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City defends hiring PI

Please Click Here To Watch The Video Interview Of Erwin Jackson Regarding These Criminals In Government Violating His Right To Privacy Under The Fourth Amendment With Their Illegal Harassment With No Valid Reason

City defends hiring PI

Attorney’s office calls off private investigator in Erwin Jackson case

11:56 PM, Mar. 2, 2012  |  By Jeff Burlew Senior government editor Of The Tallahassee Democrat

The Tallahassee City Attorney’s Office is standing by its decision to hire a private investigator as part of its defense of a small-claims lawsuit brought by City Hall critic Erwin Jackson.

Deputy City Attorney Lewis Shelley said the hiring of the private eye was “totally legitimate” and necessary for the city to fully defend the lawsuit.

However, Shelley acknowledged the city may have made a different call given reaction to the hiring of Donna Brown, a private investigator and former Tallahassee Police Department officer.

“You can always second-guess yourself after the fact,” Shelley said. “If we’d known we would have created this controversy, we may not have hired the investigator.”

Jackson, a local businessman and landlord best known lately for his relentless criticism of Mayor John Marks, says City Hall is retaliating against him by hiring the investigator to snoop around his properties.

“I am getting special treatment — I knew I would,” Jackson wrote in an email to the Democrat and city commissioners and staff.

Assistant City Attorney Louis Norvell hired the investigator earlier this week not for political payback, he said, but to gather evidence for the lawsuit, which Jackson filed last year over a utility easement. He said the hiring had nothing to do with the mayor.

Shelley and Norvell said the city routinely hires private investigators in litigation involving personal-injury lawsuits, employment claims and other matters. The Democrat has asked the city for details on how much it has spent on private investigators. The city is gathering the information but did not immediately provide it.

The lawsuit involves a swath of land off Mayhew Drive located behind Airport Drive properties Jackson owns. Jackson said that for years, he’s used the easement, where utility lines are located, to access a shed in the backyard of one his properties, where he stores lawn-maintenance equipment. In January of last year, the city locked a gate at the entrance to the utility easement, blocking Jackson and others from using it.

Norvell said the city locked the gate after getting a complaint from a nearby property owner that people were using the easement without authorization. At the time, the city believed it actually owned the easement property. But after doing a title search, the city realized it was privately owned. Around May or June of 2011, the city removed its lock, opening the easement back up for Jackson’s use.

Jackson, who owns a number of rental apartments and homes, said losing access to the easement cost him thousands of dollars because he had to rent a lot from one of his businesses to store the lawn equipment and hire an attorney to handle the dispute.

Jackson billed the city $2,512.50 but later got a check for only $75. Outraged, he filed the lawsuit seeking $4,720.

On Thursday morning, Jackson said he got a call from one of his employees that a woman was hiding in the bushes of one of his properties, Green Briar Garden Homes off Jackson Bluff Road, and taking photographs. The woman left after employees confronted her but not before they were able to snap a photo of her.

Jackson called police, and one of the officers recognized Brown in the photograph. Jackson later got a call from Norvell, who told him the city hired Brown to see whether he was using the lawn-maintenance shed for a commercial purpose, which city officials say is illegal because it’s located in a residential zone.

He has since filed a trespass warning against Brown along with a suspicious-incident report with TPD.

Norvell said he hired the investigator only to see whether Jackson was violating zoning laws by using the shed for the use of his other properties. Norvell says if the city can show Jackson is using the shed for an illegal use, it can prevail in the small-claims lawsuit.

“We needed to gather evidence of the zoning violation in this case,” Norvell said. “And I hired the investigator to observe the property and determine whether or not there were zoning violations.”

Norvell said Brown observed workers remove equipment from the shed on Airport Drive and take it to the nearby apartments. He said he has since told the investigator to stop surveilling Jackson’s properties. Norvell said he expects the bill from the investigator to come in under $1,000.

Jackson says the city is harassing him because he’s been “running his mouth” at City Commission meetings and complaining about alleged misdeeds involving the mayor.

“That’s what’s going on,” Jackson said. “That’s the only way they can try to hurt me and keep me quiet. And you know that isn’t going to work.”

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9 Comments on “City defends hiring PI”

  1. William Cobra Staubs Says:

    A Perspective from a licensed PI, William “Cobra” Staubs. I read your story with great interest on the hiring of a PI to snoop on what I would consider a victim or a target of a municipal misstep. The city as I read, unfairly and for lack of better words, illegally blocked a taxpayer from his property by locking a gate that they “thought” was in their right to do so. After checking the records, to which some may agree should have happened before, they removed the said lock. Now generally when we make mistakes we are expected to apologize and make the wrong right, right? Not so here. The hiring of a private investigator showed the true intent to further Injure and deny the victim (taxpayer) of the right thing. Now it is believed that if the municipality can show that the easement was used for a commercial use, then the municipality wins. How ridiculous! Every night when workers return home to sleep and park their commercial vehicles at their house or apartments, does that mean they are using their resting place as a commercial property? I think not. Now had the victim (taxpayer) offered yard service from this location, then the story may have taken on a whole new concept. 
    At the beginning of my rant, I told you who I was so don’t mistake my comments as legal advice but did the municipality fairly request bids for this private investigation operation, or was this just another willy nilly attempt to disregard the rules and win at any cost?   Don’t we have better use for taxpayer funds?  Just my thought, boldly in your face!

