Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sarasota PD Exonerated, Broker Who Lost $80 Million For Investors Off The Hook, Hurricane Looms In Gulf; All Is Well In Sarasota

Forget about the hurricane--right now, it's the least of Sarasota's worries.

In the just-released report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Dept. concerning their investigation into the events surrounding the arrest, suspected mistreatment of and payoff to sweep the whole incident under the rug (albeit, a very large rug) of Juan Perez by the Sarasota Police Dept, it has been officially determined that "the police are strong, the commissioners are good looking and the city manager is above average."

And it only took 2,000 pages for them to say so.

No estimate was given on the number of doughnuts required to reach that conclusion.

Perez, you may remember, became an internet sensation when police cameras caught his drunkenness shimmying out the window of a police cruiser at the Sarasota lockup and faceplanting. The arresting officer, upon noticing that his passenger had disembarked, kicked his handcuffed prisoner--or not, then stood with his foot on the prone Perez--or not, dependent upon whether you believe what you see with your own eyes on the video--or not.

Sarasota PD, upon learning that the video tape had been released to the media, made a haphazard attempt at an end around a potential lawsuit by convincing Perez to take a $400 check from the city (that, according to everyone questioned, NOBODY in city government signed) to let bygones be bygones.

There are those who would say that's a circumvention of justice. "They," in this instance, would not be the Hillsborough Sheriff's Dept.

According to their report: “Chief Abbott’s frustration with the matter resulted in what he admitted were inappropriate comments, made in jest, suggesting that the risk manager should have ‘coin’ and be prepared to bring ‘cash’ for an immediate settlement," causing an immediate flurry of activity of near-comical proportions (hauling Perez down to headquarters, finding a translator, bringing up the $400 deal to make it go away, only to have Perez think that the City wanted $400 FROM HIM to make it go away, having to pick up Perez IN A POLICE CAR to take him to the bank to cash his check and sign the waiver and returning him home and finding his lawyer and a reporter standing in the driveway) within the police department to make that happen.

Let's hope the chief never says anything like "Somebody oughta shoot that One-Eyed Dick jerk-off......" In jest, of course.

"Let's see, I've been on 'paid leave' for the last three months because of this. If I could pull this stunt, say, a couple times a year, I'D NEVER HAVE TO SHOW UP FOR WORK!!! It's the American dream........." da Chief

In another intensive, no-holds-barred, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may, we-don't-who-gets-hurt, right-is-right investigation here on the Suncoast, the former head of the Stanford Financial Group's Longboat Key office, Charles Vollmer, has been fined (kinda) and sanctioned (sorta) by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation for his role in the R. Allen Stanford $7 billion investment scam.

While Stanford himself lanquishes in the pokey, Vollmer was fined a less-than-whopping $37,500, banned from applying for a new broker's license until April and cannot pass "Go," although there is some debate as to whether or not he will still be able to collect $200. While some of his fleeced investors are outraged by what they consider a gross miscarriage of justice, it must be noted that Vollmer's clientele only lost $80 million investing in worthless CDs. So it's not like it was a lot of money or anything.

The receiver in the SEC's case against Stanford is trying to recover $367,000 from Vollmer that he made in commissions from CD sales. Of course, factoring in the fine and loss of six month's income due to state sanctions, the SEC will end up being able to collect only $42.68 out of that $367,000.

Vollmer already has a job lined up with another investment firm here in Sarasota, where five former Stanford advisors, including his stepson are already hard at work looking in the mirror and practicing saying, "Trust me" with a straight face.

Not to worry. The State of Florida has vowed "five years of increased regulatory scrutiny" when Vollmer gets his new broker's license. As opposed to the "no-scrutiny" policy that was in place before, apparently.

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