News broke Friday that prominent local attorney Harold Knowles was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Georgia. The indictment mentioned Knowles’ Tallahassee Law firm and Pinnacle/CSG, a Florida-based construction company partly owned by Knowles.
Research by Tallahassee Reports has found that both entities addressed in the indictment have financial relationships with the City of Tallahassee and Leon County government.
The indictment of Knowles lists charges of conspiracy to pay a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, conspiracy to launder the proceeds of unlawful activity and paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds.
A report by the The Telegraph in Macon Georgia states that Knowles’ law firm was used as a “middleman” to pass a bribe of $100,000 to an elected official.
The report also detailed how Knowles, toward the end of 2012, approached the Bibb County School Superintendent, Romain Dallemand, about possible construction projects between Pinnacle and the school district. Knowles offered the superintendent stock in Pinnacle if he was able to secure future construction contracts for the company with the school district.
Local Government Business Connections
Records show that in 2010 Pinnacle Construction Group was awarded a $1.5 million contract by the City of Tallahassee for the rehabilitation of Chelsea Apartments, located at 1602 Stuckey Avenue.
In addition, the Pinnacle Construction Group was a controversial pick as a subcontractor for a $1.4 million airport fence job after John Marks was elected mayor of Tallahassee.
Marks was part of the Knowles law firm before he was elected mayor and maintained a controversial relationship with Knowles for a number of years after he was elected.
WCTV reporter Andy Alcock published a report that documented the controversy over the fence project. The report states that the Pinnacle Construction Group was chosen to build a fence around the Tallahassee airport even though the company had no experience in such work.
Also, a search of online checkbooks for Leon County Government and the City of Tallahassee show that the Knowles and Randolph law firm is currently being paid by both government entities.
Over the last 3 years the City of Tallahassee’s legal department has paid the Knowles & Randolph law firm approximately $75,000 for legal services billed through approximately 70 different invoices.
Records show that Knowles & Randolph has billed the Leon County Housing Finance Authority approximately $8,000 in 2017. Also, Knowles & Randolph is listed as the Board Attorney for the Leon County Code Enforcement Board.
Knowles is also a director of the Big Bend Minority Chamber which is part of the governance structure that will play a role in deciding how Blueprint tax dollars are spent.
How do any of u idiots think the “awesome” reporters in Tally found any of this out?! Because it’s public record!! It’s called a bidding process… the other city and county commissioners have to vote to approve it. Knowles billed the city and county for work he did for them… Also public record! Maybe u ppl should learn a little more about how contracts and public records and bidding processes go before u start talking out of your….. cuz most of these comments are clearly posted by uninformed idiots that need lives.
That’s the only way they could catch him was do it in another state.He always stated he had friends in High places, he have dinner with Judged and lawyers,even play golf with them
Nice to see the Democrat has posted today TR details on this story. The TD has it made now.. all they have to do is re print all the investigative work the Macon Telegraph will do, along with TR.. just copy and paste..
All the bidding at COT is looked over by a favored few. Most of the RFP’s have been developed to favor the vendor they want. You should go there sometime and sit in on a bid opening. Listen to the conversations of the bidders waiting out in the hall before the bids are opened. Unless you call them on something immediately, their cronies get the bids and they get the kickbacks. It is a travesty and did not start with the current bunch…it has been going on a very long time. Do you recall the name Anita Favors Thompson?
Who do you think decides who is hired in the COT and Leon County offices? If you think it doesn’t matter if an illiberal is hired, what planet are you on? I have yet to meet a Democratic or Bernie supporter who is not interested in fattening his/her wallet first using the guise to “paying back my community”. Such BS! Tallahassee is on the same path of all the other cities who prefer and continue to elect Democrats to run the finances and lifeline of those cities. It is what it is…corrupt all the way around with those knowing better choosing to ignore and others burying their head in the sand to keep from knowing.
In March 2017, the Miami-Herald reported that the development partner for Casanas Village, the Miami-based Pinnacle Homes, is facing a five-year funding ban by the state’s Florida Housing Finance Corporation and the loss of million of federal dollars after the company’s principals were caught inflating costs.
Pinnacle is one of the state’s most active builders of affordable housing. It is the partner in construction of the Casanas project on the corner of Georgia and Macomb Streets in Tallahassee. The parties involved:
Tom Lewis, Big Bend Community Development Corporation (formerly the Frenchtown CDC)
Pinnacle Housing, Miami
Frenchtown Square LLC (formed by Pinnacle and Big Bend CDC)
City of Tallahassee
Florida Housing Finance Corporation
There’s sure a lot of money to be made while in elected office.
Curious why no mention of Pons LCS and Hildebrandt the self proclaimed “informant”? Maybe the Superintendent of Bibb county schools is a twin of our former Superintendent of Leon county schools
This Georgia investigation likely is the source of the Federal records demands of our own “usual suspects” here in Tallahassee.
Think about it prior to giving up the dirt on our “usual suspects” 69 year old Knowles was guranteed to die of old age in a federal prison.
Now after giving our local crime family up he will likely pay just a fraction of his ill gotten gain and walk out a free man.
Now after Knowles made his deal there will be very little our “usual suspects” can do to avoid a long prison term.
FWIW, Roosevelt Randolph, Harold Knowles’ partner, is an outstanding and highly-respected lawyer. The legal profession thinks the world of him.
Randolph is highly regarded. He is in no way implicated.
I believe the quote ends in evil.. as is unfortunate, disgruntled, discussing and even idiots.. thats why we have philosophy. A misfortune might be to believe a wise man.
