Previously, CJ's Street Report covered a case of Sheriff Morgan and Chief Deputy Haines harassing and railroading an African American Deputy with Multiple Schlerosis and veteran out a job over the bogus charge that he stole a $2 baseball card. CJ's Street Report then reported on cases of sexual harassment filed against the Escambia County Sheriff's Office (ECSO), in which Sheriff David Morgan and Chief Deputy Eric Haines by virtue of their positions were defendants.
One particular case, that of former Lieutenant Laura MONTOYA is still working its way to a conclusion in the court system. Chief Deputy Eric Haines is in the hot seat because he is alleged to have given an illegal order to destroy documents covered by Florida's Sunshine Law. In fact, lawyers for the ECSO who were involved in the incident, are now defendants in the case and have lawyered-up, because their testimony could sink Haines's career. One of the other casualties in that sexual harassment lawsuit is Sheriff Sergeant (now former) Philip NIX--a senior sergeant, in fact, with a very high call sign, number 66.
Sergeant Nix is the former vice president of the Northwest Florida Police Benevolent Association--essentially the union for the sheriff deputies. It was Sergeant Nix who, operating as the union representative, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Lt. Montoya, defending her, and claiming that Sheriff Morgan and Chief Deputy Haines arranged to task Lt. Montoya with conducting an Internal Affairs investigation of her subordinate that she was not fully trained to do. In short, they set Lt. Montoya up for failure, thus creating some of the grounds on which to terminate her from otherwise outstanding service to the taxpayers of the county.
In retribution to Sergeant Nix standing up for Lt. Montoya, the Sheriff's Office, specifically Sheriff Morgan and Chief Deputy Haines, concocted charges and evidence based on sworn testimony from two deputies that are demonstrably false. Sergeant Nix was subject to two separate Internal Affairs investigations that were running simultaneously in 2016. Sergeant Nix was terminated on December 9, 2016.
One of the Internal Affairs investigations revolved around a Sheriff Deputy, Joan SAVAGE, who threatened to arrest Nix's mother in late January 2016 over a civil dispute that SAVAGE claimed to be a party to, but, in reality, had no standing to intervene in. In fact, the Internal Affairs investigation is noteworthy for not demanding proof from Deputy Savage that she had any legal standing in the civil dispute--a dispute she claimed involved felony grand theft of a food trailer. In fact, when the facts of the case were presented to the State Attorney's Office, they rejected the felony criminal referral from the ECSO on the grounds that the matter was civil, not criminal in nature. Nevertheless, using bogus accusations and evidence of a felony and abusing a disabled elderly person, Sergeant Nix was fired.
The other deputy in the other Internal Affairs investigation, Lt. Frank FORTE, perjured himself in testimony to the IA because he and LTC Hardy believed there was no physical evidence that could contradict his sworn testimony and show he was lying under oath. Despite there being documentary evidence proving perjury, Lt. Forte is still employed at the ECSO.
THE PERJURY OF LT FORTE (2nd Internal Affairs Investigation)
This second Internal Affairs investigation began five days after Thomas Williams, the Assistant State Attorney, sent an email to Chris Rabby, Sergeant Nix's lawyer. The very same email was sent to Gerry Champagne, the ECSO's general counsel. On pdf page 83 of Part 1 Nix Philip, the documentary record of the first Internal Affairs investigation, the email from the State Attorney's Office stated for the record [emphasis added]:
"We have concluded our investigation of Phillip Nix regarding his involvement in removing a food truck/trailer and attempted recovery of lease/rental fees. This matter is civil in nature and we will not be proceeding with a criminal investigation. Nix has disclosed the location of the food truck/trailer and will not proceed in treating it as security for any money he believes is due."
Assistant State Attorney
Office of State Attorney
190 Governmental Center
Pensacola, FL 32501
In other words, the ECSO leadership knew that the results of the SAO's examination of the records sent from the ECSO had resulted in the SAO determining that Sergeant Nix had committed no crime, felony or otherwise, and that the matter regarding the food trailer was a civil matter that did not involve the SAO.
The second Internal Affairs investigation centered on one central question: did Sergeant Nix in his testimony state that the Escambia County Sheriff's Office had for years been writing illegal tickets at a specific area in Pensacola Beach?
