Ethics Board Investigation: Adam Corey Gave Discounts “Mainly for Political Events”

Ethics Board Investigation: Adam Corey Gave Discounts “Mainly for Political Events”

Last week the city’s independent Ethics Board released documents emanating from the investigation of a $5,000 discount received from a city vendor by a family member of Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez.

The ethics questions surrounding the transaction involve a possible gift received by Fernandez from a city vendor and a job given to the former Edison employee Eddie Kring, who was the catering manager for his daughter’s wedding reception.

Here are four questions and four answers based on the investigation and previous reports.

What role did Fernandez play in securing the vendor for the catering event?

Previously Fernandez told the Tallahassee Democrat that “I just paid the bills.”

However, the documents show that City Manager Fernandez played a role in securing the Edison as the caterer for his daughter’s wedding through a private meeting with Adam Corey.

Also, the investigation shows that Fernandez talked to Edison owner Adam Corey when there were logistical problems running up to the event.

Who gave the discount and why?

Three former employees of the Edison told city ethics officials they believed the Edison owners directed catering services be discounted and by how much.

However, no witness ever heard or believes that Mr. Fernandez asked for a discount.

Also, the employees indicated Mr. Corey did occasionally give percentage type discounts for services, mainly for political events.

Did Kring talk to Fernandez about a city job?

Yes. The investigation reported the following:

“Rick ran into Kring weeks or months after the wedding when Rick first learned that Kring was job hunting. Kring said he “would love to get back into community relations”. Rick told him to submit an application to HR, as he does all the time in his position when he is approached by an aspiring job hunter, which is often. Rick had no more to do with Kring’s job hunt.”

However this statement seems inconsistent with other facts.

First, the investigator uncovered an email from Fernandez’s daughter asking her father why Kring was not still working at the Edison. Her father’s response was:

“He has been talking to me about coming to the City. I’ll find out.”

And second, the head of the Communications Department, Alison Faris, told TR that since Mr. Fernandez is her boss, he was aware of the hire.

Did Adam Corey talk to Fernandez about a job for Kring with the city?

TR has previously reported that sources indicate that Adam Corey talked to Fernandez about a job for Kring.

However, Jerry Currington, the lawyer for the Ethics Board that interviewed Fernandez, never asked Fernandez if he talked to Adam Corey about a job for Kring.

21 Responses to "Ethics Board Investigation: Adam Corey Gave Discounts “Mainly for Political Events”"

  1. I believe that community oriented policing can be a very effective way to combat, deter and educate the public to reduce the crime rate. But it has to be done after the streets are fully staffed with boots on the ground allowing the COP officers to actively engage the community, not getting pulled to answer calls and write reports. The idea of getting cops out of their cars to have a relationship with the community is necessary and would work if applied correctly. I agree with Tango247 in the point that if not utilized correctly, it can be a waste of resources. I strongly disagree that it should be scrapped and a useless way to combat crime. I also disagree that the majority of a community is against cleaning up the streets. I wonder if Tango247 placed in the same environment would be so quick to judge? Not throwing punches at Tango247, but if you havent walked in their shoes, spent time in their neighborhood, its hard to know their walk. The large majority of all communities are good, law abiding citizens who support law enforcement and cleaning up the streets, however when threatened with survival people will do what they need to do to survive and be silent and look the other way. But they do it out of fear not out of heart. The problem with community oriented policing is when yes, you get the powers to be using the officers to help them build votes in a community and there is not enough cops on the street to allow them to do what they need to do. Old school policing was community oriented policing at its best where the beat cop knew who were the good guys and bad guys, where the community felt comfortable knowing their cop and they had a relationship. Most of the time it develops into a relationship far beyond just the job where the cop takes ownership of his beat helping in the community even after punching the clock.
    I promise you putting more cops on the street will turn the crime rate around. We have not seen the effect of more cops yet because of a few factors.
    1) we are only catching up to staffing where we should of been 8-10 years ago and with the retirements coming in the next few years we will soon be that far behind again.
    2) the neglect to focus on law enforcement in this community in the past 2 decades has allowed the criminal element to take ground and territory. It didn’t happen over night and will not be corrected over night but it is a turf war.
    3) Taking the power and authority away form the cops and empowering the criminal element has to change.
    4) There is a reason new cops are called rookies, ( sorry we can’t call them rookies any more its not P.C.)
    But it will take the average cop 3-5 years to really get their ears wet and know the game.

