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Palm Bay: The REMF Makes A Bigger Fool Of Himself.

Unbelievable.

That is all that can be said.

In a letter dated March 23, 2020, Palm Bay Mayor William Capote has called for the resignation of City Manager Morrell:



This is not the first time Capote has called for the resignation of a City Manager. The last time was in 2017. In a move that was deemed inappropriate in style and format, Capote had called for the resignation of then City Manager Gregg Lynk and the letter placed in Lynk’s personnel file. The City Council found the actions of the Mayor to be so egregious that in May of 2017 the Council voted to censure Capote:

PALM BAY — In a tension-filled city council meeting in Palm Bay on Thursday night, a three-member majority voted to publicly censure Mayor William Capote for the way he handled a dispute with City Manager Gregg Lynk in which the mayor had called for Lynk’s resignation.

The letter calling for Morrell’s resignation is particularly galling given the Mayor’s recent antics.

The Mayor claimed that there was no corruption within the City, yet investigations into the City by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI belied that fact.

In an internal audit performed by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) showed that the City had massive problems with following the law, the Palm Bay Charter, and the City’s own internal rules and guidelines.

When the results of the Audit were published, the City sent a delegation up to the JLAC hearing. The delegation included Councilmen Santiago, Anderson, Bailey and Johnson (who never made an appearance at the meeting for some reason,) City Manager Morrel, City Attorney Smith and others. Notably missing from the delegation was Mayor Capote who had maligned the audit from the beginning.

The head of the JLAC Committee Representative Jason Fischer said, in part, this of Mayor Capote:

The Mayor of Palm Bay declined the opportunity to defend what happened in the City here today.

In fact, I guess he just didn’t feel like he had the time to be here for us. He did have the time to politically attack us and demean the Committee and demean the Auditor General’s report.

So it’s very disappointing that he didn’t come here today but took the time to insult and attack the members of this Committee.

I think some of his actions have been dishonorable.

I know that he has been cited for the improper use of a vehicle. A proper use of the vehicle would have been to come up here and defend himself and support his constituents and not just his own personal interests.

At the next City Council meeting, in public comments directed at Mayor Capote, we addressed his “no show” and “leading from behind” saying:

Instead of being on the point of the spear, you stayed in the rear in relative safety. The military has a term for what that makes you – that term is a REMF.

You should be ashamed of your gutless display of cowardness, sir not only to the staff, but to the people of Palm Bay.

But shame, like leadership, is not something you do.

Capote had said previously that allegations of corruption against the City were unfounded. In February of 2019, during a City Council meeting on whether to allow the City Manager to negotiate in secret with Waste Management or to put the contract out for bid, the Mayor said the City Manager Morrell should be able to negotiate with Waste Management and any allegations of corruption in the City were unfounded.

In our post covering that meeting, we reminded the Mayor and citizens of Palm Bay of the corruption within the city and this was before the JLAC report, the arrest of David Isnardi, and the shenanigans uncovered by the FDLE and FBI at the “clubhouse.”

Mayor Caopte: I heard words [such] as corruption, that if this doesn’t go out to bid, we’re corrupted, that side deals are being made behind the scenes. I’m going “where is this coming from?”

Corruption in the City?

Say it ain’t so!

  • Perhaps the Mayor doesn’t remember the “Homes for Warriors” initiative.
  • Perhaps he doesn’t remember the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) concluding the City had inappropriately used grants and other monies.
  • Perhaps he doesn’t remember the firing of the City’s Growth Manager over allegations. The same person has launched a whistleblower lawsuit against the City
  • Perhaps the Mayor doesn’t remember losing $186,259 the city previously had been allocated from the Community Development Block Grant or CDBG program, because Palm Bay did not use the money in a timely fashion.
  • Perhaps he doesn’t remember that the influx of visitors is up in Palm Bay due to investigations and presence of the FDLE, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC,) the FBI, SHIP, and HUD coming to visit the fair City of Palm Bay. (Thanks folks, for staying in Palm Bay hotels and eating at Palm Bay restaurants!)
  • Perhaps he doesn’t remember his own censure by the City Council for acting in an inappropriate manner.
  • Perhaps the Mayor doesn’t remember the recent firing of then City Manager Gregg Lynk, where there were accusations of kickbacks and payoffs.
  • Perhaps he doesn’t remember the fights people have had with the City to turn over public records in a timely and appropriate manner (and one which is within the law.)
  • Perhaps he may have gotten his memory jogged when Councilman Johnson says later in this discussion that City Manager Lisa Morrell has gotten the City “back on track” when dealing with and terminating staff. (If the City was never “off the track,” why does it need to get back “on the track?)

