Wednesday, December 26, 2007

John T. Berry
The Florida Bar
650 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2300
Phone: (850) 561-5600; out-of-state (800) 874-0005; In-State (800) 342-8060
Fax: (850) 561-5665

December 27, 2007

Dear Mr. Berry:

Please consider this a citizen’s formal complaint to the Florida Bar Ethics Commission against the firm of Thompson, Sizemore & Gonzalez, One Tampa City Center 201 N. Franklin Street Suite 1600 P.O. Box 639 Tampa, FL 33602. Phone:, (813) 273-0050.

Partner Tom Gonzalez acts attorney for the Hillsborough County School System.

I have tried for over a month to get public information from Mr. Gonzalez about his firm’s relationship with the Hillsborough County School Board. He declines even to acknowledge that he received the requests.

Significant among my unanswered questions to Mr. Gonzalez for public information concerns how he got the job of Hillsborough County school-board attorney in 1992, fifteen years ago. I believe it was a no-bid contract from Dr. Earl Lennard, past superintendent. One infers that the supine board rubberstamped the contract. The board has never since opened this lawyering job up for bids from other law firms in the area.

Mr. Gonzalez took unfair advantage of the school board’s and superintendent’s awarding him a no-bid contract (see Deesan below) even though he knew that the school board’s stamping on everything not nailed down “We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer” is canard and even though his law firm’s ad says it is an expert in Equal Employment Opportunity law. The board and administration lie about practicing equal opportunity in employment and defy anybody to do anything about its violating the equal-opportunity laws. Mr. Gonzalez’s unctuous complicity in evading the equal-employment-opportunity laws in which his law firm claims to be expert and his taking a no-bid job from the school superintendent do not speak well for his ethics.

Mr. Gonzalez accepted this plum position in a manner that also goes athwart the equal-opportunity riders on the schools’ federal contracts. So Mr. Gonzalez’s complicity in snapping up a no-bid job also imperils school and student welfare.

Mr. Gonzalez understood that now-retired Dr. Earl Lennard, who gave him this job without advertising it, ranks one of the least astute men in a county known for its glut of profoundly mediocre men in high places. I submit that Mr. Gonzalez exploited the simplicity of one of the area’s many ninnies who insinuate themselves into bureaucratic jobs, award themselves bloated salaries, and make a mess of public business in these forlorn badlands of democracy. In so doing, Mr. Gonzalez thumbed his nose at fair competition with his brother and sister lawyers, disdained equal-employment-opportunity laws in which he professes to be expert, ignored the equal-opportunity riders on school federal funds, and took advantage of a community nincompoop’s lack of sophistication.

I discovered by attending school-board meetings that Mr. Gonzalez holds forth on how the no-bid paradigm ranks best method because, he affirms, some inchoate process allows the school board—none of which smash into the upper reaches of the Stanford Binet—to assume mystical powers of divination that make inevitable its choosing the best candidate be it a non-advertised job or a no-bid contract. Board divination reveals the latter to be the best no-bid crony who gets a taxpayer-subsidized funds transfer with the board attorney’s blessing. Money is no object in these no-bid tax-paid windfalls I heard Mr. Gonzalez assert with blithe certitude.

Writing contracts for school projects, says Mr. Gonzalez, is too complex for school administrators whose bloated salaries exceed a hundred thousand dollars a year with the superintendent’s in the $300,000 range, making her one of the most extravagantly paid superintendents in the nation.

The lack of logic in Mr. Gonzalez’s gauzy rationale for supporting the no-bid process could have emerged from a Ouija board with equal cogency.

Mr. Gonzalez’s receiving a no-bid contract himself means his advice regarding no-bid contracts has not been disinterested for fifteen years; it has been interested. And interested also is his urging the board that money should not be a consideration in its arbitrary awarding of these no-bid contracts.

I believe Mr. Gonzalez’s benefiting from the no-bid addiction of the school board makes his advocating the no-bid ritual as board attorney unethical. Isn’t the word “recuse” for a lawyer’s excusing him- or herself from situations that render personal benefit? If so, I contend that Mr. Gonzalez should have recused himself from the get-go of his own no-bid contract. He should have sat mum on the podium when the no-bid subject arose for the whole fifteen years of his no-bid incumbency.