    This can and should be turned around and this community should demand it from their elected officials for the safety of their families. When there are enough cops on the streets to be proactive again instead of reactive and glorified report writers, when they have the support and tools of the elected officials and the community they work in, the crime rate will start to plunge.

  2. Take a ride with the TPD to a crime scene and see what they encounter. There can be a large crowd at some nite club in the parking lot where a dead body lies and NUMERIOUS gun shots were fired—and guess what—-no one saw nothing !!! Without witnesses , the job for police is insurmountable . Due diligence on the part of folks that live in the areas where our crime hot spots are, needs to become a way of life, instead of almost total lack of cooperation with law enforcement . Then and only then , can the justice be rendered in our court system to deter future criminal activity.

  3. To Ms. Hope and Mr. Beeman,
    My apologies to Chief DeLeo, and thanks to you both for pointing out my error in saying he is in any way responsible for our crime problem. I should have done my research on Chief DeLeo’s record here and his actions in fighting COT for more resources before I wrote my remarks above. From both your accounts, he is a fine officer trying to work uphill an a situation with abysmal and negligent management from above. I made a mistake, my fault.

    Ms. Hope, all the information and criticisms you make on Tallahassee’s elected officials and the cronyism and covering up for one another (all while neglecting or outright ignoring our crime problems and other issues) are spot on – I completely agree that COT’s focus is on themselves and their own self-enrichment, and how Tallahassee’s resources and taxpayer money can be used for their personal advantage. The fact that they’ve allowed our crime problem to spin out of control and they won’t give Chief DeLeo all the resources he needs is a crime in itself. You can’t have a great city with a nationally notorious violent crime rate. We desperately need new city officials who actually want to improve this city instead of their own wallets.

    Mr. Beeman, I completely agree with you that Tallahassee Law Enforcement (chief DeLeo) should be given whatever is required to successfully reduce our crime rate: more officers (increase salaries and benefits as necessary to keep and attract good officers), more equipment, and (very important) more backing and hands-off from COT officials. Skimping on the Law Enforcement budget is bad enough, but when you couple that with the sometimes ridiculous over-budget projects (Cascade Bridge, Turtle Tunnel, et al) that city money is wasted on, it makes an insufficient police budget even worse.

    We can’t fix Tallahassee’s crime problem until we fix our COT problem, because COT officials ARE the reason the violent crime rate has reached this point. If we can find good candidates who actually care about this city, I hope their main priorities would include (1) Reducing our crime rate and (2) Trying to bring more employment opportunities to the South Side to try and help people out of poverty and the gang lifestyle – to try and solve the root causes of crime. Of course that depends on those people taking advantage of the opportunities that are placed before them, but at least it would be an open door where few if any exist now.

    Again, thanks to you both for your input and comments.

  4. Mike,
    I hear you and think your spot on. As someone who has spent the past three decades in the field of law enforcement in this community, I can tell you first hand it is time to make a difference before it gets way out of control , as we all know it has already started too. But I assure you Chief DeLeo is not the problem and I support him 110%. First let me say I have not supported all the decisions he has made, everyone makes bad choices and his were big. But as I have told many, I believe that if he can weather the storm and last 10 years here , he will be seen as one of the best Chiefs this agency has seen. You have to realize the dynamics of the workings of this government. The Chief can only do what the powers at city hall will allow him too, and I have seen Chief DeLeo fight to get more boots on the ground and fight a huge battle over the cities failure to fund more cops. The “raising taxes to hire more cops” was a shame and only a small portion of what they would of taken in was used to hire more cops. I assure you the single biggest contributor factor to our crime problem is not having the man power to address it, deter it and help educate against it. Does not matter how even handed, how much experience or how great a Chief you hire if they are ,micro managed and not allowed to do what they are trained and have the experience to do. You could bring in Buford T. Justice , Chuck Norris, Superman, Captain America and all the super hero’s known to man kind and if you don’t equip them for the job and give them the ability to do what you hired them to do then its a waste of valuable resources. Give Chief DeLeo the resources to hire more cops, and it will take a lot to recover the ground we have let slip away already not to mention the 25 – 35 officers that will be retiring in the next 3 years, give him the support and ability to put his knowledge, training, skills and experience into work without city hall interference and I will bet the security of my family the crime rate starts going the other direction.

