by: Dave Berman
The charges come at the end of a yearlong investigation by the state attorney’s office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement into allegations that Needleman got campaign kickbacks from a company that was awarded an $8.53 million contract to scan court documents.
At news conference this morning, FDLE Director of Executive Investigations Cindy Sanz said Needelman entered the contract BlueWare Inc., with the agreement that a portion of that money would be funneled back into Needelman’s re-election campaign.
“The investigation shows Needelman, Dupree and Harr swindled Brevard County taxpayers out of millions of dollars,” Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said in a statement released today.
FDLE says that 75 percent of the documents covered by the contract were eligible for destruction and did not need to be scanned.
The state attorney’s office and the FDLE allege that Needelman helped steer the document-scanning contract to Blueware in return for campaign contributions for his 2012 Republican primary campaign against Scott Ellis, who was a former clerk of courts.
They allege that Dupree introduced Needelman to Harr and Blueware Chief Operating Officer Nick Geaney in January 2012.
A subsequent meeting two months later allegedly led to the secret deal under which BlueWare would receive the document-scanning contract if a portion of the money paid to BlueWare was diverted back to Dupree for Needelman’s political campaign.
This article was written by Dave Berman and originally published on floridatoday