After a lot of puffery from an embattled sheriff who does not like to be supervised or accountable to anyone, David Shoar fired off a damning letter to St Johns County Attorney, Patrick F McCormack, originally reported by Historic City News on April 4, 2019.
At issue was a 4-question questionnaire, drafted by the county attorney and forwarded to the county clerk. The issues were raised by members of the commission about the sheriff’s handling of contracts and payments at the site of a multi-million-dollar training complex for his department. The county owns the property along Agricultural Center Drive and will own the building, the sheriff will be a tenant.
The questionnaire asked the following four questions:
- Specifically describe all work related to development, design, and construction of the proposed Sheriff’s Office training facility that has been completed at the project site. This information should also include any work related to the development, design, and construction of any access roads located on or at the site.
- Describe all procurement procedures followed in selecting each vendor/contractor that has completed work related to development, design, and construction of the proposed Sheriff’s Office training facility. Such information should include the name of the vendor/contractor; vendor/contractor proposal(s); the service provided; the date that the work was completed; any invoices; and payment records.
- Provide all information related to any land clearing and tree removal or harvesting completed at the site as well as any information related to the sale of timber removed from the site. Such information should include but is not limited to authorizations, approvals, receipts, purchase orders, required permits and proposals.
- Identity all permits, authorizations and/or approvals required by local, state and federal authorities required to complete the work at the site. Provide copies of all such permits, authorizations and/or approvals that were secured in completing the work.
Considering the uncertainty raised, Shoar, in his own inimitable way, disgraced himself and his office by writing, “In summary, I reject the substance of your letter and I will not participate. If the Board of County Commissioners, an individual Commissioner, or you, has an allegation or reasonable belief that waste, fraud, abuse, or misconduct has or is occurring regarding this project, I urge you and your clients to be very specific and to memorialize those concerns in writing.”
Predictably, Shoar responded like a man with something to hide. Instead of simply answering the commissioners, he puts everyone on notice that he is represented by two attorneys, Rutledge Liles and Michael Lee, both of The Liles Firm in Jacksonville; and, all further communications with him on the matter are to be sent to them.
“Then, and only then, will the Office of Sheriff participate in any form of review by the Board of County Commissioners,” Shoar told the commissioners whose job it is to approve his bloated and ever-growing budget. He’s never been accused of being the brightest bulb on the tree.
Probably after being pointedly asked to explain his manic behavior with the county attorney and commissioners, or after reflection on how that crow is going to taste the next time he has to go before the commission for another construction approval, Shoar capitulates, somewhat, in a letter of explanation directed to the Chairman of the Board, Paul Waldron.
Read his letter and tell us what conclusions you draw from its tone, length, and response to the four specific questions originally asked.