The basic facts are these. Sergeant Nix was working a side job in Pensacola Beach. He gave permission to three vehicles to park in a "Loading Zone" area. Sergeant Nix knew that there was no Florida statute prohibiting parking in such a zone (there is now). Sergeant Nix advised Deputy Cripe that he had given the car owners permission to park there and that it was legal. Deputy Cripe complained to Lt. Frank Forte who instructed Deputy Cripe to write the tickets. Once Nix left his side job, Cripe wrote two tickets on Saturday and one ticket on Monday. The three tickets involved two car owners.
Sergeant Nix was subpoenaed to appear as a defense witness, as was Deputy Cripe as a for the prosecution. Lt. Forte attended as an observer.
After Nix's testimony had concluded, Lt. Forte told Col Hardy that Sergeant Nix had violated ECSO guidelines in his testimony. In the June 28, 2016, memo from Col Hardy to Chief Deputy Haines, Hardy wrote: "Following the hearings, I was contacted by Lt. Forte and he informed me that it was his belief that the testimony given by Sgt. Nix against the Sheriff's Office during the hearings rose to the level of Unbecoming Conduct in violation of ECSO policy."
In the very same memo from Hardy to Haines, Col Hardy informed the Chief Deputy that he had checked to see if there were any evidence that could contradict or corroborate Lt Forte's belief. There was no such evidence. Thus, the second Internal Affairs investigation began.
It is important to note that this second Internal Affairs investigation proceeded once Hardy and Haines were assured there was no evidence that could contradict Forte's statement. It would be an officer's word against a sergeant's word, backed up by a deputy, Cripe who was in the courtroom.
Unbeknownst to Haines, Hardy, Forte, and Cripe, Sergeant Nix, already in the gun sights of the ECSO due to the ongoing first Internal Affairs investigation seeking to charge him with felony grand theft, paid for a court reporter to record the proceedings of the traffic court.
Unfortunately, I do not have an electronic copy of the second Internal Affairs documentation. However, I do have hard copy of Lt. Forte's sworn recorded statement regarding IA # I2016-012 dated July 22, 2016.
On page 9 of his sworn to be true testimony, Lt Forte told ECSO investigators, "...and the exact words, I can't remember but I can tell you that part of it was, I was assigned to that beach for a long time and I'm aware that deputies have a habit of writing illegal tickets there. And I couldn't believe that he made that statement in court. First of all, it's not a true statement. But to make that statement is bad enough....Our deputies sitting there shaking their heads. Got their heads down shaking their heads like they can't believe those words just came out of Nix's mouth."
On page 10, Lt. Forte's sworn to be true recorded testimony reads: "POLLOCK: And is this opinion of these illegal tickets or did he just kind of make some blanket statement? FORTE: Nix blurted the statement I gave you. Uhm. He was never asked, what is your opinion or anything of that nature. I didn't hear that. What I heard was Philip Nix explaining how he gave them permission and then he continues on to say something to the effect of, I'm very familiar with that red curb because uh there's been numerous deputies that have written tickets on that, uh illegal parking tickets on that red curb. Uhm, and when he made that statement uhm I can assure you no one asked him his opinion or asked him any of that. He, that was, that was solely on him."
Pretty damning stuff. Except not one word of what Lt. Forte swore to be true under oath under the penalty of perjury was true. He lied through his teeth believing there was no way his perjured testimony could be challenged by Sergeant Nix.
According to the transcript of the traffic court hearing, here is exactly what was said in the exchange between Mr. Chris Rabby, the lawyer for the car owners, and Sergeant Nix, witness for the defense:
"Question: So the Escambia County Sheriff's Department has been illegally ticketing people for years for parking in front of The Dock?"
"Answer [NIX]: "I don't--if there is no statute for it, I don't know what they are being ticketed for."
Mr. Rabby: "I don't have any further questions of this witness."
Maybe in an alternate universe there is a Sergeant Nix transforming a question from a lawyer into his own statement, but in that traffic hearing on that day, Sergeant Nix answered in the negative. Lt. Forte's sworn to be true testimony is false. He perjured himself. Surely there is some violation of ECSO policy for bringing a false accusation against a fellow law enforcement officer, providing false testimony, and wasting the ECSO's resources on a fake crime.
Was Lt. Forte investigated or otherwise disciplined for making a false accusation, providing false testimony, and wasting ECSO resources? In the voice of an insurance company model, "No."
