Editorial: Thoughts on prosecuting an ardent supporter

Michael Gold, Editor

The Internal Revenue Service can revoke St Johns Police Athletic League’s non-profit, tax exempt, charitable status under 501(c)(3) for engaging in political campaigns — that includes the campaign for local Sheriff David B. Shoar.

On the public Instagram page of the non-profit, charitable Police Athletic League, there are several photographs published where now defendant Sergeant Robert Gober is openly campaigning for his employer. There are kids wearing “Shoar for Sheriff” t-shirts, Gober is mugging for the camera wearing an embroidered “Shoar for Sheriff” baseball cap, a “Shoar for Sheriff” yard sign is posted in a window, the group even set up a Twitter hashtag — #pal4shoar.

Money funneled through the Police Athletic League at that point might very well become taxable – rather than deductible – for individual and corporate taxpayers making “contributions”.

I am sure there are those who believe in coincidence, but it is not lost on me that during the time Gober was campaigning for Shoar’s 2016 re-election, it was the very same time that the accusations were made and Internal Affairs had Gober under investigation.  September, October, and November 2016 — did Shoar decide it would be “bad for business” to arrest his valuable campaigner before the November election?

After all, Shoar accuses Gober of carrying on his scheme to defraud for three years. How did that not get picked up year after year? Don’t they audit annually?

But then again, I wonder what auditor passes on a full-time sworn police officer assigned to a private organization — when he is being paid by the taxpayers from the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office budget?

  • If we are to believe the numbers used in the affidavit for his arrest warrant, Gober was being paid more in a week than he is accused of misspending over the entire three-year period.
  • I suppose the powers that be lacked the sense to say, “You are buying things we don’t need, give me your debit card and don’t buy anything else until you get approval.” Although, I don’t know who that approval would come from if it was Gober who was the Executive Director.

This whole affair stinks on ice. But, knowing what I know about how Shoar handles his own finances, I refuse to jump to any assumption that a 45-year-old man like Robert Gober, who was eligible to retire with a pension for the rest of his life, was willing to jeopardize everything he had worked for 25-years to build, just to buy a pair of sunglasses and some basketball tickets.

Pot>Kettle>Black, and it just doesn’t pass the smell test.

Photo credits: © 2017 Historic City News Instagram archive photographs

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