The FBI is looking into Walton County Commissioner Scott Brannon and the county’s dealings with developers Lloyd Blue and Jay Odom TOM McLAUGHLIN / Daily News The FBI is looking into Walton County Commissioner Scott Brannon and the county’s dealings with developers Lloyd Blue and Jay Odom.
A federal subpoena obtained Monday by the Daily News calls on the county to produce email records for Blue and details of an Odom business venture. It also seeks “email communications sent to or from Walton County Board of County Commissioners member Scott Brannon.” Brannon’s email conversations have been the subject of an ongoing public records lawsuit. Read the subpoenas. » The subpoena, sent in mid-June, requests Walton County Attorney Toni Craig to either appear before a federal grand jury or produce a multitude of records. Craig opted to produce the records requested. “All documents requested were mailed directly to (FBI special agent James) Van Pelt,” Craig said in an email. Among the records requested were: l Email communication between county commissioners and Blue, his wife Alexa Pleas and/or their business, 331 Bayside Properties LLC. l Email communication between board members and Odom, who developed, among other things, the Hammock Bay subdivision in Freeport. l Email documents circulated between commissioners and Odom associates Kelly Williams, Laura Burrough, Jack Rhodes, Latilda Henninger and business interests Freeport 860, Crystal Beach Development and Henninger Development Concepts. l Records “pertaining to any cost-sharing, financing or interlocal agreement between Walton County and the city of Freeport” linked to the development of the 60-acre Freeport Regional Sports Complex. l Email communication between sitting County Commissioner Cecilia Jones and former County Commissioner Rozier “Ro” Cuchens. The subpoena specifically asks for documents sent from commission staff on behalf of commissioners and communications between “named members of the board of county commissioners and any specially-appointed counsel to Walton County.” Speculation about a possible federal investigation into a land transaction involving Blue, Brannon and George Ralph Miller, a lawyer appointed to represent the county, bubbled up in June during hearings in a public records case filed by county resident Suzanne Harris. Harris’ attorneys asked that their client be exempted from testifying about her discussions with federal agents regarding the so-called Chat Holley transaction. Blue’s attorney, Gary Shipman, argued at the hearing that proof needed to be provided that the discussions even occurred. He called for a representative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to show up in court and confirm that they had. State Rep. Matt Gaetz, who represented Harris, said the subpoena “confirms the FBI is investigating corruption in Walton County.” Shipman, who had seen the subpoena the Daily News received Monday, said he has yet to see evidence of the FBI focusing on Blue. “As far as I know there still isn’t an investigation involving the Chat Holley transaction,” he said. And he questioned the subpoena asking for Blue-generated emails. “Anyone who knows Lloyd Blue knows he doesn’t send emails,” Shipman said. “Lloyd Blue has never sent an email to Walton County or its commissioners, so there are no emails. Why they are asking for emails from Lloyd Blue I don’t know, unless they are trying to conceal something.” Shipman said it appeared to him the target of the investigation was Odom. Prior to now, Odom’s name had not been tied to the controversy that has engulfed Walton County and its commission for months. His reputation took a beating in 2010-2011, however, when he was indicted along with former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom and former Northwest Florida State College President Bob Richburg on grand theft charges. Odom, a major Republican benefactor, was accused along with Sansom and Richburg of conspiring to use $6 million in state educational funds to build an airplane hangar at Odom’s Destin Jet. The charges were dropped mid-trial on March 25, 2011. Odom, who heads Crystal Beach Development, began developing the Hammock Bay subdivision in 2006. In 2007, he announced he would donate 60 acres (worth an estimated $12 million) to Freeport so that the city could partner with Walton County to build the Freeport Regional Sports Complex. The complex, which opened in 2008, offers fields for softball, T-ball, baseball, soccer and basketball. It has tennis and beach volleyball courts, a playground, gardens and nature trails. “This investigation seems to involve the construction of the sporting park in Hammock Bay, which has nothing to do with Lloyd Blue,” Shipman said. “This seems to have a lot to do with Jay Odom.” Shipman also mentioned Odom’s ties to Matt Gaetz. Matt Gaetz said he had represented Odom in the past but does not represent him now. He said three years ago he represented Odom in a dispute over a tennis court at a facility in Walton County, but he could not recall the name of the recreational facility. Odom couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Monday.Original Story Here http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/walton-51055–.html Read more: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/walton-51055–.html#ixzz20ueBJqEI