      1. Community policing: A federal bribery scheme sold as an attempt to legitimize police efforts in the eyes of the crime plagued areas by asking community leaders from those areas what the police should be doing.
        The irony being those same community leader have no idea what to do so we have crime fighters picking up roadside trash and handing out stickers while Rev, Escalade and Pastor Cadillac get grants for fake programs. Those same two then turn against the Police when they actually crack down on crime. The result, they get even more money and the police go back to handing out stickers. Lather, rinse, repeat since 1993.

  5. Good stuff Mike.
    We need to go hard on good jobs and even harder on the gangs on the south side.
    The jobs part is so PC, happy, optimistic and easy to get behind.
    The going hard after the gangs is gonna take some leadership that we do not have in place yet in Tallahassee.
    Going hard after the gangs is not quite so PC, happy, optimistic and easy to get behind. But without both we will be just throwing money at the problem with no results.
    Oh and one more thing in closing. That $7.5 MIL spent on the “Hey Hey look at us” Cascades bridge would gone a long way to going hard on gangs.

  6. I apologize in advance for being wildly off-topic, but I feel compelled to mention what I’ve heard on the local radio news today. “Tallahassee’s Homicide Rate has reached an all-time high.” with the 18th victim recently killed, and along with that there were six shootings this past weekend. The numbers speak for themselves.
    To me it seems our crime rate/murder rate has reached a crisis point and it’s time to change the strategy. Nothing against Police Chief DeLeo, but the crime numbers haved moved in the wrong direction for too long and the time to make changes has come. Tallahassee is a fine city with so much potential. With good (ethical!) government and attention on the right priorities, Tallahassee could easily make those lists of “Best Places to Live” that are so widely published every year.
    To me, those priorities would be:
    (1) Cleaning up our crime
    (2) More industry-opportunity attracted here, especially for the South side of Tallahassee to provide jobs, income, and self-respect – a way out of poverty and into the middle class. We can’t clean up crime unless we solve the root causes of it.

    But we’ll never reach our potential if we don’t change course, and soon. If it were me and I was a COT Commissioner (or the mayor), I’d look for the toughest, most experienced, and most even-handed (fair) law-enforcement officer I could find in America, and I’d try to hire him or her as Tallahassee Police Chief. I’d divert other city funds (the CRA budget is a good choice) and give him-her what resources they need to get the job done, no scrimping. In the end, we either control Tallahassee’s crime problem or it controls us, so the cost is worth it.

    And then I’d do my darndest to try and attract some clean manufacturing or assembly industries to build facilities within easy driving distance of Tallahassee’s South Side. I’d give those companies every tax break and incentive in the book (and then some) to get them to locate here and huge incentives to hire and train a workforce from the South Side and Tallahassee in general. A person (at least those persons with half a brain) with a good job, self-respect and maybe hope for the first time in their lives isn’t going to be inclined to blow it up by committing crimes and being a “Gangsta”. And maybe they won’t tolerate others in their community trying to ruin their new job opportunities with crime, either.

    I’m sure there’s tons of holes in my simplistic theories for helping our city, but it’s a damn sight more than what’s being done now. Anyway, that’s my two cents. Tallahassee could be a Great Town, if we can get the problems fixed, but we need to elect people who want to do that instead of being the subject of repetitive FBI investigations.

    1. Valid points throughout! City and County officials including law enforcement appearing to be befuddled by the ever-increasing explosive crime rates. Why would industry, any private economic engine leap frog to the Capital City under siege with ‘public’ investigation by the feds, explosive increase in the rate of crime and only mere rhethoric from those in leadership! 2018 fast approaching! It’s time to seriously consider leadership options!

    2. Good stuff Mike.
      We need to go hard on good jobs and even harder on the gangs on the south side.
      The jobs part is so PC, happy, optimistic and easy to get behind.
      The going hard after the gangs is gonna take some leadership that we do not have in place yet in Tallahassee.
      Going hard after the gangs is not quite so PC, happy, optimistic and easy to get behind. But without both we will be just throwing money at the problem with no results.

