State Attorney investigation closed with no formal charges

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 09:40 AM.

Hess said in a letter to Garth and Supervisor of Elections Linda Griffin that research showed Garth had a felony conviction in Georgia, had “apparently” never had his civil rights restored and therefore was ineligible to vote in Florida elections.

Hess, in his letter to Griffin said the Garth could apply to have his rights restored in time for the 2014 elections.

In an Oct. 16 letter to Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent Matt Herring closing the original extortion case, Hess made no mention of a voter qualification issue involving Garth, though according to the Dec. 19 letter is was discovered during the initial investigation.

Hess said a letter would be sent to Garth and Griffin that he was disqualified to vote.

“Beyond that, I see no reason to pursue this matter,” Hess concludes in his letter to Hatton. “The investigation into the extortion complaint and the voter disqualification issue may be considered closed with no action required.”

In a statement, Garth responded.

“It is now obvious that a real life ‘witch hunt’ has been in progress against Citizens Improving Gulf County and its key members including myself,” Garth wrote. “The public needs to know that our membership consists of veterans, distinguished military retirees, retired Florida State law enforcement officers, local business owners and concerned citizens. Having to go back almost 40 years and only finding a very old resolved issue concerning myself is testimony to how desperate certain County Commissioners were to shift the focus off of their behavior and questionable violations.

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