All of these incidents took place on the Mayor’s watch.

For him to say “I don’t know where the idea of corruption within the City is coming from,” is simply mind boggling.

In that same meeting, Capote famously said:

And sometimes I think that people should take a stop on the rhetoric and then look at themselves in the mirror first. And when you are going to go after my family, I am going to come after you. Because the reality of the matter is that you are talking about my staff.

Apparently in deciding to pull the same stunt he did in 2017, Capote decided not to stop his own rhetoric and not look in the mirror.

Furthermore, we wonder how he is “going to come after” himself in this unwarranted and unprovoked attack on the City Manager that had blind-sided staff, other City Council members and citizens.

We also want to remind people of this from our post on Capote being named in the FBI reports:

However there is one incident and one report that is not being talked about much and we think it needs to be.

On page 1 of the Investigative Report Binder, the report describes how the investigation kicked off:

[FBI Special Agent Bridgette] Trela reported that approximately a year and a half ago, a public integrity investigation was initiated by the FBI after obtaining information that Jose G Aguiar (hereinafter Aguiar) was attempting to gain preferential treatment and profit for himself or others through bribery and extortion involving the following Palm Bay officials: City Manager Gregg J. Lynk, Assistant City Manager, David lsnardi, City Planner Stuart Arthur Buchanan, Mayor Guillermo Capote, Deputy Mayor Harry Santiago, Jr, Economic Development Director Andrew Anderson and Council members Jeffrey Alan Bailey, Jr., Calvin Lewis Holton, Ill and Brian Jacob Anderson.

The accusations within the report concerning Mayor Capote include:

  • Capote received kickbacks from Thrifty Grocery
  • Aguiar offered Capote free housing and a car
  • Promise that Capote would steer city health coverage to Christopher Robinson, Aguiar’s associate
  • Misuse of city money by Capote
  • Aguiar controls Capote’s vote

On page 67, of the Investigative Report Binder, serial #33 (report #33) has this troubling information:

On November 13, 2017, FBl SA Andersen and SA Lewis met with Confidential Source (CS). The CS is a real estate developer who reportedly has had frequent contact with members of Palm Bay City government. The 08’s company specializes in developing mixed-use sports complexes, which is how the CS eventually came in contact with Palm Bay Mayor Guillermo Capote. Sometime during October or November of 2015, Mayor Capote and the CS met and discussed bringing a minor league baseball team to Palm Bay. A vacant property at U31 and RJ Conlan Blvd. (former a concrete plant) was selected as a location where a stadium could be built and Mayor Capote informed the CS that he (Mayor Capote) could expedite the process and get the project approved (“Whatever you need, we can push it through).

At the same time, the CS’ company had six additional projects undenway in Palm Bay, which the CS estimated that they had already invested between $300,000 and $400,000 in the projects to this point. The mayor and the CS met on several other occasions, during which they discussed the various projects that CS was involved in. One of the meetings was attended by the mayor, the CS, and attorneys Gabriel McKee and Roy Van Wyk, and another meeting was attended by the CS, the mayor, and Palm Bay City employees James Marshall and Andy Anderson. During the various meetings, the mayor assured the CS that he would be able to obtain the city council’s approval and expedite the process.

The mayor subsequently approached the CS and requested a donation for the Mayor’s Ball in the amount of $150 per person or $1500 per table. The CS informed the mayor that they did not make contributions to organizations they do business with. The mayor appeared displeased by the statement and responded by stating something to the effect, “If you want to do work in this town you need to contribute.” The CS thought the mayor was utilizing his official position to leverage money (“a bribe”) from the CS. (emphasis ours)

Given all of the things that have happened on Capote’s watch, he wants to go after Morrell?