The most recent no-bid outrage that Mr. Gonzalez approved saw a $148,000 contract go to a newly retired school administrator who had worked with the superintendent and who, La Gaceta newspaper discovered, didn’t have a business phone with a live person answering it and didn’t return voice-mail. Testing his availability, I myself called up this former administrator’s home and got a Minnie-Pearl recording that said, “It’s another beautiful day. Let’s live it for the lord!”

Chief Facilities Officer Ms. Cathy Valdez was administration mouthpiece at the board meeting to approve this Elia no-bid buddy scam. Ms. Valdez claimed the no-phone guy was paradigm of state-wide reverence for his business acumen. She offered no evidence to support this assertion. It turned out that this was the paragon’s first job in his post-administration start-up. The no-bid scam passed with Edgecomb, Kurdell, Olson, Falliero, and Lamb supporting it. Only Griffin and Valdes opposed the tax rip-off. Olson and Kurdell castigated Griffin for asking that the item be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion. These two no-bid advocates said Griffin was disloyal to the staff for questioning its infallibility.

Ms. Valdez is typical of the buddy and sycophant appointees that featherbed the administration. Ms. Valdez holds a degree in early childhood, a mismatch for Chief Facilities Officer that did not prevent Ms. Elia’s giving her the position sans advertising. The job needs a business degree for which the board should advertise widely. I never heard that Mr. Gonzalez reminded the board of the need to advertise Valdez’s job to accord with its ubiquitous stamp of “we are an equal-opportunity employer.”

I argued once to Dr. Lamb that the system of allowing employees to, as he put it, “work themselves up through the ranks” made as much sense as letting a grounds keeper at the Mayo Clinic work up to become chief brain surgeon or allowing cafeteria workers in a county school system to work up to be teachers.

Advertising reaches candidates with both credentials and experience in the field. The administration system of promoting unqualified candidates who are often sycophants from within to the highest of administrative positions resulted in the recent meltdown of the transportation system with a former bus driver as its head. If Tom Gonzalez’s firm is expert in the equal-opportunity laws, I wonder why he does not forewarn the board that it fails to advertise jobs opens it to equal-employment-opportunity law challenges.

Ms. Valdes is out of her depth and age group in the grown-up world of business. That’s the reason she needed the $148,000 no bid, no-phone consultant to do the job that she and her staff should have done themselves. That the no-phone consultant may require a consultant himself is all part of this school board’s Kafkaesque bid protocol. Ms. Valdes gets a sky-high salary courtesy of unwary taxpayers and board lack of concern for frittering tax money away on incompetent, under-credentialed, inexperienced administrators whom the board supplements with no-phone, no-bid former administrator consultants. This choreograph receives the Thompson etc. board attorney’s legal sanction.

Such is the story of school-board-no-bid largesse from the pockets of taxpayers malgre eux. The bids can and do go to retired administrator buddies of the superintendent with a start-up business at which nobody answers the phone. The no-bid lottery can produce protégés as was the recent case of a senior administrator’s hiring her pet to a health-work sinecure that the administrator herself invented, did not advertise, and turned out to be redundant since there was already a superfluity in that area. When knowledge of the job’s invention surfaced, the board attorney could discover no way to revoke the contract, so the protégé went on the payroll.

Nobody--board, superintendent, or attorney—recommended the firing of the renegade administrator.

These are specimens of the no-bid muddle fostered by the board and justified with legal gloss by Mr. Gonzalez of the flossy law firm of Thompson, Sizemore, and Gonzalez, itself pulling down a hefty clump of tax money in its no-bid run of fifteen years during which Tom Gonzalez’s has reprised role not unlike that of consigliore Tom in The Godfather. These manic no-bid and bizarre employment schemes evoke Sartre Huit-Clos choreograph.

Such is not the worst damage that Thompson, Sizemore, and Gonzalez via Gonzalez facilitates for the rip-offs of taxpaying citizens. The firm’s attorneys also treat the First Amendment with cavalier neglect and cooperate with the Constitution-scoffer board and early-childhood administrators to deprive citizens of their First-Amendment rights.

Thompson, Sizemore, and Gonzalez advertises itself as a firm that protects the employer’s rights. Gonzalez is putative board attorney, but in a larger context he is attorney that represents the interests of his citizen employers who elected the board and who pay his salary. He never seems to remember that fact.

