Tuesday, June 21, 2011

United States Attorney Robert O’Neill as Crusader against Corrupt Public Officials

by James Scanlan, Esq.

Robert E. O’Neill has been the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida since October 2010. He is the subject of a number of Truth in Justice items related to his conduct as lead trial counsel in United States v. Dean, an Independent Counsel case O’Neill tried in 1993; a false statement he made concerning a District of Columbia Bar Counsel investigation of his conduct in the case in an application he filed for the United States Attorney position with the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission; and the likelihood that the false statement on the application or like false statement at some other point in the appointment/confirmation process violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001.

In an apparent effort to minimize the Bar Counsel investigation, O’Neill stated that it had been initiated by the convicted defendant. In fact, the investigation was self-initiated by Bar Counsel after reading a court of appeals opinion “deplor[ing]” certain conduct of O’Neill and his colleagues. While it is merely highly probable that O’Neill violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001, that he made a false statement on the Nominating Commission application is not open to question. See my February 19, 2011 Truth in Justice item styled “Robert E. O’Neill and 18 U.S.C. § 1001.
Last week, O’Neill was the subject of a June 17, 2011 St. Petersburg Times article styled “U.S. Attorney a Veteran at Fighting Corruption.” The article was prompted by O’Neill’s personal appearance in court on June 15 regarding the indictment on bribery and related charges of a former Hillsborough County commissioner named Kevin White. The article, which portrays O’Neill quite favorably, illustrates several things about the curious law enforcement situation in the Middle District of Florida.

O’Neill’s Unavailability for an Interview. In my September 26, 2010 Truth in Justice item styled “The Honorable Robert E. O’Neill Regrets That He Is Unable to Answer Questions from the Audience,” I suggested that O’Neill would be wise to avoiding situations where someone might ask him if he had lied on his United States Attorney application. The item was focused on speaking engagements. But the same point applies to interviews by journalists and other researchers.

The recent article stated that O’Neill declined to be interviewed and that a spokesman for O’Neill had stated that O’Neill’s schedule was too full. Given that the St. Petersburg Times has so far not printed a word about the false statement in O’Neill’s Nominating Commission application, there was little reason to expect that the interviewer would have inquired about the matter. But in allowing an interview O’Neill still would have taken a chance. And certainly he would face grave danger in an interview by a less favorably disposed entity than the St. Petersburg Times has so far been.

The Fitzgibbons Remarks. The article quoted Tampa defense lawyer John Fitzgibbons as stating that “’[O’Neill] is I think personally offended when public officials are being bribed or breaking the law.’” The article also states that Fitzgibbons said that since O’Neill was appointed the defense bar has noted an increase in white collar prosecutions. Fitzgibbons, as it happens, is the Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission that recommended O’Neill as one of three finalists for the United States Attorney position. Though Fitzgibbons was provided ample information indicating that O’Neill was unfit to serve as United States Attorney, including that he made a false statement in the application submitted to Fitzgibbons’ Commission, Fitzgibbons chose not to raise such matters in O’Neill’s interview before the Commission or otherwise allow them to interfere with O’Neill’s appointment. See Addendum 7 to the Robert E. O’Neill profile. Nor, apparently, has Fitzgibbons allowed such matters to affect his public remarks about O’Neill’s character. In any case, Fitzgibbons, at least by his role in deciding whom to recommend and whom not to recommend for the United States Attorney position, had a large role in causing O’Neill to be the United States Attorney. That should be borne in mind as one appraises Fitzgibbons’ remarks about O’Neill’s conduct in the position.

The 18 U.S.C. § 1001 Claim in the Kevin White Indictment. The Kevin White indictment includes a claim that White violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001. O’Neill’s appearance in court suggests that he may try the Kevin White case himself. Assuming that O’Neill’s false statement and the likelihood that he violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001 become widely known in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, the court may have problems both in impaneling a jury and seeing that such information does not come to the jury’s attention during the trial. And one has to wonder what precisely O’Neill will tell the jury or court about the seriousness of a violation of that statute. This particular issue, however, is but one manifestation of the prodigious incongruousness of having a United States Attorney known to have lied while seeking the position.

The St. Petersburg Times Discussion of the Dean Case. In my October 3, 2010 Truth in Justice item styled “Whom Can We Trust?,” I raised the issue of, given what we know about the O’Neill confirmation notwithstanding (among other things) the undisputable false statement on his Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission application, what faith we can we place in other assurances of the Department of Justice or the Senate Judiciary Committee as to the integrity of an appointee to a law enforcement or judiciary position. By way of introduction I noted the commonplace situation where we observe the press getting the facts wrong about a subject we know something about and then have to wonder about press accounts of things we know little or nothing about.

