TALLAHASSEE — Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil has assigned Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB) Chief Investigator Jeffery Beasley to lead the investigation of Mayor Andrew Gillum’s alleged misappropriation of City of Tallahassee property for personal use.
McNeil brushed off suggestions longstanding ties with Gillum — through McNeil’s previous position as Tallahassee Police Department Chief of Police and through McNeil and Gillum’s mutual association with political advisor Sean Pittman during the last election — will affect the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation of Gillum.
“I think for the most part, the media is gonna make this a no-win situation and we understand that. We will be criticized,” McNeil said.
He continued, “I have no concern about the mayor or anyone else. The folks of Leon County elected me to do the job of sheriff and that’s precisely what I plan to do.”
“My department has investigated numerous people. I don’t do the investigation myself,” he explained.
McNeil said Beasley is overseeing the investigation.
Beasley, controversial is his own right, was hired on Jan. 3 by McNeil. Beasley is the former Florida Department of Corrections inspector general accused of covering up and thwarting investigations into human rights abuses in the Florida prison system. He and others in his office were accused of failing to investigate and even derailing some cases involving the abuse of inmates.
McNeil said it is Beasley who will assign an investigator to the Gillum case.
Indicating complete confidence in his investigative team, McNeil was emphatic it would run a thorough investigation in which he would not interfere.
“It will go to an investigator. I have no idea who that investigator will be. Any investigator assigned to this will have the background in these kinds of cases and he or she will do their job. They will, if need be, confer with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, relative to any issues of computers, science and technology, like we always do. That investigation will carry on, and, like murder cases and other cases, I don’t personally oversee those cases. I don’t personally get involved in those,” he said.
He further explained that there are “checks and balances” between the Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s office. He said when the investigator completes his or her investigation, the findings will be sent to the State Attorney’s office. If there are questions, the State Attorney can send them back to the investigator.
“There’ll be discussions back and forth about the evidence and the course of the investigation,” McNeil said, “and all of that will occur without my having anything to do with it whatsoever.”
“I’m just gonna do my job. My investigators will do a great job. This case will be processed the same way as any other case,” McNeil said.
On February 23, Tallahassee Reports broke the story that Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum had allegedly spent approximately $5,000 in city funds to purchase software from democrat campaign vendor, NGP VAN. That software was allegedly used in campaign emails for Gillum in which he mixed “Office of the Mayor” letterhead with his campaign correspondence.
An investigation was launched March 8 by State Attorney Jack Campbell after receipt of a complaint letter from a retired Jefferson County law enforcement officer and investigator.
gillum did everything that is being investigated and they are all offenses for which other city employees have been fired…one that I know personally. If gillum gets off, that employee should file suit against the city.
If the Sheriff has close ties to the Mayor then ethics alone would suggest another agency perform the investigation.
To all these brilliant minds on post…..so its given to FDLE and they come back with minimal fault. This bunch on here won’t be happy either way. I’m in no way a fan of this mayor or his cronies, but let the process play out. Its the only way to know where we, the true citizens, will stand with him, our Sheriff, our State Attorney, our Governor and our state law enforcement (FDLE).
It’s gonna smell stale no matter what comes of it. Gillum has made this bed and the question that is going to be answered is, who will come out with the bugs on them?
Was this investigation handed to McNeil by Campbell with a wink so they can preserve their constituency?
As has happened far too often in the past, if this “investigation”
(most likely in name only) is conducted in the slightest way within ANY of the city’s or county’s government agencies, no matter how tenuously connected, nothing will be found that warrants more than a small fine and a wink, and that will be it. The local rag will trumpet that “no evidence of wrongdoing” was found, surrounded in a sea of stories extolling the virtues and talents of Mr. Gillum and what a “great governor he will make”. It’s all so predictable, UNLESS the entire issue is legally wrenched away from any Tallahassee entity and placed squarely and solely in the hands of the FDLE.
Sadly, at this point with the FBI under Comey, I no longer have any faith in them or any other Federal investigative agencies to handle this case in an impartial way. Keep the investigation firmly under Florida State agencies under our Republican Governor’s authority.
As usual..The news broke and the day after it has been shut down tight.. The Democrat does what it does.. Really someone from another city needs to be the one to get to the bottom of this mess..
I wrote a letter to the Governor requesting FDLE initiate an investigation of Easy Andy. From what I can tell, the Governor needs to actually start the process of investigating a public official. Please do the same.
Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
FDLE has a public corruption unit and the Governor should appoint them to lead this investigation.
And this has corruption to the core written all over it !
Yes, the Governor is very familiar with public corruption!
Being that this investigation involves a sitting mayor an outside PROSECUTOR AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ENTITY should be involved here.
Please get this on the right track as there are too many political conflicts of interests for local entities to investigate this. BOTH the State Attorney and Sheriff should know this!
Another train wreck before even leaving the station.
Amen Hope. At this point any investigation into local politics needs to be handled from the state level. There are too many connected insiders for anything above board to happen.
Slow down there Hope…once again, the Sheriff is going through proper protocol. It is his job and before anyone starts degrading the process, let’s give the Sheriff a chance to see if he will be a true representative of the people or not?
I would like to see the Sheriff’s Office handle the investigation and then have the Sheriff have FDLE come in and review before coming to a final conclusion of the case. If FDLE reviews and concurs, then it will be evident the Sheriff’s Office did their job and the people who elected him will have a vote of confidence in his administration who everyone seems to want to prejudge at this moment.
Perhaps you should be versed and educated on professionalism and integrity rather than rule by cronyism. Gillum and his aide should resign immediately and the investigation proceed to the state or federal level.