Here, outsiders can see clearly two standards of justice. If you are a favorite of the ruling class--Morgan and Haines and Hardy--you can lie under oath, as long as your lies are in the service of the ruling class. In that case, you are golden. But, if you stand up for ordinary residents being falsely accused by the ECSO of parking their cars in a prohibited loading zone, well, you better have a lawyer and a court reporter on your side. But what is legal and what is true are of no concern to Morgan and Haines. What counts for them is blind obedience--the law and truth be damned.
Any resident should be able to understand this case and the jeopardy that puts you in. If Sheriff Morgan wants you to be fined and/or prosecuted, there are deputies willing to perjure themselves to keep their jobs. And Morgan will protect them. We know that because Sergeant Nix advised Sheriff Morgan as to the lies told and Morgan did absolutely nothing.
THE FALSE TESTIMONY OF DEPUTY SAVAGE (1st Internal Affairs Investigation)
This Internal Affairs investigation is a bit more complicated. The investigation took up 462 pages divided into two pdf files. Unfortunately, those two pdf files (Part 1 262 pages and Part 2 200 pages) cannot have pages removed or the pages marked because they are file protected by the ECSO.
There are five key actors in this action:
Sheriff Deputy Joan SAVAGE. She claimed she owned the food trailer due to loaning the Brundidges $18,000 in January 2013. Some time probably between July and September 2016, but at undetermined time, she crafted a "business agreement" with the two Brundidge's that made her a "partner" of the business entity called "Oh My Grill." She admitted to the ECSO Internal Affairs investigators that she threatened Ms. Brenda NIX with arrest for grand theft (see Part 2, page 32, Savage statement; see Part 1, page 125, Savage statement; see Part 1, page 123, Philip Nix statement). She is the goddaughter of the Brundidges (see Part 1, page 231).
Darryl BRUNDIDGE. A bishop of the Prophetic Worship Center International Inc. He may or may not have signed the purchase contract (see Part 1, page 81). But, the contract was between the church and Ms. Angela Summerlin. Brundidge knows Sheriff Morgan "personally" (see Part 1, page 224).
Sheila BRUNDIDGE. A pastor of the Prophetic Worship Center International Inc. She clearly signed the purchase receipt for the food trailer in January 2013. Angela SUMMERLIN sold the food trailer to Sheila Brundidge (see Part 1, page 81 and Summerlin's testimony, Part 2, page 59).
Brenda NIX. The mother of Philip NIX. She and her sister co-owned property at the corner of W Street and Van Pelt Lane. Brenda Nix leased part of that corner lot to the Brundidges for six months, from January 2013 to August 2013 (see Part 1, page 105).
Philip NIX. As his mother's only child, he had a General Power of Attorney (see Part 1, page 193). His involvement was minimal before January 2016. In January 2015, or the very early part of 2015, he posted on the vacant food trailer a neon green paper notice (Part 2, pages 118-120). It is not clear from the documentary evidence whether this was a property abandonment notice or an eviction notice. He became completely involved once Deputy Savage called his mother Brenda NIX in January 2016 and threatened to arrest her for grand theft (see Savage above).
SOMETHING ROTTEN IN ESCAMBIA COUNTY
First of all, the Brundidges did not go to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office to file a complaint against Brenda Nix or Philip Nix for stealing the food trailer. Lt. Jones visited the Brundiges in early February 2016 and suggested to Darryl Brundidge that he file a criminal complaint for theft (Part 1, page 9).
Here is exactly what the Internal Affairs Report states (Part 1, page 9): "On February 1, 2016, 1st Lt. Carl Jones and I made contact with the Brundidges to inquire who actually owned the food trailer. They provided the information stated above and were asked why they had not filed a police report on the matter. Darryl Brundidge explained he was a man of God and they were trying to work it out with Brenda Nix before filing one."
One might very well wonder why if you had a business partner who was also a Deputy Sheriff (Savage), why would you wait seven months to file a police report over the theft of a trailer worth at least $18,000? Well, you might not file a police report because (a) you did not have such a business partner or (b) because you knew you did not have a leg to stand on.
Second, what grand theft is the ECSO talking about? There was No. Theft. Ever.
Let's consider what happened on the day the food trailer was moved by a towing company to an undisclosed location. This was not the Baltimore Colts leaving in the dead of night to arrive in Indianapolis, their new home.