The recent St. Petersburg Times article, after mentioning that O’Neill had been lead counsel in the Dean trial, stated: “O'Neill drew criticism when he accused [Dean] of lying on the witness stand — ‘You can take her testimony and throw it in the garbage where it belongs,’ he said.” It is true that O’Neill drew severe criticism for his conduct in the prosecution, both from the district court and the court of appeals. But the court’s criticisms went to matters utterly different from the accusations that Dean lied on the stand.

It is the subject of the courts’ criticisms, and the other matters I have raised in the O’Neill profile – all going to O’Neill’s basic integrity rather than to the stridency of his advocacy – that warrant the attention of a newspaper that purports to be providing insight into law enforcement in central Florida. But in the event the paper were ever to address such issues, given the evident failure to get the simplest of facts right, one will have to wonder about its interpretations of more complex issues.


Anonymous said...

"O’Neill’s appearance in court suggests that he may try the Kevin White case himself."

Well, and then he might.

But I kinda tend to think Booby just wanted his name in the paper because he KNOWS that sooo many people were calling for the head of Kevin White. ANY news on Kevin White would be widely read and discussed.

Robert may not be smart and he is not honest but he is wily.


I wonder if Grady Irvin (co-counsel for the defendant, k. white) will display any curiosity about the aboveementioned facts in your very fine article if ol Robert comes to court regularly?

I doubt the White thing will get too far. They just did this for the feel good moment. There's NOTHING in it for them. White's ruined and he's broke. He has resources but none of them are legal ... and maybe THAT is what Robert is after. Kevin's sidelines.
Three words: Rooms TO GO. Kevin is also a former dirty tampa cop. He has been found under every cesspool imaginable. This is all public record rather than speculation.
As well, every day White carried his piece past a HUGE NO GUN sign in order to sit on the dais of city and county leadership. I went to look ... it's BIG. Kevin does what he wants.
That won't change. Just now he'll do it under the thumb of BIG BOB O'Neill.

Anonymous said...

Kevin White was FIRED from the Tampa Police Dept and then went on to sit on Tampa city council and Hillsborough county commission. There is ALMOST NEVER anyone fired from Tampa Police Dept. Lord knows what he must have done to achieve that lowly status. UNTIL IRA loyalist, Roberto Bautiste took over TPD IAD after the sad death of Childers who was next in line for the position. Then cops started being fired for silly time and resource wasting reasons as the entire force went dirty.
Kevin White is also the only one involved in executive position in"security" at Rooms to Go (all former cops or hillsborough county sheriffs) who is not in prison currently. Funny thing is that Kevin was always mentioned as HEAD of security at RTG UNTIL shortly before the kickbacks were uncovered. So Kevin has DEEP HOOKS. Bob wants them. OR Bob already HAS them and has ushered Kevin through this in return for "something".
Kevin was at RTG as early as 2002 in an executive security status while also on the Hillsborough County Commission(article would not open but I also read that on his resume) He was also there in 2006 The kickbacks (MILLIONS!!) date back til AT LEAST 2002.
Now one theory could serve that Kevin is being popped ONLY for the towing bit of nonsense to satisfy the thirsty public. Because, oddly enough (hmmm) Kevin formed his own security business in 2008 and mysteriously declined to state his position with Rooms to go where before they were partnered all over the media. AND with corrupt Tampa Fire Rescue.
The partnering with corrupt Tampa Fire Rescue has also been noted with Robert O'Neill's IRA business partner at Three Green Fields, Colin Breen (magically wealthy since ten years ago writing bad checks while having a US ATTY as a partner in the wings).
Just seems a bit of odd timing given Kevin was there all during the kickback stage and then maybe/maybenot out the door long about the time the investigation started into the kickbacks.
And now the paper is already mentioning that Kevin was "merely" selling influence he DID NOT HAVE as the sheriff's office notes his tow company co accomplice is NOT on the sheriff's list of towing companies. (please note the former occupation of those who found their way to prison SHERIFF'S OFFICE DETECTIVES)
So, what likely happened is that in 2007 or 2008 Robert and IRA-co at TPD, HCSO and USA office muscled their way into the Rooms to Go sideline of trafficking w/Kevin's help after threatening him with this. So he turned for them. HCSO and TPD are also heavily mob and always have been. Always.
In other articles in the past more than several comments have alluded to Kevin's involvement in drug trafficking in his "hood". Now Robert has helped him organize it all and he can stop being such a little rat gangster and live easy like Colin and Bob. BUT FIRST, he has to let Bob get some mileage off him.
Stated from the viewpoint of a long time Tampa resident who knows what's what and has had the unremitting attention of Colin's wife and her pack of crack teenagers (teens are the most loyal followers of the IRA as revealed in the articles surrounding the shooting of the soldiers during the pizza delivery) foisted upon my family.
So now we know why Kevin was not charged in the RTG crimes and we see a few more layers of Robert's wiliness. They (IRA and loyalists) have most of Tampa ON LOCK.