During citizens’ input time, the board suffers citizens to approach the mike on the periphery of the hallowed precincts of board sacred semi-circle in an atmosphere reminiscent of the wretch Radames’s begging for his life from the icy priests who sentenced him to dungeon death in Aida.

Dr. Lamb models imperious chair with sneer on his face and finger on the buzzer to silence the intruder mid-clause at the end of a niggard three minutes.

So intent are the board and administration on reducing the role of teachers and students to that of mere economic field hands that provide the tax money in the board and administration’s appropriation of the schools for their aggrandizement and lust for power that they decline to accord these two groups a slot on the board agenda. Doing so would augment teachers and students’ legitimacy that board and administration want to gut; it would also cut into the time the board’s members require to laud each other for the gimcrack awards and honorariums the parasitic world of bureaucrat administrators devises in a non-stop rollout of incestuous accolades.

Ms. Elia alone has received in the last trimester at least six Superintendent of the Year, the Decade, or the Century citations even though she can’t write past junior-high level and wouldn’t know where to put a comma if her life depended on it. She presents evidence that the smart go into teaching while the dumb go into administration because that’s where the money is.

So hostile is the Honorable Lamb to citizen input that he once implied that I was a wetback who swam from Madeira Beach to Hillsborough County just to annoy him with my question about his using the board secretary and official stationery to write Mayor Iorio to give his condo association a break on its water bill. Had his girth allowed agility, I hazard he would have leapt his royal desk to clobber me with his gavel.

Chair Lamb also rebuked teachers’ clapping for their colleagues when they protested at a board meeting Ms. Elia’s loading another class on them with no pay to solve her budget problems. Chair Lamb said the teachers’ applause was “uncivil” and violated Robert’s Rules. Le Gonzalez offered no demur. The tax-paid counselor declined to defend the Constitutional right to clap.

While money is no object in the no-bid process to give buddies and sycophants contracts and to invent relatives and protégés jobs, money ranked primary reason that Ms. Elia loaded an extra class without pay onto teachers. She needed a sacrificial population from which to extract the dollars needed for the reduced-classroom-size mandate. Teachers are default patsies for such administrative fiats. The board always rubberstamps the administration no matter how extreme its proposal. Board candidates piously praise teachers on the stump but rip them off on the board podium.

Most recent example of Constitution bashing was my case of having the Thompson etc. representative allow Board Chair Jennifer Falliero gavel me down when I tried to ask questions about her adulterous affair (see deposition snippet below) conducted on school precincts with a school administrator and during which she missed school events to pursue him to Arizona. The board and administration covered up La Faliera’s conduct not because they objected to the conduct but because the stench of its disclosure would cause public doubts about board-and-administration handling of unseemly behavior on school property. If the public knew that such behavior got tolerance from the board and administration, some heads would have rolled.

I suspect Mr. Gonzalez knew about La Falliera’s conduct. Every hall, office, and mop closet battened off it. Teachers at distant schools knew about it. An insider of fifteen years gets told the seamy secrets of the outfit to which he provides legal advice.

A good part of Ms. Elia’s administrative activities have to do with sanitizing her public image by keeping the public ignorant of what goes on behind the Wizard-of-Oz screen that walls off untoward administrative conduct. The Public Affairs office works with zeal under threat of Elia wrath to spin the school news so that it comes out deodorized and she looks good. The head of the public-affairs office gets a hundred thousand tax dollars a year to make the superintendent look like the Cato the Elder in the superintendent racket. This spun version of the superintendent is not only for local but also for state consumption.

Marc Hart, the administrator with whom Ms. Faliero had the affair that she instigated by haunting his office to the point where Dr. Lennard told her to stay away from Mr. Hart, is the source of my information on this school-locale affair. He asked to come to my home in Madeira Beach and recounted the circumstances of the affair.

This shattered man is now divorced, can’t get a job, and worries about the damage—tardily, to be sure—that the situation inflicts on his children. Ms. Faliero used board glamour as allure in this tawdry La-Belle-Dame-Sans-Merci exploit on school property. By no stretch of the imagination could one say this conduct served the interest of the public education that School Board Falliero is supposed to protect and improve as a board member. Ms. Falliero tells teachers that they are held to a higher standard. Would that she applied this advice to herself.

