Patterson Taking “Cruise To Nowhere” To Avoid Possible Criminal Charges

Nora PattersonBy JON SUSCE

Alan Roddy, the Sarasota County attorney representing former Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson, has filed a motion stating that Patterson’s appearance as a witness in the Hugh Culverhouse Jr., multi-million dollar lawsuit against Randy Benderson and Henry Rodriquez, “will cause a severe hardship and substantial expense” for Patterson.

According to Roddy’s motion, former County Commissioner Patterson and her husband, attorney John Patterson have conveniently planned an ocean “cruise to nowhere” scheduled to take place between March 3rd and March 14th, 2015. Thus according to Ms. Patterson, she will be unavailable to appear in court to testify for most-likely the entire duration of the trial.

Judge Peter DubenskyPatterson states the following in a motion for a Protective Order excusing her from any subpoena between March 3rd to March 14th 2015: “I am booked for travel out of the country with my husband from March 3 through March 14, 2015. Except for traveling to and from Panama, we will be  in remote areas where I understand that internet service is either not available or not reliable.”Patterson continued, “Compelling me to appear at trial during my scheduled trip to Panama will cause a severe hardship and substantial expense for me.”

Patterson Aware In November of 2014 Of Trial Taking Pace In March of 2015

Patterson fails to mention that she was well-aware in November of last year, that the trial concerning the Culverhouse lawsuit was to come before Judge Peter Dubensky in early March of 2015. She had ample time to reschedule her ocean cruise and avoid causing herself a “severe hardship and a substantial expense.”

It’s incredible that Patterson has the audacity to try to pull-off the idea that her reason for failing to appear at the Culverhouse vs. Benderson/Rodriguez lawsuit, has anything to do with a “severe hardship” or a “substantial expense” for her.  Any reasonable person can see through this ridiculous excuse. Her real reason for avoiding public testimony is the fear of being placed under oath in an open courtroom, while being cross-examined by Culverhouse’s criminal attorneys.

Patterson’s Role In Alleged Fraudulent Conspiracy

County Commissioner Henry RodriquezRandy BendersonPatterson’s apprehension is not unlike any individual fearing potential criminal charges, which may arise in connection with her sworn testimony, especially if federal investigators are in attendance. Patterson’s sworn testimony will concern her role in allegedly allowing local, state and federal public funds to fraudulently enhance the financial gain of Benderson and Rodriguez at the expense of Culverhouse in the EEZ Project in Osprey.

Patterson/Rodriguez “Doctored” Email

What is of grave concern to Patterson and her alleged co-conspirator, Rodriguez is an email exchange between Patterson and Rodriguez on October 15, 2010. This exchange was originally in the form of one email, but was mysteriously transformed into two separate email exchanges.

The reason this email was “doctored” into two separate emails (by whomever) is that Patterson’s provision of information to Rodriguez, concerning an up-coming vote and discussion before the Sarasota County Commission on the EEZ project, was tied to a political campaign contribution to Patterson. To be exact, a campaign contribution that came from multi-million-dollar developer, Rodriguez to Commissioner Patterson during her re-election to the Sarasota County Commission in 2010 in an email exchange discussing “inside” financial information favorable to Rodriguez, was attempted to be covered up. One additional reason Patterson has become unavailable to testify in the upcoming trail is that in a sworn deposition, Patterson stated that Rodriguez altered the Jim LeyOctober 15th email.  The reason why Rodriguez wanted the email altered was so as not to have the contribution to Patterson tied into receiving inside information from Patterson. The email exchange between Patterson and Rodriguez provides weighty evidence that former Sarasota County Administrator, Jim Ley and other Sarasota County officials conspired illegally with Benderson and Rodriguez to have Culverhouse removed from the EEZ Project, especially in light of emails found on Commissioner Nora Patterson’s private email address ( Based on this and other email exchanges on Patterson’s private email address, there is little doubt that Commissioner Patterson informed Rodriguez on October 15, 2010 of inside information concerning the vote which was to take place at the Sarasota County Commission meeting on October 26, 2010. In this October 15th email, former Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson informs Rodriguez that the EEZ  Project will not be moving forward, as there will be a delay on the decision which will be financially beneficial to Rodriguez and Benderson, and to the financial detriment of Culverhouse. Again, what makes the email exchange between Patterson and Rodriguez a serious illegal campaign violation is that this email exchange gives a clear indication that Patterson is giving Rodriguez inside information on an upcoming vote by the Sarasota County Commission, and that her doing so is tied to a campaign contribution made by Rodriguez to her re-election in 2010.

Former Virginia Governor, Robert McDonnellGovernor of Alabama, Don SiegelmanFor example, by agreeing not to move forward on the EEZ Project before discussions took place before the Sarasota County Commission (an agreement that would have been of financial benefit to Rodriguez) and tying this agreement to a campaign contribution, is similar to what sent former Governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman and former Virginia Governor, Robert McDonnell to prison.

The amount of the contribution makes no difference whatsoever; it is the intent of the contribution that matters.

Randy BendersonIn addition to the campaign contribution mentioned in the referenced email, there were thousands of dollars in other campaign contributions from both Rodriguez and Benderson finding their way into Commissioner Patterson’s re-election campaign in 2010.

There is little doubt that Patterson’s reason for taking her ocean “cruise to nowhere” is to avoid answering questions under oath involving this October 15th email, and other emails concerning her alleged fraud conspiracy with  Rodriguez and Benderson.

Morgan Bentley

Bentley Makes Motion To Have “Doctored” Email Excluded

In another recent related motion by Morgan Bentley, attorney for Rodriquez, is to have the October 15th email exchange and other damaging emails from Patterson to Rodriguez and Benderson, excluded from being placed in as evidence by Culverhouse attorneys.

Email Gives Evidence Benderson Has Three Sarasota County Commissioners

One more major problem with the October 15th email exchange between Commissioner Patterson and Rodriquez is that it gives added credence to allegations made by Culverhouse and others asserting that Benderson did indeed have “three county commissioners in his pocket,” with the intention to limit Culverhouse’s participation in the EEZ Project.

(More to be reported on yet another recent motion made by attorneys representing Benderson and Rodriguez, to have testimony against Benderson excluded from evidence— testimony which asserts that Benderson boasted having “three Sarasota county commissioners in his pocket”)

Posted in Breaking News, News, Politics, Regional / Local News, Regional / Local Politics

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