By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
There’s an interesting date on next month’s calendar that’s making the rounds in Broward and Tallahassee.
September 5th is supposedly the big day. It marks the date when Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony will have exactly 28 months remaining in his four-year term.
Why is that interesting or even noteworthy? Because of the confluence of speculation that Gov. Ron DeSantis, lately in a “remove and replace” mode, wants to oust the embattled Tony from office and is waiting until after that date to use his executive authority to do it.
If DeSantis truly wants to get rid of Tony, why the wait? Under the law, Tony’s removal on or before September 5th would result in a special election to replace him. After that date, the governor acquires the power to fill the vacancy he’d be creating – as he did last week with four hapless Democrats on Broward’s School Board, all women, whom he suspended and replaced with Republican men following the release of a critical grand jury report.
That power is spelled out in Florida Statute 114.04. The governor, it says, “shall fill by appointment” any state or county vacancy “if there is less than 28 months remaining in the term.” For Tony, that period begins September 6th. For DeSantis, it’s the day he gets the authority to pluck an embarrassing thorn lodged in his side since not long after he hastily appointed the former Coral Springs cop to be Broward’s 19th – and first black – sheriff on Jan. 11, 2019.
READING POLITICAL TEA LEAVES
Observers reading political tea leaves note that when DeSantis came to Broward this month to announce that his new election security office was busting 20 felons for voting illegally in 2020, he didn’t do it at the sheriff’s office, where he’s made announcements in the past. He chose the courthouse. The scene included hoopla, a handful of local bigwigs and a bunch of green-shirted deputies standing with the governor, but no Tony.
Tony’s clung tightly to his self-awarded five stars – other sheriffs across the country generally wear four stars on their collar – since May 2, 2020 when Florida Bulldog reported that as a 14-year-old living in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood he shot and killed a young man and never disclosed it to the governor. Tony, who later said he shot in self-defense, was acquitted but his account was challenged by the dead man’s family, and all juvenile court records in the case were either sealed or expunged.
In the immediate aftermath of that disclosure, the Miami Herald reported DeSantis distanced himself from his appointee saying, “he didn’t even know him.”
Four days later, Florida Bulldog reported that in January 2020, Tony signed a state affidavit declaring under oath that he never had a criminal record sealed or expunged. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation later found that while all records regarding Tony’s arrest for the murder of Hector Rodriguez “appeared to have been expunged” agents “were unable to find any documentation which identified who requested and/or caused said expungement.”
On May 11, 2020, Florida Bulldog reported that under Tony the Broward Sheriff’s Office paid as much as $750,000 to buy bleeding-control kits from a South Carolina company, North American Rescue LLC, that Tony did business with before he became sheriff, and where he worked as an executive for more than a year. North American Rescue employees later pumped $15,000 into Tony’s political action committee, including $5,000 from CEO and founder Robert Castellani two weeks after BSO issued a purchase order for the kits.
In April 2021, Florida Bulldog reported that the FBI was investigating Tony for suspected bid rigging, fraud and kickbacks involving BSO’s purchase of the bleeding-control kits. The case was later transferred to South Carolina by Tony’s friend, Miami Special Agent in Charge George Piro, then transferred back to South Florida after Piro departed Miami in mid-June.
FBI FAILED TO COOPERATE WITH FDLE
The bid-rigging probe continues to bizarrely zig and zag. After Piro left, the FBI handed the case to the FDLE, where authorities privately complained that the FBI failed to further cooperate or provide any documents from their investigation.
FDLE agents took the case to state fraud prosecutors in Fort Myers who refused to get involved. FDLE officials now characterize the case as “dormant,” but there are rumors the Miami FBI may reopen it.
20th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Amira Fox’s office had overseen a separate FDLE two-year investigation of Tony after receiving a complaint that Tony made numerous false statements under oath, including on the state affidavit where he declared he’d never had a case sealed or expunged.
In January 2022, FDLE’s report was made public. It showed that while Tony declined to be interviewed, agents determined that nearly all of Tony’s alleged lies were either too old to prosecute or there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed. Still, the FDLE recommended Tony be criminally charged with “false affidavit perjury” for lying when he falsely swore on a 2019 driver’s license application that he’d never had his license suspended in any other state. In fact, Pennsylvania had suspended Tony’s license.
Fox’s office wrote a memo intending to justify its decision to decline to prosecute, but left out key facts about the perjury investigation.
When questioned by reporters about the matter at a Miami press conference, Gov. DeSantis said, “We’re going to review everything…in the coming days,” the Sun-Sentinel reported.
FDLE felt strongly enough to refer their perjury case against Sheriff Tony to the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. In June, a three-person CJSTC panel found “probable cause” to believe the allegations against the sheriff were true and that Tony’s police license should be revoked. (A revocation would not preclude Tony, as an elected official, from continuing to serve as sheriff.)
Tony, as is his right, has said he wants a formal hearing before a judge at the state Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH). He’s retained as his lawyer Tallahassee attorney Stephen G. Webster.
At the hearing, both sides will present evidence. The judge will later issue a “recommended order,” which will be sent to the CJSTC for final action.