The administration tardily forced Mr. Hart to resign ostensibly for drunkenness, for which it would ordinarily put him on report for review. Instead, the administration used the drunkenness issue to force Hart to resign “for personal reasons” via interview in Chief Human Resources Dan Valdez’s office. This coerced resignation did not stop the administration cover-up for Falliero, however; nor did it did stop board members from voting her in as chair. La Elia’s girlfriends and unfailing cheerleaders Kurdell and Olson must have known about this unlovely situation yet raised no objections to the election of Ms. Faliero as board chair. I find hard believing other board members were ignorant of Ms. Faliero’s conduct, yet they counted the dignity of the board on which they serve so low as to appoint Ms. Faliero chair.

Nor did the board and administration punish the principal who reputedly engaged in a companion adultery with Jennifer Falliero’s pre-divorce middle-school coach spouse. If report of this principal-coach activity be true, that affair will have gone on in the midst of the children and be worse than the ROSSAC-based activities of Faliero and Hart.

Chair Falliera purports to be ardent Christian and is member of a family-values Republican Women’s Club. She opposes sex education for students. She rallied her homophobic advocates to force schools’ reporting students’ membership in gay clubs to parents with inferred sicko hope that the parents would make these kids’ lives a living hell even if they did not kick them out of their homes. Thank God the intervention of the ACLU and the opposition of a cross-section of students defeated this Faliero project. She went on when she became board chair to support censorship by pronouncing a middle-school library book “disgusting” when a parent objected because it described an attempted rape. Currently one reads in the Tribune that Board Chair Faliero toys with introducing evolution into the science curriculum.

What an ornament to the school board Ms. Falliero is with the hypocrisy that characterizes the gulf between her public and private life.

I told Mr. Hart to forget La Faliero, rebuild his life, and attend to the welfare of his children. I said she is selfish, exploitive, and manipulative. I think La Faliero is the kind of woman about whom one hears honky-tonk songs on the juke box sung by faux cowboy singers with tremulous baritones in dives the habitués of which live on the periphery of society. She’s the type of woman who makes difficult the efforts of women to succeed in the business world on the strength of their professional performance, not their sexual exploits. I have worked in the Women’s Movement for forty years and deplore Ms. Faliero’s behavior.

One Mr. Scott Timberg, legal varlet of Thompson etc, sat in for Mr. Gonzalez at the December 11th. board meeting. Master Timberg has the face of a Ken doll and manners for which my Southern mother would say he was raised in a barn. I don’t think his board deportment passed muster even in the rough-edged protocols to which lawyers believe themselves entitled.

During the meeting when Chair Faliero was gaveling me down, Le Timberg examined the tip of his pen or exchanged snickers behind his hand with Superintendent Elia, who my mother would also say was also raised in a barn. Mr. Timberg paid no attention to legal business and the Constitution’s shredding on the dais by Chair Falliero. Paying attention to business was what his firm got a no-bid contract to do, not for sending a twit who gossips on the job when not pondering the metaphysics of his pen.

When Chair Jennifer suspected that I was about to ask her how her adulterous conduct on school property with a school administrator--an inferior to her in rank who could have filed against the board under Title VII and who I wish had--comported with her duty to voters to supervise children’s education and be a role model for them, she gaveled me down and rebuked me for “slander.” I doubt Mr. Gonzalez had pointed out to the board and administration the peril of a Title VII case that Ms. Faliero’s conduct invited any more than he mentioned that the board was liable for not allowing a citizen at the mike First-amendment rights.

To Ms. Faliero’s accusation that I slandered her, I say the truth is its own defense.

Besides, people have a First-Amendment right to slander. They may get sued, but that does not obviate their right to say what they believe to be true.

Board members took an oath to uphold the Constitution but don’t know and don’t care what that means. None intervened to appeal from the decision of the chair when Ms. Faliero gaveled me down--if any of them had the slightest grasp of Roberts Rules--and urge the Constitutional right of a citizen to be heard before elected officials. The representative of Thompson etc. sat mute with his Ken-doll physiognomy in vapid repose during the gaveling, letting this unconstitutional choreograph unfold undeterred by any legal input he gets paid to provide.

Mr. Willie Monroe, the courtly sergeant at arms, even crept up behind me in a move suggesting that I would suffer bodily eviction from a public forum in which the board attorney was complicit in undermining the First Amendment.

