Witness calls State Attorney investigation ‘silliness’

Published: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 09:09 AM.

Had Tom Graney of St. Joe Beach known what two men identifying themselves as investigators were inquiring about in early summer he would have told them to “buzz off.”

The State Attorney’s Office opened an investigation earlier this year into allegations that the Political Action Committee Citizens Improving Gulf County had attempted to extort County Commissioner Warren Yeager from a re-election campaign with allegations including complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics.

That investigation went public Thursday morning during a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners when Port St. Joe resident Christine McElroy said she had cooperated in the investigation and Commission chair Bill Williams stated several times that he had worn a wire during the investigation.

McElroy was waved to the podium by commissioners during the public comment portion of the meeting and immediately began to discuss the investigation and actions by the PAC.

The allegations of “blackmail” as Williams termed it during the Commission meeting, and “extortion” as it was called in an Oct. 16 letter from State Attorney Glenn Hess, apparently originated with a conversation Graney had with Williams in the spring before Williams decided not to seek re-election to the District 3 seat.

Graney’s is the only name mentioned in Hess’s letter which closed the case, which was subsequently reopened following Thursday’s meeting, according to Public Information Officer David Angier.

Angier reported Friday morning that the file was closed and submitted a letter dated Oct. 16 from Hess to Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent Matthew Herring telling him to close the file. He said staff was trying to locate the file.



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