The division’s docket indicates the case has not yet been filed.
Jerald Fuller / August 29, 2022 7:11 am
Gov DeSantis is not going to admit he screwed up by appointing Mr Accountability as Sheriff. DeSantis is trying to be President, he’s going to ignore this mess. A Detention Deputy was arrested last week. Mr Accountability reminded us how important honesty and accountability is(except for him). As I’ve said many times, Greg Tony isn’t going anywhere because Gov DeSantis is a self serving politician with no spine. Ron DeSantis made him Sheriff because Andy Pollack told him to, nice job. September 5th will come and go, Greg Tony will continue to remind us how important honesty is, what a joke.
Greg Forman / August 29, 2022 7:50 am
The govenor will FINALLY have his chance to remove Tony! Someone who has committed perjury can’t be affiliated with law enforcement anywhere. BSO deputies do not respect the sheriff and refuse to be proactive in fear of his political decisions to terminate.
Mayor Geoffrey Jacobs / August 29, 2022 8:16 am
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony will never address the serious issues the town of Pembroke Park has. 18 minute average response time when the national average is 6 minutes. 21% of calls go unanswered, that is 2 of every 10 calls, and we are not ok with this. We pay them to patrol our community and they are never here. Would you pay 3.5m for this type of service?!? I won’t and have been trying to hold him accountable for 3.5 years, but it falls upon def hears. Any questions please call my office!
The new Pembroke Park PD will be launching very soon!
Mayor Geoffrey Jacobs
Mike McClain / August 29, 2022 10:42 am
Ron DeSantis hopefully we’ll be leaving just as disgraceful As Trump left he’s disgusting his opinions mean nothing in the real world as for him butting into Broward County one of the best sheriffs that we’ve had in years it’s totally disgusting he’s just a racist that looks like he hasn’t washed his hair in about 20 weeks just to disgusting person and he’s trying to ride on Trump’s dirty coattails he thinks if he upsets as many people maybe he’ll get votes that way because he definitely cannot get both on his merits I don’t live in Broward County anymore but hopefully I’m going to be living in the state without Rhonda Sanchez let’s finally elect a governor that cares for men women and children I’m Irish American and I think the Rhonda Santos is one of the biggest racist and most disgusting people ever to step foot in our capital of Florida
Edward Crespo / August 29, 2022 11:19 am
Sheriff Tony – It’s NOT just about failing to reveal that you killed a man on your application, it’s about EVERYTHING ELSE connected to you as well! So much questionable behavior, so many incidents casting doubt about your honesty and integrity! The Bleeder Kits, the rigged biding, the matter of YOU insisting on presenting the checks to the widows of the two slain FBI agents, your “Swinger’s Club” activities, firing people within the Department to further your own political agenda and a lot more! I’m a staunch Republican but I cannot stand with you in this situation! You embarrass me!!!
Carl Buehler / August 29, 2022 11:55 am
The position of Broward County Sheriff is unfortunately a politicized one. Every Sheriff has taken hits on their performance. It’s the nature of politics. As to Sheriff Tony there is no difference. In spite of his past problems with acknowledging an incident of his youth, where is any solid evidence of a failure to fulfil his responsibilities?
He has promoted more women and officers of color. He is attempting to reform the 911 calling system albeit without sufficient public funding to pay for staffing. That’s a failure of the legislature and County Commissioners to provide the funding requisite to expanding staff to meet demand for dispatchers in the 911 system. It’s next to impossible for a Sheriff to fire anyone due to the Police Union objecting, even in the cases of obviously bad officers. Hard to cross the Blue Line.
What embarrasses me is the politicizing of a law enforcement office. Let the man do his job. Politicians love to posture but have no idea of how to police.
Greg Forman / August 29, 2022 12:13 pm
Carl, You apparently do not realize the credibility that is connected to ANY law enforcement officer. Do your research before commenting on a topic. The agency has the lowest morale I can remember in the past 25 years. Tony terminated good deputies by overruling his review board for political purposes and will be paying millions because of it. I feel sorry for the residents of Pembroke Park along with everyone else in Broward. Tony’s offenses are criminal in nature, Sheriffs and other employees have been removed for much less. It’s more clear now after reading this article why Desantis is waiting to finally remove Tony.
Patti Lynn / August 29, 2022 1:14 pm
Guess we’ll just wait and see.
The FDLE wasn’t allowed to do anything, but, his Certification should have been pulled by now.
The men and women of BSO, both sworn and civilian, deserve better than this. A murdering, lying, philanderer. What an example!!
Jerald Fuller / August 29, 2022 2:44 pm
Greg Tony admitted to using LSD, you can not be a certified police officer in Florida if you’ve used LSD. He’s lied literally dozens of times on police applications and he broke the law at least two times as Sheriff. The homicide where he says he. killed a home invasion robbery suspect which is 100% not true is not the issue. The issue is he concealed and lied about it. All of my comments are pointless garbage. Greg Tony isn’t going anywhere because Ron DeSantis won’t admit to his mistake. Period, the end. It’s called a double standard. Greg Tony the pathological liar is the sheriff and that’s it.