The right to approach members of the government for redress is not qualified. It is absolute. Lawyers should know that. Master Greg of Thompson should as a member of the bar.

A lawyer is an officer of the court. That is equivalent to being a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table. As the Arthurian knights owed their primary allegiance to the ideals of chivalry, so do officers of the court owe their primary fealty to the rules of law. Crooked clients and potted-plant board members come second. Officers of the court must crawl on their bellies over glass shards to defend the Constitution. They must live pure, right wrong, serve the Constitution, else why born?

I am disappointed in Tom Gonzalez. He and I are both undergraduates in literature. The rascal reads Virgil— at least he claims he reads Virgil but probably reads Cliff Notes and then says he reads Virgil. But beyond intellectual foppery is the grubby meanness of one of his actions with which I am familiar and condemn. The behavior of Mr. Gonzalez embedded in the following recital must violate a lawyer’s ethical code. An ethical person in any profession would not treat a dog the way that the administration abetted by Mr. Gonzalez treated a young library technician named Bart Birdsall.

Superintendent Elia and Ms. Linda Kipley cooked up a firing case against Bart Birdsall. La Kipley was formerly home-ec teacher but climbed the sycophant ladder to the position of head of Professional Standards, for which she makes $130, 000 a year and rising while beginning teachers with academically respected degrees make $34,000. It goes without saying that the job the administration ceded Ms. Kipley got no advertising.

Birdsall’s sin? He’s gay, and when then County Commissioner (now state senator, alas) Ronda Storms passed the ordinance making illegal mounting a USF student’s gay-themed class-project display in the county library, the just-appointed Elia wanted to do her buddy county administrator Pat Bean a favor, to spread her newly acquired power wings, and to show bigots indigenous to the county’s political fens and bogs that she didn’t tolerate gays. So she enlisted her home-ec henchperson, Ms. Kipley, to manufacture a case against Birdsall for misusing school mails for political purposes.

The pair had the school computer staff do a fishing expedition on Birdsall’s computer records. The only minnow it caught was his posting notice of the gay speak-out against the Storms ordinance on the media-specialist community board, such postings being the purpose for which it exists.

The case dwindled because it was without basis but ended only after Ms. Kipley had summoned Birdsall to her office for a minds-game terror session which she must have learned to cook up along with Béarnaise sauce in her home-ec credentialing. Keeping teachers and staff in a state of abject terror defines the purpose of the Professional Standards office: it is the administration’s Grand Guignol to keep teachers and staff scared witless that they will lose their jobs if they say anything negative about the administration. Sadly, this threat works.

I complained to Tom Gonzalez about Birdsall’s shoddy treatment, and he met with Birdsall at Just Eats in Birdsall’s South Tampa neighborhood to discuss the situation. If Mr. Gallagher had been serious about the purpose of the meeting, he would have invited Birdsall to his office and not conducted his interview in Just Eats. Birdsall had gone into therapy to overcome the trauma of the Elia and Kipley savaging, but all he wanted was a letter of apology from La Kipley saying the charge was a mistake. I believe he wanted his dignity restored.

Mr. Gonzalez promised he could get an apology letter from Ms. Kipley with ease. That has been over a year ago. Mr. Gonzalez has told me to my face when I inquired that that the letter would appear momentarily. He also promised me that he would author a pamphlet for teachers caught in the Abu-Ghraib-Professional-Standards gauntlet so that they would know what measures they could take to defend themselves from the administration’s dirty tricks.

Tom has fulfilled neither promise. He lied.

This behavior is not wicked. Real evil takes brains and outré Gothic sweep of imagination that Tom does not possess. His modest aptitude is for acts of petty perfidy that make life a chore for those in his line of vision.

Colluding with betrayals such as Birdsall’s has netted Tom and his flossy firm in the past year alone half a million dollars of tax money.

God knows how much Thompson and the guys earned the year Senior Partner Gonzalez supervised the legal crucifixion of Doug Erwin. I may be able to discover that he recommended the prosecution and appealing the appeal had he sent me the Erwin information I requested. Mr. Gallagher hasn’t sent me the requested Erwin information of course.