The food trailer was moved off the Nix property in late July 2015. Joan Savage was present on the day it was towed away. Sheila Brundidge was present on the day it was towed away. They saw it being prepared to be towed away.
In Part 1 page 206, Sheila Brundidge stated she was driving by the property where the food trailer was, saw the tow truck, got out and asked what was going on. On page 209, she is asked by the IA investigators if she raised any objection to the food trailer being moved with the two people moving the trailer. She replied, "I did not." She then left and did not see the trailer moved.
When Joan Savage arrived, Savage saw the tow truck and asked Sheila Brundidge what was wrong. Sheila Brundidge told the investigators she said, "I don't know." Of course Sheila Brundidge knew. In-between asking the tow truck driver and Ms. Brenda Nix's brother, Gary Willis, and talking to Joan Savage, she had talked on the telephone with Ms. Nix who told her that her sister had an order to move the food trailer off the property.
So, why would Sheila Brundidge tell Joan Savage that she did not know what was going on, if Joan Savage was your business partner that had loaned you $18,000? Because the most likely reason was that Joan Savage was not your business partner and you did not feel like having her get in your business.
In Part 2 page 26, Joan Savage is asked what happened. Savage states that she had driven by and saw the tow truck. Then, Sheila Brundidge drove by and stopped. Savage asked Brundidge what was going on. Brundidge told her that Ms. Nix (nee Willis) is having it moved. Savage then leaves.
There is another witness to the event and conversations that day, Gary Willis, the brother of Ms. Nix and a former lieutenant of the ECSO.
In Part 2 pages 83-88, Willis told the IA investigators in sworn testimony that Sheila Brundidge spoke to him and he told her the trailer was being moved because the trailer was blocking the view of drivers. Sheila Brundidge understood. Deputy Savage then drove up (page 84) and spent perhaps up to 30 minutes in her sheriff's vehicle talking to Sheila Brundidge.
In Part 2 page 85, the IA investigators asked Willis if either Sheila Brundidge or Joan Savage "say that they didn't want the trailer moved" or "Did they disagree with the moving of the trailer?" To both questions, Willis answered in the negative. On page 88, Willis is asked, "Did they ever ask uh where it was going?" Willis replied, "Never did ask me where it was going. No, she never did."
And, on the same page, just before that question and answer, Willis told the IA investigators that Sheila Brundidge asked him "what do we have to do to get it back (inaudible) what do we have to pay Brenda and Debra...?"
Here we have Sheila Brundidge and Joan Savage both seeing and knowing that the food trailer is going to be hooked up to a tow truck and moved off the property. Neither one objects either to Ms. Nix or to the tow truck driver or to Gary Willis. Neither one asks by what authority are you moving the trailer. Neither one asks where the food trailer is going to end up. Sheila Brundidge only wanted to know what she had to do or pay to get the trailer back.
And that is supposed to constitute grand theft by Philip Nix who was not present, had not initiated the movement of the food trailer, and had no knowledge that the food trailer was being moved--a move that had originated with his aunt, not his mother.
And yet Philip Nix is dismissed from the ECSO for grand theft. Yes, see Part 1 page 2. Nix is dismissed from the ECSO for "grand theft"--a property worth more than $10,000 but less than $20,000. Oh, and he supposedly "abused" the elderly Darryl Brundidge and disabled (supposedly blind) Darryl Brundidge and exploited Darryl Brundidge by taking his property.
But, I wonder why Morgan and Haines did not get into their squad cars, put the lights a blinking, and the sirens a screaming and go arrest Wells Fargo Bank for foreclosing on the Brundidge home (case 2010 CA 002419) for $413,868.84 and Marcus Pointe Golf for foreclosing on the Brundidges (case 2012 CC 001324) for $3,935.90.
We know why. Because they followed law and cannot be touched. Philip Nix, on the other hand, followed the law but he can be abused by the Internal Affairs system, his family threatened by a deputy without any legal standing in the civil matter, and his career terminated because that is how Morgan and Haines operate.
Do you want to see something really scary? Read how Morgan and/or Haines got the State Attorney's Office to doctor an email so that the unsuspecting reader would be lead to believe that Philip Nix had been investigated for a felony, but there simply was not enough evidence to prosecute.