    Reply

    • thetallahasseeo Says:

      We all agree with your assessment completely! Interesting how they hired an ex-city tallahassee police officer to handle this PI contract which would probably be biased as well without any competitive bidding at all on the case. About $1000 alone of tax payers money spent on a PI? Might not be so strange in some circumstances if it wasn’t a small claims case of under $5,000 in which the city already admitted to making the mistake and screwing up as they usually do! And it also happens to be Erwin Jackson that highly criticizes the Mayor of his wrong-doings and illegal activities about every week at City Commission Meetings. Go Figure while the Leader of this City is the Mayor for this mafia group of Nazis. Now, they hire PI’s on the tax payers dime for the slightest exposure of their wrongdoings.

      Reply

    • thetallahasseeo Says:

      Yes, Cobra speaks the truth and tells it like it is! Our local government an embarassment? — that’s an understatement but certainly holds truth as well! We should elect Cobra because then people might actually start fighting crimes with a real leader for taking down “real criminals”. This would be instead of law abiding citziens for political vendettas of crap cases that waste our tax payers money. There are real cases that need to be handled instead of petty and worthless cases that our lazy and scared police officers like to handle that makes our city the 8th most dangerous in America. To actually have change in Tallahassee, we need a new leadership that isn’t scared to chase murderers, rapists, thugs, etc. that are the real problem in tallahassee when many of them have a badge or dress like a “thug in a suit”. The way to clean up the city is to start from within the government’s local criminal enterprise for taking out the trash as exposed by Doctor Erwin Jackson. Many citizens feel more in danger because of these hypocritical thugs that have badges.

      Reply

    • thetallahasseeo Says:

      We all think it’s very strange that they would hire a “bottom-feeder” private investigator for a small-claims law suit. Even the city admitted their error by sending Erwin Jackson a letter of apology with a $75.00 check. They said that they were a bunch of screw-ups to the whole situation of seizing his property illegally for the easement. We bet Donna Brown excelled at TPD as a supervisor in Homicide with the screw-ups that she worked with. Now, they hire her for their “secret missions” with the city operations. Certainly the situation had absolutely nothing to do with zoning laws. This had everything to do with the corruption and cover-ups. It’s always attempted with the Mayor and his city of cohorts attached to the thugs with the police forces. This was a major violation of Erwin Jackson’s Civil Rights under the 4th Amendment and also harrassments that should be opposed. If they do this non-sense, what else is under the table for investigations with private contractor’s biased as prior city workers?

      Reply

  2. William Cobra Staubs Says:

    In follow up I might add:
    WHAT PART OF “PUBLIC” DO WE NEED TO DEFINE FOR YOU?

    Based on this comment:
    Shelley said. “If we’d known we would have created this controversy, we may not have hired the investigator,”

    Our “PUBLIC” officials are just that, PUBLIC. This means that all their actions are to be seen in the light of day and as a true and accurate representation of citizens whom they work for. This is not a dictatorship or a I make I break self-serving government but rather one that is democratic in nature, treating “ALL” citizens equally and without favoritism regardless self serving beliefs or goals.
    It may be wise in the future for certain “PUBLIC” officials to consider the hillbilly term, “like a bug in a jar”, because that’s how we watch you. You are that bug. We are watching.

    Reply

    • thetallahasseeo Says:

      The problem is that criminals in government don’t want to be watched. They don’t want to be held responsible, accountable and tansparent. That’s why many bogus cover-charges and illegal laws or mis-applications have been made against citizens illegally and unconstitutionally to cover this good ol’ boy network of nepotisms and cronyisms of police and government officials working together. We need to all stand together as an informed and capable public citizenry for shining the spotlight on these criminals with the FBI, Department of Justice, Media and/or move out of the city to decrease the incoming finances to their wallets for money they don’t deserve anyway.

      Reply

      • William Cobra Staubs Says:

        Hold on a second, before there is a third, lol. As much as I believe you guys may need a strong leader and a new mayor, I’m not the guy. A mayor cuts ribbons and kisses babies, a Cobra kicks in doors and bites the ass of the bad guys. I am not poetically or politically correct enough to hold the office of mayor. I mean how would that read in the papers, “local mayor seen in crack house and was not partaking but rather was breaking and burning the place down, all were arrested and the city commission votes Tuesday to plant oak trees on the site”. 
        I though so, but thanks for the kind words.
        The Cobra Man.

      • thetallahasseeo Says:

        In respose to Cobra’s comments — we certainly agree that we need several new strong leaders and a new Mayor. We think Cobra should be hired as a training instructor at TPD. Some of these lazy and scared cops need to have new training and retraining. They often harrass law abiding citizens to avoid chasing real criminals on the streets. There is a reason why Tallahassee has become the 8th most dangerous city in the world. It’s because the Tallahassee Police Department needs to breed new cops with new training with new leaders that actually handle crimes and criminals. The City doesn’t want citizens to know how bad things are actually getting. This is because of the city’s internal problems like the Mayor running a criminal enterprise with jack-booted police forces. The city has their own criminals hired to protect each other to keep the city from looking bad in the media.

  3. thetallahasseeo Says:

    #8: Tallahassee, Florida

    An educational hub, Tallahassee, situated in Leon county, Florida, has earned itself the eighth position, in this list of US cities with the highest violent crime rates. Violent crimes and property related crimes top the list in Tallahassee. Its count amounts to 1,032.6 violent crimes, per 100,000 residents, with the likelihood of being a victim, being as high as 1 in 14. Homicide, forced rape, larceny and property theft top the crime charts in this city. Vehicle theft is also known to be quite high in this city.

    America’s Most Dangerous Cities — http://www.buzzle.com/articles/americas-most-dangerous-cities.html

    The Police in this town are a complete joke in which many of them are criminals with the mafia leaders protecting them in government so nothing gets accomplished but abuse of power and wasteful spending of our tax payers money.

    Reply

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