State Attorney investigation closed with no formal charges

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

“I am pleased this file which has serious questionable handling is finally available and that the State Attorney’s Office concluded that there are no grounds for any charge against myself or any member of Citizens Improving Gulf County. However, the investigation by the Florida Ethics Commission against Commissioner Yeager’s employment with Preble-Rish Engineering has yet to be resolved and is still ongoing. 

“Citizens Improving Gulf County is encouraged by the findings and is now more resolved than ever to expose corruption in Gulf County.”

The probable cause for the original “extortion” investigation, according to the case file, is found in affidavits from county administrator Don Butler and former County Commissioner Bill Williams relating that a third-party, St. Joe Beach resident Tom Graney, a long-time confidant of Williams, had communicated information that the PAC had information it was prepared to make public if Commissioner Warren Yeager pursued re-election.

Williams’ affidavit relates a conversation with Graney on June 15; Butler’s a conversation on June 17.

In a June 19 statement, State Attorney investigator James Jensen told Herring that Graney had contacted Williams and Butler to “extort” Yeager out of the race.

If Yeager did not drop out, Jensen related to Herring, Graney had indicated the PAC would release information damaging to Yeager’s personal life and professional career.

Hess formally launched the inquiry June 19.



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