This is the entire email sent from the State Attorney's Office by Thomas Williams to Chris Rabby, Philip Nix's lawyer, as well as to Gerry Champagne, the ECSO general counsel, on June 23, 2016 [emphasis added]:
We have concluded our investigation of Phillip Nix regarding his involvement in removing a food truck/trailer and attempted recovery of lease/rental fees. This matter is civil in nature and we will not be proceeding with a criminal investigation. Nix has disclosed the location of the food truck/trailer and will not proceed in treating it as security for any money he believes is due.
On Part 1 page 83 you can see the top email. On the same page you can see that the SAO sent a second email to comport with the witch hunt that Morgan and Haines were conducting against Nix. In this email dated June 27, 2016, Thomas Williams writes [emphasis added]:
"We have completed our felony criminal investigation of Philip Nix and have decided not to proceed with a prosecution. Pls let me know if you have any questions regarding this matter."
In the first email, the SAO determines that the issue is a civil matter and no criminal investigation is warranted and therefore no criminal investigation was started. In the second email, the SAO claims they completed their "felony criminal investigation" and "decided not to prosecute."
It is blatantly obvious why Morgan and Champagne needed the second email to cover their fully exposed asses. Without a "felony criminal investigation" to hang their Internal Affairs investigation on, the whole rotten process looks like a premeditated witch hunt against a former labor leader.
The real question is why the State Attorney's Office agreed to this miscarriage of justice? If those two emails do not suggest a breach of ethics, I don't know what would. The second email is a blatant lie.
Now, if those two emails do not suggest to the average resident of Escambia County that your rights under the law mean absolutely nothing to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office, then you have not been paying attention in civics class.
On the other hand, in Part 2 page 163, when Nix is read the first email, he objected that he had never agreed to give up the food trailer before being paid around $12,000. Nix had no knowledge of how that agreement was decided, not between his lawyer Mr. Rabby and the SAO Mr. Williams, or between Mr. Williams and Mr. Gerry Champagne, the ECSO's general counsel.
Think for one minute. In a civil case in which one party has shown themselves to be completely unreliable; their word not worth spit; their promises disappearing faster than the wind; why would you agree to give back a food trailer for the empty promise that they would pay you? Why would you trust the promise of two people who had lost two mortgage foreclosures? You would have to be a complete idiot to do that. And, as the Power of Attorney, Nix would have to do everything in his power to protect his mother's fiduciary interest. He could not willy-nilly give up an account receivable in exchange for absolutely nothing but hot air.
In fact, what had been agreed between Rabby and Williams was that the Brundidges would be charged a daily rental fee of $12 instead of the asked for $18 per day, from the time the lease expired until they moved it off the property. The trailer was illegally on the property a total of 717 days. At $12 per day, the rent due was $8,604. In fact, Nix stopped the clock at 630 days, yielding a rent due of $7,560. He actually saved the Brundidges about $1,100 in rental fees.
Thus, in terms of the law, the SAO found that no theft had occurred. Therefore, the elderly and supposedly blind Darryl Brundidge could not possibly have been the victim of grand theft; he could not possibly have been abused; and, he could not possibly have been exploited. And, if those findings are true, then why did Morgan proceed to terminate Nix for doing what he clearly had not done? Because Morgan does not care what the law is; he does not care what the facts are; and, he does not care what the public thinks because the public will never discover his dirty laundry.
DEPUTY SAVAGE, PRIME MOVER OF 1ST INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATION
Now, the prime mover for all the activity in this Internal Affairs investigation are the words of Deputy Joan Savage. She is the major antagonist in this unnecessary drama. She lies to Brenda Nix about owning the trailer. She lies to Philip Nix about owning the trailer. In fact, she has no legal standing in the entire matter. She never produced evidence that she had loaned $18,000 to the Brundidges or the Prophetic Worship Center International. She did not have a "business agreement" with the Brundidges until most likely after July 2016.
Not only is she an employee of the ECSO, meaning she can be fired by Sheriff Morgan, she is also the goddaughter of Darryl Brundidge (Part 1 page 231) and Darryl Brundidge knows Sheriff Morgan "personally."
Why is this important? Because in the second IA investigation discussed above, Col Hardy mentions in his memo to Chief Deputy Haines that "the ECSO could have provided information to the hearing officer regarding Sgt. Nix's personal relationship with both Smith and Rabby so that the hearing officer could consider that when weighing the testimony provided by Nix."