A wise man once said “Ignorance is the root of all misfortunes.”
Looks like there are a lot of unfortunate disgruntled digusting idiots with nothing better to do…
Knowles would never have faced a grand jury in Tallahassee. He has aided the campaigns of too many of our elected officials. I personally believe that all of the investigations by the FBI will come to naught. The city and county government are circling the wagons.
We’ll always have “that”part with the snakes head trying to rear up.
This is not a black or white issue. Part of the problem no one wants to tell it like it is a d if you do that racism card is played. Do what’s right get rid of the corruption, open the voting barrier of area that are in place and bring in new canidates. Look at what we have now, who wants this again? I don’t I want to be able to call Tallahasse my hometown not high crime of the state.
Yes… Let throw all the libs out and make America WHITE again like u guys want…..
Todd, are you saying all liberals are non-white? Pretty stupid comment.
TODD you are an idiot racist… nice way to go out and throw the Race card.
Liberals always throw out the race card whenever actual debate is not working for them. I personally supported Herman Cain and Ben Carson in their political campaigns and I’m a (gasp!) white male over 50. The only “hate” I ever witnessed for both men was all from the Left. Were both men somehow not “black” enough for the Left to leave unattacked?
To this day, I’d support either one for president in a heartbeat. Color doesn’t matter, ethics and character determines who you are. None of us gets to control our skin color, but we do have control over what kind of people we want to be.
I have never known Tallahassee government to have a good name in my adult lifetime. It is the people who vote for these corrupt people that are to blame. Will you vote for the next commissioner race by putting in the same people , the mayors office -the same people or will you take the time to run yourself or investigate the new candidates for their integrity and experience? The people of the city of Tallahassee are to blame.
City and County contracts should be awarded by unelected professional administrative staffers who are not influenced by political considerations. Merit, competitive pricing, and financial solvency should be the only factors involved. Forget diversity, minority status, political connections or any other matters that aren’t relevant to the contractor’s ability to perform. It is the taxpayers money and they deserve to get the best job for their money.
Innocent until proven guilty..
More of the “same old, same old” stuff as usual. A clean sweep of city/county halls would further the Tallahassee image more than any cuties name or moniker. Wake up , you folks that vote the same people (or similar) into office every time !!
INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY
Yes but I have an opinion based on fact right now! And I am willing to share it!
my eye…he took my property in midway….
It all comes down to money. If these people were awarded jobs over qualified contractors, you know that the people doling out the work received kickbacks from the contractors.
Yes, if we throw out all of these liberals and elect only alt-right conservatives, then Tallahassee will be a heaven on earth.
Don’t see where the article or comments mention liberals at all but since you brought it up…
I don’t care if the person is liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, or anything in between, an elected official must represent the best interests of the people. Not the pocketbooks of a selected few, the privileged and elites!
Who cares about liberals vs. conservatives? I’d vote for either one that has some strong ethical and moral principles, which is in scant supply in our local officials.
I’ll vote for an ethical, morally-principled liberal candidate any day over a “conservative” candidate with questionable ethics. The ethics and character in a candidate matter much more than political labels.
However, as I look around America, liberal-led cities (some for decades): Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and liberal-led states: California, New York, (and especially Illinois with it’s now junk-rated bond status) all don’t seem to be financially thriving, highly desirable places held up as examples of quality living. Sadly, I have to throw Tallahassee in with these places, much as I wish not to.
Not saying having a Conservative government in Tallahassee would automatically make things different, but having ethical, principled local officials would inarguably make things far different.
Again, this makes the City of Tallahassee look bad. Anhaica is correct. People like Knowles and Marks have destroyed the reputation of the City. Only putting these criminals in jail can we start to recover our good name back.
The Democrap’s story makes no mention of Knowles’ relationship to John Marx, the shady fence contract, or any work his firm has done for the COT.
Or just the usual selective, sloppy journalism that provides cover to The Usual Suspects?
I noticed that also…not mentioning Marks.
You also won’t see it mentioned on wctv because they just love these sorry crooks that are and have been running our city
If our elected city and county leaders cared about Tallahassee and Leon County instead of their own pocket books, this place could really be something special. Until that time, Tallahassee will be branded as a crime infested town with corrupt government officials, poor roads, and litter everywhere.
Could not agree more!
I completely agree with you, Anhaica. Tallahassee has so much potential, but will never reach that with the corrupt local government-crony-filled cesspool we have. Until either local demographics or attitudes change enough to profoundly alter present voting patterns, Tallahassee will remain mired in corruption and it’s laughing stock reputation.
Funny how our former mayor seems to have ‘funny’ things follow him.
I still get mad about that airport fence. So many honest local fence builders got crapped out of that job because Marks and the “usual suspects” knew they could not be relied upon like good ‘Old Esquire Knowles to play Marks dirty game.
Esquire Knowles who is about to loose his Florida Bar card are you the attorney Mayor Andy recently paid the $25K to to defend him in his pre determened inocent email software theft from the City investigation?
An excellent question.
Meanwhile, the latest story in the local rag paints a very flippant attitude by many of those closest to the FBI indictments, in their quotes from the Chamber of Crony Capitalism’s annual back-slapper at Amelia Island. Especially Yordon and Burnette.
Sounds as if Esquire Knowles is in prime position to have the dirt on Burnett and all the local “usual suspects”.
Looks as if Esquire Knowles has already or soon will begin “singing like a bird”.
Should we revoke all the local “usual suspect’s” passports?
Seems as if all our “local usual suspects” just became flight risks.