Kevin A Bolling / August 29, 2022 3:04 pm
As a Democrat, I believe Governor Destaints will make the right call. Ego man tony/toney does not have a humble bone in his body. Killed a fellow drug user, a self-admitted LSD user, a proven liar, bid rigger. Given that second chance at life, he lost his job and abused his position at CSPD, shot into an occupied house, (because he feared for the victim’s safety, LOL), he accidentally discharged his gun, Lack of firearms discipline fail to have a supervisor to sign his lie, not proven but he signed it as reporter and supervisor (and as a repeat liar), it fits his MO. I will support Governor Destaints because he fixed his error, the FDLE agent that failed him on the tony/toney background check is the same FDLE who stated he had no P/C, (in a depo) on the arrest affidavit and it was Broward State Attorney Mike “Stats”, who pushed his staff in having Petterson arrested. Governor Destaints is not bad for leading Florida, two issues that affected honorable Deputies and Broward Sheriff’s staff. File charges on tony/toney and free ( retro Fired tony/toney words) Deputy Scot Peterson and the 13 staff members who have been ordered back to work via the system and/or courts.
Disrespecting Mayors and true leaders in Broward County shows that bullying, abusing the BSO Staff, and disrespecting the MSD victims by continuing to not tell the truth is shameful. Fire him on September 6th. Re-elect Destaintes.
The truth is coming and it’s not pretty.
Edward Crespo / August 29, 2022 3:19 pm
Carl, Greg Forman is right, It IS a matter of credibility but HOW can we find Tony credible after he’s already ADMITTED to lying on his application? It’s NOT a matter of failing his responsibilities, I understand the logistical nightmares involved in policing Broward County! It’s that he LIED to get the job to begin with! That, in and of itself, was grounds for removal! And I’m sorry, but I just can’t accept the idea of a Sheriff patronizing a Swinger’s Club! Legalities aside, it creates a HUGE “appearance of impropriety” and does NOT speak well of his moral character! And let’s not forget HOW Tony became Sheriff in the first place. If it weren’t for the mass shooting at Marjory Stillman Douglas high school, Scott Isreal would still be Sheriff now! Fate and circumstances crossed paths and the end result was Sheriff Tony! All the rest of it is “sauce for the goose.” Tony isn’t even a cop anymore – now he’s just another dishonest, unethical, crooked politician with an agenda!
Ruth Batting / August 29, 2022 6:39 pm
just shows he wants to remove Tony. He’ll never admit he was wrong in his appointment of Tony, so now he wants to remove him. Hummm
Kevin A Bolling / August 29, 2022 10:23 pm
Well said Edward, the FloridaBulldog. org, very well done Dan. Hopefully, the Governor will do the right thing.
Nathaniel Turner / August 30, 2022 7:26 am
Tony.is a horrible example. Employees are fearful of him and his tantrums. When is enough enough. Timeto get rid of this bum. Now
Wise Native / August 30, 2022 1:45 pm
Broward County has a long legacy of sheriffs who are just plain bad.
But then again, every fiber of Broward county is just as corrupt as BSO is. It is embarrassing to live in a county that is constantly in the national news validating the cliche about Florida Man.
Here is the larger problem, who will the next clown be?
Nobody respects the Green after the last few officeholders. This is an uphill climb for the new person.
old man / August 30, 2022 6:54 pm
I nominate dead Ed Stack!
Concerned Citizen 1 / August 30, 2022 8:58 pm
Well said Kevin Bolling! Many others are “on-point” as well; except for those who seem to think that someone who commited a HOMICIDE AND IS NOW A SHERIFF IS PERFECTLY FINE…JUST SAYIN’
Dan / September 1, 2022 10:58 am
I think it is a structural flaw that the person with the power to remove an elected official is the same person who chooses a replacement. Likewise, there should be some objective criteria for a person elected by the people to be removed (such as being indicted). Right now, it is too easy to use “remove and replace” as a political tool.
Jerald Fuller / September 1, 2022 6:43 pm
Take 20 minutes and read the FDLE Summary Report on Greg Tony and tell me if you think he should be Sheriff. It’s disturbing.
Tony Montana / September 3, 2022 11:21 am
Desantis brought this filthy lying criminal from well deserved obscurity to Florida, and allowed him to run a million dollars through his bank account already. Now, knowing he caused this, Desantis won’t fix it. He has no problem publically snatching white elected officials right out of office, for no reason other than he doesn’t like them. But this lying, killing, thief of a criminal has been mocking Desantis for years, and Desantis wets his pant at the thought of removing him, because he’s a minority. Desantis is not this righteous savior of the world like people worship. Hes a coward that won’t stand up to anyone unless they are a middle aged white elected official. Hey Governor, the people you are removing to prove you’re a tough guy, have families who depend on them and needed that income. But tough guys like you dont care about them. Linx is here to stay and Broward has been punked out, big time. And Desantis is at fault.
Fuk Tony / September 15, 2022 11:10 am
Tony never won the ejection, Wayne Clark did. Remember the raid at the Q Link building? The United States post office & US Marshals were the agency’s. Desantis was letting Tony & everyone else know that he is aware of what really went on