So, the fact that Nix knew a defendant (and his own lawyer) was material, but Darryl Brundidge's relationship with Sheriff Morgan, and, Joan Savage's relationship with the Brundidges was not material. Again, two sets of rules in the ECSO all depending upon the person who is the target of the attack.
At no time did Joan Savage "own" the trailer.
In her "sworn statement" to the State Attorney's Office, she is asked by Thomas Williams, "You bought it for eighteen thousand ($18,000) dollars?" Savage replied, "Yes" (Part 1 page 158). On Part 1 page 162, she told Williams about her conversation in January 2016 with Philip Nix: "...I told him exactly what happened when I purchased the trailer..."
In Part 1 page 158, Williams from the State Attorney's Office asked Savage, "And that was in one check, correct?" "Yes," she answered.
At no point is Savage asked to produce the check, nor does she provide the check as corroboration for her verbal story.
However, this story is contradicted by the sworn testimony of Angela SUMMERLIN, the woman who owned the food truck and then sold it for $18,000. In Part 2 page 59, the ECSO IA investigators asked Summerlin how the food trailer was purchased. She explained that on January 23, 2013, "They did write me a check and then I had a problem getting the check cashed, so a deputy that's supposed to be part owner with them, that works here, do not know her name, uhm she got it cashed somehow, I guess through her bank or, they ended up bringing me cash."
The IA investigators then asked who had written the check out: "...was the check written out by the deputy in her name or was it through the church or?" Summerlin answered, "It was through the church." And Summerlin agreed with the IA investigators that "they actually brought you eighteen thousand in cash."
If Summerlin who actually sold the trailer first saw a check written out on the church's account and then was paid $18,000 in cash--an amount of money and greenbacks that is difficult to forget--then how did Savage pay for the trailer in "one check" for "$18,000"?
It only gets more curious and rotten.
On July 20, 2016, the Brundidges gave a sworn statement to the ECSO's IA investigators. In Part 1 page 183, Darryle Brundidge states the food trailer was "purchased by the church, Prophetic Worship Center International." He states that Joan Savage "loaned the church the money." Asked how much she loaned the church, the amount is $18,000.
In Part 1 page 183-184,the ECSO IA asked them if there was a contract with Joan Savage or had she donated the money to the church as a tithe. Sheila Brundidge stated that Joan Savage was "a partial owner." But, Darryl Brundidge admits that Joan Savage was not on the bill of sale, though she was a "silent partner." When asked by IA, "So she was considered by the church a partner? Is that recorded anywhere in the records?" Sheila Brundidge replied, "Yes it is."
Yet at no point did the IA investigators ask the Brundidges to produce those church records, nor did the Brundidges supply those church records.
But, there are two important points to note. First, whatever deal there was between Joan Savage and the Brundidges, it was actually a contractual arrangement between Joan Savage and the Prophetic Worship Center International. Darryl Brundidge stated that Joan Savage loaned the money to the church and Sheila Brundidge claims that relationship is recorded in church records. Second, the Brundidges agree that Joan Savage loaned them $18,000.
In Part 2 page 19, the IA investigators asked Joan Savage (27 JUL 2016 sworn interview), "Who actually purchased the trailer, who actually signed the bill of sale for the trailer?" Savage answered, "She did." And when the IA investigators asked Savage, "Now did you loan her an amount or the church or her personally an amount of money?" Savage answered, "It was her." The IA investigator clarified, "So it wasn't the church it was her." Savage replied, "It was her." Savage also agreed that it was "a personal loan to Sheila Brundidge." She was asked, "Was there any paperwork drawn up for?" Savage replied, "No." When asked the amount of the check she wrote to Sheila Brundidge, Savage replied, "Eighteen thousand."
So, we have interesting contradictions of material facts. The Brundidges claim that Savage loaned the money to the church, the church bought the food trailer, and that the church recorded her "silent partner" relationship in church records. And, the amount of money loaned was $18,000.
Savage claimed that she made a personal loan to Sheila Brundidge for $18,000. There was no contract.
In Part 2 page 20, Joan Savage admits that she is not the owner and was never the owner of the food trailer. The IA investigator, Pittman, states to Savage, "if you give her money and she signs the bill of sale, she's actually the one..." Savage interrupted, "The owner." Pittman, "The owner." Savage, "Yes."