I consider the Erwin case to be closest Mr. Gallagher has come to real evil conduct. But my guess is that Tom’s court-room éclat lacked the glamour of evil and featured instead the tedium of a bureaucratic court-room grinding down of another human being.

Mr. Erwin was long-time school-employed whistleblower who reported waste in the building department, Ms. Elia’s former bailiwick. The administration and board with today three members of the Erwin sadists still incumbent—Lamb, Kurdell, and Olson—punished Erwin for his disclosure instead of giving him a medal. Gonzalez-led law suit and appeal saw Erwin win both, thank God. The abused man even got a small settlement, not, however, close to what Thompson et al raked in, one infers, for the court scarifying of the school employer who reported waste and then whom the administration, the board, and Thompson etc. dogged from his job

The spectacle of this case is the objective correlative of the dangers of crossing the administration. It had the planned side effect, however, of augmenting teacher and staff fear of administrative vindictiveness and making them even less willing to speak up despite Erwin’s eventual win. Tom Gonzalez’s firm was the board-administration instrument of this unlovely use of legal power.

We canvass here petty legal talents rewarded by bloated no-bid windfalls about which taxpayers have no clue. Tom excels at providing legal support for those small, ignoble cruelties that are administration-and-board retaliation argot. He is more Uriah Heep than Pol Pot. And the no-bid school-board work pays the rent. The Gonzalez compensation information slips by on the consent agenda with no board member’s having sufficient care for taxpayer money, the curiosity, or the guts to ask that it come off the consent agenda for public review. Griffin, who asked for the no-bid windfall to the no-phone former administrator to be pulled for review, now suffers harrying from both the administration and other board members, all of whom resent her except Valdes. La Falliero has told her to resign her job if she can’t get with the program laid out by Ms. Elia.

Le Tom embodies small-bore wrongs of broken promises such as those cited to a school media specialist and this citizen. He knows and assists but pretends not to see that his employers--the board and administration--engage in endless incursions against comity that undermine the social contract and make difficult the life of the rest of the school family—especially the teachers who with their students are the heart of the school system.

The irony is that Thompson, Sizemore, and Tom get paid bloated compensation from a 15-year-old no-bid contract with tax money from the very citizens whose ideals about the purpose of education the firm assists the administration to betray.

The County Commission recently awarded Mr. Erwin its medal for courage. No school officials attended; nor did any of Mr. Gonzalez’s firm as far as I can determine.

I ask that the Florida Bar’s Ethics Commission rebuke the firm of Thompson, Sizemore, and Gonzalez for its shoddy conducting of public business via a 15-year-running-no-bid contract. I ask that the Ethics Commission tell the firm’s minions they must not defy lawyerly fairness to other members of the legal profession and allow these instead to compete by open bid for the school-board lawyer sinecure—not at some future time but this instant. I believe that Tom must tell his employers—the board and Ms. Elia—that the time has come after his fifteen-year no-bid run to put the lawyer contract out for a competitive bid so that other area firms will have a chance for the heretofore no-bid job Thompson et al have hogged for fifteen years.

The Ethics Commission as well should instruct Thompson etc. that its employees must obey the public-records law of Florida; should not participate in violating Title VII’s provisions for equal- employment opportunity; must abjure colluding in covering up bad behavior on the part of clients such as an elected board member’s catalyzing and engaging in adultery on school property; and must not suffer the administration to fire the board culprit’s administrator adultery partner with a manufactured charge to finesse the situation so as to avoid negative publicity for the board and superintendent while ignoring similar lapses on school property such as the coach-principal incident. The public has a right to know how elected officials, administrators, and the school lawyer comport themselves on the job. Their acts of betrayal to the public trust must not get the protection of cover-up.

I ask as well that the Ethics Commission advise Thompson etc. that it is not to send callow specimens of legal talent to board meetings who don’t know or don’t care enough about the Constitution as to remain mute when the Thompson factotum witnesses his board clients’ abrogating a citizen’s First-Amendment rights. A lawyer’s duty is to the law first, misguided clients second. Besides, as a member of the public that pays his fee, I and other petitioners at the board podium are his clients.

People are terrified to object to anything lawyers do no matter how outrageous and athwart humankind’s beliefs in honorable conduct. They fear lawyers will sue them and put them in the pokey. It’s no wonder many lawyers become bullies so that Shakespeare says we should kill them. Lawyers learn that people fear that they will end up in Alcatraz or even Crumlin Road Goal in a rendition protocol of Abu Ghraib redux if they defy a member of the legal priesthood who has passed the bar, his or her score having been ever so marginal.

