at least the past—recent past, Shannon Staub, Nora Patterson, Carolyn Mason, Bill Furst, Karen Rushing, David Mills, Jack O’Neil, Charles Hines, Nora Patterson, Christine Robinson. I’m certainly missing a few.” Only a political neophyte would not acknowledge, that one of the few Waechter was “missing” included Brodsky.

The FBI was interested in investigating Waechter’s political fraud case, which concerned more than his involvement in promoting the candidacy of Al Maio in the political campaign against Lourdes Ramirez for Sarasota County Commissioner, but Brodsky denied their request.

Benderson Becomes Another Flunkie
In Neal’s Organization

wiseguysNo doubt Bruning and Iten have proven to be loyal soldiers in Neal’s criminal enterprise by protecting his lackeys like Benderson, Rodriquez, and Waechter, especialy
Benderson.  For example, after obtaining Benderson a reprieve in his fraud law suit, Neal can now make Benderson into his “flunkie” and shake Benderson’s tree for
thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for Neal’s handpicked political candidates.

Benderson now joins Neal’s others like  Carlos Beruff, Rex Jensen, James Gabbert and other “wise guys” in Neal’s nefarious “Mafia” type organization following the lead of Godfather Neal. (Gabbert is a new Neal Gang member who fits nicely into Neal’s Gang by contributing heavily to Neal’s handpicked candidates).


I wonder if Benderson understands that he is on list of other Neal flunkies that Neal reports to  politicians like Rick Scott and Jeb Bush as part of Neal’s entourage?

It’s incredible how Sarasota looks more and more like a Mafia  controlled fiefdom with Neal promoting Bentley’s “water boy”, Bruning or Brodsky’s, “water boy” Iten

replacing his lackey, Dubensky.

No doubt ,Neal’s criminal enterprise is thriving in Sarasota with every public official in Sarasota County Government fitting nicely into Neal’s pocket— Judges,

Sheriff, States Attorney, County Commissioners, etc. Just follow the money and you will find Neal and his fellow gangster fingerprints over every public official in

Sarasota County’s campaign finance reports.

Don Coreleon would have been jealous of Neal’s criminal operation making $millions for him and his fellow gangsters.

The Local Godfather Protects Gang Members

godfatherTo reward individuals who protect Neal’s fellow mobsters like Rodriguez and Benderson is disgraceful. By the way, don’t forget the other mobster whom the jury agreed had conspired with Benderson and Rodriguez to defraud Culverhouse, none other than former Sarasota County Administrator Jim Ley, whose legal fees (close to $200,000) are being paid by Sarasota County Government.

If the recent announcement by the local 12th Judicial nominating committee naming Godfather Neal’s pick for the two finalists to succeed retiring Judge Peter Dubensky does not make it clear that Pat Neal has turned the local political scene into something resembling a political cesspool, and that Neal has to be removed from his position on the 12th Judicial Circuit nominating committee—nothing will.


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