    3. Mike,

      Let me give you some insights on where you seem to misguided. First, Chief DeLeo is an exemplary leader! The problems are elected officials not living in their districts, the Chamber of Commerce holding out of town PR events for a few PR reps (Yordon, Pittman, Maddox, Vancore) who promotes elected officials. Add to this dysfunction the news media and reporters who join in and act as PR reps to this select group…Tamaryn Waters, Jeff Burlew, Mary Ann Lindley, and Gerald Ensley, but to name a few. It really got out of control with editor Bob Gabordi who reported that the sheriff misreported UCR crime stats days after the election, but to give an example of how Gabordi protected the culture and corruption. Add in the county manager who did nothing when the joint dispatch was failing and every city and county commissioner who did nothing. The only commissioner who did something (further mistrustful) was Kristin Dozier who wrote a ‘My View’ stating all was well with the joint dispatch – which was far from the truth – only days later a citizen died and months later a sheriff’s deputy died because of the mismanagement of the joint dispatch… where Gabordi, all elected officials, and their associates did nothing. When you have a state attorney (son of sheriff Campbell)who is down high-fiving the mayor at the chamber event only days after exonerating him from corruption why do you think the crime rate is so high? Our leaders are not focused on crime, gangs, public safety…they are focused on promoting themselves, colluding with each other in real estate deals, using tax dollars for attorneys to defend themselves from public scrutiny, rather than doing their jobs they took and oath to do. Look at Mary Ann Lindley who is clueless and never attended one county commission meeting in her life until she was elected. She went along with the club to secure her spot on the dais. She did nothing when the joint dispatch was failing only to let a sheriff’s deputy be harmed. She endorsed Nick Maddox while at the Tallahassee Democrat– who is now chairman of the CRA committee – now under FBI investigation. While at the Tallahassee Democrat Mary Ann Lindley when questioned about the shortcomings and incompetence of Sheriff Larry Campbell Lindley stated, that his position was merely an “honorary title.” This was the Tallahassee Democrat’s mantra for years that allowed the crime rate to skyrocket. Had they been a watchdog, not covered up Campbell’s incompetence and corruption, and not endorsed Campbell, things may not be as bad as they are today. I do not see where Sheriff McNeil is doing this county any good by socializing at the chamber event at the taxpayer’s expense instead of doing his job. Apparently it is more important to promote himself ahead of his next election. VOTE OUT Bill Proctor, Scott Maddox, Gil Ziffer, Mary Ann Lindley, Nancy Miller, Nick Maddox, the state attorney, and get Sheriff McNeil on track; secure new city and county managers, and replace the city attorney for starters, would be a good start to rebuilding a better community, from the corruption, incompetence, and inhumanity that thrives at present.

  7. It bears repeating that any elected official with strong principals and ethics already knows that he/she must carefully avoid even the appearance of accepting gifts, receiving or granting favors (or anything else) from associates, lobbyists, businessmen, or citizens. I underscore the word “appearance”.

    I worked for the state of FL for years, and we had a strict departmental policy that we couldn’t accept “anything” (anything appearing as a gift or favor) over a value of $10.00 at any state or agency meeting or social function from any business people attending, any hotel or convention center employee where the event occured, or anyone doing any kind of business or lobbying with the state of FL. To do so could be a fireable violation, depending on the severity and circumstances. As state employees, we were all very aware of this strict policy and repeatedly reminded of it by our managers.

    I’m not debating the circumstance of a former employee of the Edison getting a job at the city, as long as it went through all approved and normal channels for any any city employee’s hiring.
    But there appears to be unusual circumstances and coincidences with Mr. Kring’s hire. And even the “appearance” should have been avoided. So it’s completely appropriate for questions to be raised and investigations to be conducted. Congrats on asking questions and investigating, TR!

      1. Now that you mention it Allie it kind of does seem like someone has gotten Mr. Corey out of the news and the spotlight.
        The Feds may have him enjoying some quality vacation time in a tropical resort where none of the “usual suspects” can get to him and influence him with their evil ways before we need him to testify in Federal court.

  8. “Well now there’s just too many people involved here that do not work for the city. Normally I just intimidate them into silence and if getting fired wont shut them up I will set them up in the sky box for an FSU football game with free liquor and snacks.”
    “What to do – what to do?” Said Rick Fernandez.

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