Goodness knows I send this missive to this Florida Ethics Commission in fear and trembling of retaliation from the Pantagruel minions of Thompson, etc.

But I gird up my aged loins to defy unethical lawyers who screw taxpayers in their positions as legal advisors to public bodies and who give legal gloss to crooked, obtuse, and ethically deficient elected officials such as those who blundered their way onto the Hillsborough County School Board. I am convinced that the Constitution and my antique Navajo fetish necklace that I secured on a recent trip to New Mexico with two of my grandchildren—twins--will protect me against the Forces of Darkness, legal or civilian.

I also rely as well on this Florida Bar’s Ethics Commission’s gallantry, which will prompt its members to drape me in its protective carapace of civility as a granny of ten. Any society that doesn’t treat well its grandmothers who rat out misbehaving lawyers is on the skids. Armageddon looms.

I see many Web pages of ethics committees for the national bar. Ethics lucubrations appear an addiction with the national legal community.

I shall write the bar president and at least one of these groups of ethics quidnuncs to report on this experience. Its minions are dying to know what treatment provincial-citizen complaints get in our legal badlands from the state-bar ethics commission.

I have no doubt that one of these societies will host a reception for all involved in this ordeal with requisite dull speakers, watered-down punch, and wretched food.

Very respectfully yours,

Lee Drury de Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, Fl 33708


c: Thompson, Sizemore, Gonzalez

Hillsborough County Bar Association

Various Bar Associations, etc.

Tampa ACLU

Mike Deeson

The Online Version
of the
Redress of Grievances
Presented to the Three Branches of United States Government

FOR PUBLIC RELEASE - Tuesday, October 13, 1998

The following legal brief has been served upon the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of the United States government, in accordance with the provisions of the United States Constitution, First Amendment "absolute" right, to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

By: Mike Deeson


But the taxpayers pay plenty. In the past two years the city of Tampa has spent $3,193,189.59 on outside legal fees.

David Smith, Tampa City Attorney:

“Wow that surprises me, because my budget for outside council is about $300,000 for outside council that must be outside council that is paid for same other location in the city”

Over the past year, Hillsborough County has spent more than a half a million dollars on outside attorneys in addition to the $9 million for in house lawyers.

Dr Earl Lennard, Former Hillsborough School Supt.:

“At this time the recommendation is that Mr. Gonzales be appointed to board attorney.”

Gonzales was appointed the school board attorney in 2004 without allowing others to apply for the job.

Clinton Paris, Attorney:

“It is egregious for this board to carte blanche just hand off this position.”

Since 2004 Gonzalez, who is a part time school board employee, his firm have [sic] been paid $910,593.78 by the taxpayers for representing the school board. Even he agrees his appointment could have been handled better.

When Gonzales was asked shouldn't they have opened up the process to let other people apply? He said,

Tom Gonzalez, Attorney:

“I thought they should have, yep.”

Meantime since 2003, Gonzalez who has a reputation as one of the best Labor attorneys in the state also billed the city of Tampa $492.853.

We asked Gonzales if an agency like the city of Tampa which has so much labor law would be better off having a specialist.

Tom Gonzalez, attorney:

“I don't know when you say they have a lot, they have it in spurts.”

But Gonzales says it could save taxpayers money.

Tom Gonzalez, attorney:

“If you look at in a vacuum and do numbers to numbers, the numbers work out.”

But Gonzalez says he is not convinced one specialty lawyer could do the same amount of work his firm does.

Excerpt from Hart v. Hart deposition August 7, 2007

Below is part of the depostion that confirms the Hart-Faliera affair. lee Click on the deposition: it will enlarge.


Anonymous said...

I simply double-clicked the deposition and it came out loud and clear.

Anonymous said...

People like Gonzalez and Faliero and probably many others will go to their graves believing they are good people while they rip off taxpayers and get rich doing it. They rationalize everything that they do and tell themselves they had no choice or shrug it off as not that big of a deal. I have noticed that no one I have ever met has the ego to really see what they do as wrong. I am glad you are shining a light on this behavior, but I am sure Gonzalez will never think he did anything wrong.