Friday, August 16, 2013

BlueWare CEO Turns Herself In

SANFORD, Florida -- BlueWare Chief Executive Officer Rose Harr, 55, turned herself in at the Seminole County jail at 12:09 p.m. today on an outstanding warrant in connection with bribery charges related to a multimillion dollar scanning contract involving former Brevard County Clerk of Court Mitch Needelman, 60, and his one-time business partner, lobbyist William Matthew Dupree, 47, who were arrested yesterday.

Harr was "charged with principal to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, and principal to commit bid tampering," Seminole County Sheriff spokesperson Heather Smith said in an email.   Harr posted a $12,000 bond and was released at 2:53 p.m.  

"In April 2012, BlueWare assisted in drafting the invitation to negotiate (ITN) for Brevard County Clerk of Court for the scanning contract and subsequently responded to the ITN," Florida State Attorney Phil Archer alleged in a press release yesterday. "The ITN was posted on May 4, 2012, and records indicate questions from other bidders were sent to a county employee’s personal email account and then forwarded to Harr and Geaney to write responses. The responses were then emailed back to the bidders using the county email system. On May 23, 2012, a payment of $500,000 was wired to BlueWare even though the contract had not been signed. The actual contract was signed June 29, 2012, and on that day, the first monthly payment of $90,000 was sent to BlueWare."

Those specific issues were raised by Brevard Times in a July 2012 article titled Contract Controversy Taints Governor's Jobs Campaign:

"Before the May 3 Invitation to Negotiate was issued and a contract later awarded to BlueGem, Needelman had separately contracted on April 6 with yet another BlueWare-affiliated company, RoseWare, L.L.C., to "Review all outside vendor contracts on behalf of the Brevard County Clerk's Office."  

Whether RoseWare was quarantined from the digitizing contract formulation and negotiation process that ultimately ended in the award to affiliated BlueGem, or was actually paid for being involved in the process has yet to be revealed.  Florida Statute Section 287.057(17)(a) requires that a governmental agency avoid such conflicts of interest while subsection (b) bars a contract award if an unfair competitive advantage has been given to one vendor over another."

Matt Nye, a long time supporter of current Clerk of Court Scott Ellis who defeated Needelman last year, brought the contract irregularities to the attention of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement which then began a year-long investigation into the bribery allegations that resulted in the arrests this week.

"FDLE has done an outstanding job on the case," said current Brevard Clerk of Court Scott Ellis who repeatedly raised these allegations during his 2012 campaign to defeat Needelman.  "We are mostly just relieved to see these actions brought to justice."

Brevard Times was the only news source to continue a series of in-depth investigative articles led by Charles Parker into this story:


Scott Ellis To Run For Clerk of Court Again January 4, 2012

Clerk of Court Staffer Endorses Needelman, Ellis Responds February 7, 2012

Needelman Calls Ellis A Liar In Brevard County Clerk of Courts Debate February 16, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate: Video March 23, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate in Titusville: VIDEO  April 23, 2012

Scott Ellis Wins Clerk of Court Viewer Poll  April 30, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate In Melbourne: VIDEO  May 8, 2012

Mitch Needelman Named Finalist For 'Tax Cutter' Award  May 17, 2012

Brevard Constitutional Officer's Straw Poll Results May 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Clerk's Race Heats Up May 30, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate: VIDEO June 4, 2012

Ellis: Taxpayers Foot Bill for Endless Self Promotion of Mr. Needelman June 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Mitch Needelman June 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Scott Ellis June 25, 2012

Needelman: Ellis' "Complicated" Requests Delayed Release of Clerk Documents, BlueWare Contracts Jul 5, 2012 

Contract Controversy Taints Florida Governor's Jobs Campaign July 10, 2012

Scott Ellis Republican Picnic Video (Mitch Needelman Not Present) July 15, 2012

2012 Bi-Annual Brevard Republican Picnic Straw Poll Results July 15, 2012

Clerk of Court Sunshine Lawsuit Hearing Monday  July 21, 2012

Needelman Wins Partial Victory in Court Case Brought by Ellis July 23, 2012

Opinion: Why I Support Ellis, Blickley, Ivey, Trettis, Kneessy, Romney July 25, 2012

Republican Primary Candidates Brevard County Clerk of Court Monday, July 30, 2012

Needelman: Ellis Complicit in Extortion Plot?  August 12, 2012

Ellis: Panic sets in as Race comes to an End August 13, 2012

Dirty Brevard County Politics Caught On Surveillance Video  Aug 13, 2012

Brevard Clerk of Court Recount, No Layoffs Anticipated  August 24, 2012

$8.5 Million Brevard Clerk of Court Records Digitizing Underway  Oct 17, 2012

Clerk's Attorney Refers Staffing Questions to BlueWare  Nov 1, 2012

BlueWare Misses Clerk's Office Deadline  Nov 7, 2012

UPDATE: Needelman and Company Owner Mum Regarding Digitizing Contract Nov 15, 2012

DuPree Confirms BlueWare Scanning Readiness  Nov 17, 2012 

Charles Parker: Hey Mitch and Matt: How About Some Answers? December 4, 2012

Charles Parker: Divergent Views on Clerk's Contract Continue December 11, 2012

Ellis Plans Moneysaving Changes In Clerk's Office Jan 5, 2013

Scott Ellis Sworn In As Brevard County Clerk of Court  Jan 8, 2013

Brevard Clerk Lowers Florida 'Fix It' Ticket To $10  Jan 19, 2013

Former Clerk's Digitizing Contract Under More Scrutiny  Jan 19, 2013

Ellis: Emails Appear To Contradict Needelman Attorney's Testimony  Jan 24, 2013

Brevard EDC Cites "Non-Disclosure Agreement" and Confidentiality  Jan 25, 2013

Ellis Claims Proof of Needelman Campaign Lies in Emails and Video  Jan 29, 2013

Ellis and Weatherman At Odds Over BlueWare Documents  Feb 5, 2013 

Commissioner Asserts EDC Confidentiality Claim "Raises Questions" February 14, 2013

Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast Subpoenaed By FDLE February 28, 2013

Charles Parker: BlueWare, Rose Harr, and Me  March 2, 2013

BlueWare Not Using Available Training Funds Mar 15, 2013

Hewlett Packard Threatens Lawsuit Over BlueWare Debt Mar 23, 2013

Brevard County Clerk of Court Files Suit Against BlueGem March 29, 2013

Details of Brevard Clerk of the Court Lawsuits Against BlueGem and RoseWare Emerge In Court Filings March 29, 2013

Space Coast Economic Incentives Make Florida Headlines  Apr 1, 2013

BlueGem Counter-Sues Clerk's Office: Claims Ellis' "Ignorance"  May 5, 2013

Ellis and Hewlett-Packard Still At Odds Over Scanning Contract Loan Payments  June 2, 2013 

Hewlett Packard Sues Brevard Clerk of Court For Disputed Scanning Contract Payments Jul 26, 2013

Former Brevard County Clerk of Court, Business Partner Arrested - Warrant Issued for Blueware CEO August 15, 2013

BlueWare CEO Turns Herself In August 16, 2013 

County Commission Tells Economic Development Commission To Turn Over BlueWare Documents  August 20, 2013