Pittman then sought to clarify the relationship again, "Do you have any, do you have any documents, cancelled checks or anything for the, on this transaction?" Savage replied, "I have a contract that was drawn up later on."
In Part 2 page 21, Savage is asked when the contract with the Brundidges was drawn up. Savage replied, "August, September." That would be August or September of 2013.
In Part 2 pages 47-49, a "Business Agreement" is produced. It is an agreement between Joan Savage and two separate partners, B and C, B being Darryl Brundidge and C being Sheila Brundidge. The loan amount is now $20,000. The date of this "Business Agreement" is January 23, 2013. It is not notarized. It is not recorded in any Escambia County Court records.
With the production of the "Business Agreement," all the assertions of fact collapse like a house of cards in a hurricane. For the Brundidges, what was a contract between the church and Savage is now a business contract between the Brundidges and Savage. For Savage, what was a personal loan only to Sheila Brundidge becomes a business contract with Darryl and Sheila Brundidge. And, what was only $18,000 according to the Brundidges and Savage has now become $20,000. And, we must remember that Savage claimed that she had paid $18,000 in "one check" for the food trailer, but Angela Summerlin who sold the trailer to the church stated that the church's check had failed to clear the bank and that she was paid in cash.
The only facts that remains standing after all these words is that at no time was Savage an owner of the food trailer and that the only owner of the food trailer was Sheila Brundidge. We cannot be certain that Darryl Brundidge ever signed the bill of sale.
Moreover, the "Business Agreement" commenced on January 22, 2013, but
was signed on January 23, 2013, and supposedly drawn up in August or
September 2013. And, no one who is a party to this "Business Agreement"
remembered that the amount loaned was $20,000 and not $18,000. And, we
have no idea when this "Business Agreement" was actually executed
because it is not notarized and not recorded. It is simply a convenient
piece of paper not accompanied by any church records, bank records, or
And, here is the main point, if Joan Savage was never an owner of the food trailer, then calling up Ms. Brenda Nix and threatening to arrest her for theft is an abuse of her authority. But, being golden, just like Lt. Forte, she is not investigated and not disciplined.
But, it is her false claim that she was the owner of the food trailer and her false claim that the food trailer had been stolen that set the first Internal Affairs investigation into motion.
Whether she knew it or not, intended it or not, Deputy Joan Savage gave Sheriff Morgan and Chief Deputy the thinnest of pretexts to launch a vindictive witch hunt against Sergeant Philip Nix, the former union representative who had defended Lt. Laura Montoya--a case that is almost certain to cost the ECSO a big dollar settlement and who could ruin Chief Deputy Haines's career.
THIS IS WHAT A POLICE STATE LOOKS LIKE
This is what a police state looks like. Internal Affairs show trials
using perjured testimony from one deputy and false statements from another
deputy who was linked to the civil dispute by family ties, but had no
legal standing to be involved in the civil dispute. Lt. Forte perjured himself without penalty because he was testifying on behalf of Morgan and Haines against senior Sergeant Nix, the former union representative and leader. Even when Deputy Savage admitted under oath that she threatened Ms. Brenda Nix,
Nix's mother, no disciplinary action was taken against her for abusing her
office. The ECSO used contradictory evidence manufactured out of thin air; the ECSO ignored a
legal opinion from the State Attorney's Office that Sergeant Nix had not committed any crime and that the matter was a civil dispute. Sheriff Morgan or Chief
Deputy Haines apparently pressured or persuaded the State Attorney's
Office to re-word an email in order to fit their preconceived narrative
that Nix had committed a felony. Morgan and Haines needed some kind of
fig leaf to cover up their own illegal actions in a wrongful
If an exemplary Sergeant can be
railroaded out of a career--and a former union representative/leader no
less--then no citizen and no labor leader or representative in this
county is safe.
One of the bedrocks of American society
is that we believe in the rule of law. We believe that no official,
from the president to the lowliest elected official, is above the law.
We believe in due process. We believe that individuals accused of a
crime are afforded the protection of their constitutional rights. We
believe that when you are accused of a crime, that the investigators
will look at all the evidence that points towards your innocence and
guilt and make a fair determination of whether or not to proceed. In
the case of former Sergeant Philip Nix, all those bedrock beliefs
were pulverized by Sheriff Morgan and Chief Deputy Haines abusing their
authority and power for personal and political revenge.