Why?

In a time when the people of Palm Bay, Brevard County, the State of Florida and the nation are trying to stay united in the fight against COVID-19, this pipsqueak of a mayor wants to attack the City Manager?

In all honesty, this may have to do with the RFP for trash services in Brevard County. After talking to staff, Councilmen and the citizens in order to get input for the RFP, Morrell and her staff put together an RFP that laid out the City’s desires and specifications. Several companies returned proposals. One company did not – Waste Management – which is the very company Capote wanted the City to hold secret negotiations with so they could retain the contract. Some are suggesting that Capote is going after Morrell because the RFP was written in such a way that Waste Management did not want submit a proposal. For doing her job, Capote wants Morrell gone so he can install some one that would declare the RFP void.

Is that what is really happening?

We’d like to say “there is no way,” but given Capote’s nature we won’t rule it out.

In this article, we reminded people that we said in public that Capote is a REMF. This calling for the resignation of Morrell won’t help that reputation at all and yet Capote is running for the County Commission, where his particular lack of leadership and corruption can affect the entire county and not just the people of Palm Bay.

Aren’t you excited about that prospect?


We have been trying to figure out a way to end this post, but two thoughts keep running through our head.

First, you may remember in the original “Walking Tall” movie, Sheriff Buford Pusser is tired of a corrupt judge releasing crooks or giving them slaps on the wrists. Pusser knows he cannot clean up the town without a non-corrupted judge. Pusser does some research and finds that the Sheriff has the responsibility to designate where in City Hall and the Courthouse the judges chambers are located.

Pusser moves the corrupt judges chambers offices to the men’s bathroom.

As far as we can determine, Morrell has the same authority. She can move the Mayor’s office to the men’s bathroom. We know of several thousand people who would help make the move for her.

Obviously, Morrell won’t do that, but the mere thought of Capote having his office in the area that epitomizes his leadership, his honor and his integrity makes us smile.

Secondly, on a more serious note, in the movie Gettysburg, a private in the Union Army named Bucklin is asked to air his regiments grievances to the commander of the 20th Maine regiment, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

We are always reminded of Bucklin’s words when dealing with people like Capote. We always hear his words as coming from the common person – like the citizens of Palm Bay:

I’m tired, Colonel. I’ve had all of this army and all of these officers, this damned Hooker, this damned idiot Meade, all of them, the whole bloody lousy rotten mess of sick-brained, pot-bellied scabheads that ain’t fit to lead a johnny detail, ain’t fit to pour pee out of a boot with instructions on the heel. (emphasis ours)

We’re tired too.

Only we are not tired of military leaders, we are tired of the politicians like Capote who infest the hall of the City government.



6 Responses to “Palm Bay: The REMF Makes A Bigger Fool Of Himself.”

  1. The corrupt Mayor should resign.

    Who could possibly have thought that this was a good idea? He has many shortcomings not the least of which is absolutely no leadership skills.

    Free home, free car, and free money for not doing a job he was elected to do, plus all the other “suitcase” money that was likely pushed in his direction.

    Seems as though whenever anyone possibly discovers damaging information about what he’s done he wants them gone, out of the picture, terminated.

  2. Percy says:

    Since the city manager works for the city council (I believe), shouldn’t the mayor have brought his concerns to a city commission meeting to discuss this with the other hiring managers (commissioners) to see if everyone agrees there is a problem first. This would allow the commissioners as well as the public to understand what is going on and determine the best fix, if any. As an outsider looking in, it appears he wrote this letter hoping the city manager would resign on her own without any further discussion. His rational used to request she resign is pretty slim. The other commissioners should be outraged that their mayor would do something like this without consulting them first.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Percy,

      Thanks for the comment.

      We agree with the sentiment that the Mayor should have brought his concerns in front of the City Council.

      However, there is another thing that could have been done.

      The department heads of the City meet once a week to discuss issues, status of projects, etc. It is our understanding that the Mayor attends those meetings.

      In that meeting, the Mayor, working with the department heads could have devised a plan for supplying more information to Palm Bay residents via the internet, texts, etc.