Anonymous said...

For the record, one presumes this blog is widely read. That Rooms To Go hit Bobby with a bang. Instead of sending out the O'Neill shirts and license plates on the front of cars now Robert and his new friend Kevin have the Rooms to Go dirty T-shirts following my family around. He's a juvenile thug, gangster and is involved in cult-like operations involving families and their children. We never hear of cults anymore. It's because they are utilized by those posing as "legal eagles" and when the parents seek help the system is all ready for them and instead "helps" the victimized family member who is already surrounded by cult members. There is no closer word to describe what I have observed. I've never even SEEN a rooms to go tshirt before. And now we've seen several just whizzing by in stores and then disappearing when we looked for one. This is just like the O'Neill pre-confirmation days when it was O'Neill tshirts and car stickers and plates whenever comments were made in the st pete times. Then it quelled. Despite it being a popular line of clothing, never see one. Robert and his Irish Republican Army and other associated criminal groups believe that everyone AND THEIR THOUGHTS in Tampa belong to him. Robert has associates all through the Tampa Police Dept. I go back many decades with one of them. If Robert doesn't get his cult off my family Robert will be seeing the inside of a court room where many MANY questions will be asked of BIG BOOB and his associates. It will have to be held in a convention center. Robert should be afraid because Robert has a LOT to hide. I, on the other hand, am completely innocent and have reported these events as they transpired. He sent his partner at Three Green Fields' wife out after my MINOR family member. Not the first time around the block for this cult. Too smooth and sneaky. This is a well-practiced machine. If they can do this to my family they can do it to anyone. Robert has been playing both sides of the fence IN THE MEDIA for a long time. I can prove that even the articles chastising Colin Breen's IRA connections were a sham in part. Colin is Robert's partner at Three Green Fields in Tampa. Colin is an ardent hater of anything non IRA.
Robert, there will come a time when you will wonder if it was really worth it. None of your associates and I have met many (not by choice) are smart enought to get you by me. Only the corruption will. The DOJ laughed in the face of Mr. Scanlan. I'm very familiar with that scenario here in Tampa. But it will be notable who laughs last.

Anonymous said...

Three million in cocaine stitched into Kevin White's Daddy's volvo.

Three million. That buys a lot of cops and justice (pun intended) in Tampa Floreeduh.

Vox Populi said...

The other guy (co-defendant Hondrellis) is a poor schmuck w/connects. In Tampa it's well known that cabs, tow-trucks, limos and most other public or private for-hire transport ferry anything you could want. BUT Hondrellis is apparently close to hiring the Barry Cohen law firm. This completes the equation. Mr. Cohen was one of the references O'Neill used on his dishonorable app for the position of Honorable USA.

Now this is just Tampa, people. Nothing to see. Let go of your tax dollars. Put them in this funnel. I'm off to investigate the judge.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Kevin White's dad, recently deceased: Three million in cocaine sewn into his volvo seats.

SNIP:: He (kwhite) worked as a bag boy at Kash n' Karry, then at a car dealership. He was a Navy recruit at 17, discharged after 56 days.

In 1990, he joined the Tampa Police Department. The same year, uncle Reggie White was sentenced to death for fatally shooting his girlfriend with a shotgun. The same year, his estranged father, Gerald, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking after a golden lab named Kilo found $3 million worth of cocaine stitched into the seat of a Volvo.

Of note: They're all newspaper men (propaganda and spin) and three million dollars buys one heck of a LOT OF .dept of/JUSTICE.

Background on Kevin White.

A new article. It's like I'm psychic.

Hondrellis, the whack job tow operator may be "close" to retaining Barry Cohen. Huh? barry is pricey ..

A review of O'Neill's references for the USA job are in order. I think Barry is number three.
I also believe he used Mark Ober?
Ober (corrupt), Pam Bondi (formerly assistant state's atty under ober current florida atty general, former dog thief (also corrupt and very partisan) and Kevin White all attended King High School. I believe Ober and White may be very close in age. And the plot gets hilarious .... just a plain out and out ripoff of tax dollars. I'm off to investigate the judge...

What a lot of these folks have in common is alma mater (king is frequent) and law school (florida state/ south texas college of law)