      The accusations against Morrell are not that she failed to follow any particular directive, but that she somehow failed to do something that the Mayor apparently never mentioned, proposed or asked to be done.

      To us, that is the type of leadership that Capote has. He is trying to hold Morrell to a standard that he himself did not meet. He is trying to say she should have done things – things she was not directed to do.

      That type of leadership is the epitome of being a REMF. You lead without leading. You criticize without taking a stance. You don’t stand up and offer plans or even take the front lines. You sit in your office and tear others down for trying to do the work and the job you didn’t do.

      Capote and other City Council members have said that they have been approached by citizens asking for information. Instead of providing information or proposing solutions for the dissemination of information, the Mayor faults the City Manager.

      It is important to note that it is the Mayor that is the face of the City.

      It is the Mayor that sets the agendas for Council meetings. It is the Mayor that is the designated chair of those meetings.

      It is the Mayor that signs and offers resolutions on how great people and organizations are.

      It is the Mayor that glad hands at events.

      It is the Mayor that rides in a car during the Christmas parade.

      It is not the City Manager that does any of those things.

      Capote has shown again he cannot lead. Instead of trying to make things better, he has made things worse. Instead of “follow me,” he has simply said “it’s not my job.”

      He’s a REMF.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.

  3. Carla says:

    If there were concerns about the City Manager’s communications skills, why weren’t those concerns communicated to her prior to a written request for her resignation? It looks like it is the Mayor who has a problem with his communication skills.

    Also, I agree that the mayor is only one person, but the City Manager was hired by the City Council, which has five members. Council just met on March 19th. If these concerns of his were brewing, why didn’t he take the opportunity to address them in a productive manner at that time?

    To support his claim against Mrs. Morrell, Capote wrote, “For example, you provided information concerning the closure of City Hall to the public, while simultaneously providing policies to staff for visitors during the same time period.” This sounds, to me, like a good thing, but he is using it against her.

    If the mayor, or anyone, wants to know more about COVID-19, they can get the information, whether from the City, the County, the State, the CDC, etc.

    The mayor seems to never be satisfied with whomever is City Manager. Does he think he can snap his fingers and find a perfect City Manager? Mrs. Morrell is doing a good job in very trying circumstances, and deserves our support, not a kick in the rear.

    But speaking of kicks in the rear, it was this Mayor who allowed the City Clerk to be unceremoniously fired in public some years ago, without cause, with no warning whatsoever, since her firing was not even on the agenda. Yet, Capote allowed a motion, a second, and a vote to be taken. And yes, Capote voted against the Clerk’s firing, but he should have stopped the motion as a point of order, but chose not to. She had served her whole career for the City, and this is the thanks she got?

    I think the term Capote used, “atrocious”, should apply to his behavior instead of Mrs. Morrell’s.

    • Carla says:

      After listening to parts of the 3/19/20 Council Meeting again, I realized two things.

      1) The Mayor, during the first couple of minutes of the meeting, in reference to the coronavirus, said, “…so let’s be kind to each other and let’s do the right thing. Because we are battling an unknown thing, and eventually we are going to get grasp of it… This is just a moment in time that we have to come together and make sure that we don’t become our own worst enemies… We lead by example.”

      2) Towards the end of the City Manager’s administrative report regarding the coronavirus, the mayor mentioned radio and said something about communicating “because certain parts of our community don’t communicate on the internet, so that’s just one of my concerns.” The City Manager then addressed his concern. Afterwards, everything seemed cool, and the mayor laughed. Who would have thought that less than two full business days later he would be asking for her resignation, especially in light of his remarks during the early part of the meeting?

      • AAfterwit says:

        Carla,

        Thanks for the comment.

        Who would have thought that less than two full business days later he would be asking for her resignation, especially in light of his remarks during the early part of the meeting?

        This is a political move on the part of Capote as much as anything. In light of the JLAC audit, he has to show that he is in control of the City which he is not. He stood on the sidelines as the corruption occurred and was brought forth into the light. He’s hoping that people will forget his ineptitude and his status as a REMF.

        Thanks again.

        A. Afterwit.

  4. […] been a few days since we wrote about Palm Bay Mayor Capote’s letter to City Manager Morrell asking for her […]

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