Greenlight Pinellas Head Miller Caught in Conspiracy to Defraud US Government and Lie About it.

Greenlight logo and DHS disclaimer on TV ads

Greenlight/PSTA Chair Brad Miller used anti-bus bombing grant money to promote Greenlight Pinellas. He lied about knowing it was a problem. All to promote the highest sales tax in the state for a $2.4 billion crony corporatist rail boondoggle called Greenlight Pinellas. Citizens should vote no.

The head of the local government agency that has created the Greenlight Pinellas plan and its tax hike proposal has been caught in a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Government. On August 1, PSTA head Brad Miller, (the head of the Greenlight Pinellas plan) was forced to return $354,000 in federal funds that were designed to stop bus bombings but were instead used to promote the Greenlight Pinellas campaign.  At the time PSTA Board Chair and County Commissioner Ken Welch described the misuse of funds as a mere mistake. However, emails obtained by WTSP reporter Mike Deeson demonstrates an intentional plan to use the security grant money primarily to promote Greenlight Pinellas as the agency’s “#1 priority”.

PSTA CEO Brad Miller Has Betrayed the Public Trust by Abusing a Federal anti-terrorism grant for political purposes. He must Resign.

PSTA CEO Brad Miller Has Betrayed the Public Trust by Abusing a Federal anti-terrorism grant for political purposes. He must Resign.

In May, the Sunbeam Times reported on the abuse initially after our investigation found that the money was being used for the Greenlight campaign. the DHS money was designed to warn passengers to be on the lookout for items that may be bombs, like empty backpacks.  Instead, the money was used to create feel good ads of happy bus riders and then to promote Greenlight Pinellas. WTSP’s Mike Deeson picked up the story and continued to follow the trail (the full Greenlight/DHS grant abuse saga is described here).  The joint investigation led to the return of the money when Congressman David Jolly ensured the Department of Homeland Security was following up on the complaint filed by Sunbeam Times founder Dr. David McKalip.  Calls for the resignation of Mr. Miller, and the chair of the PSTA Board Ken Welch were rebuffed and appeared to describe the incident as a mere honest mistake and insisted it was designed to help the Greenlight campaign.  Mr. Deeson has now found the smoking gun that it was always about promoting the Greenlight Pinellas plan and that there was intentional abuse of the grant.  It shows that Miller was lying about the conspiracy later on to deny these claims.


The PSTA board is meeting on 10/22, Wednesday morning at 9. Now would be a good time to show up and demand accountability for Brad Miller. He must resign.  Voters should reject Greenlight based on the depth of corruption and mismangement at the PSTA.

The meeting is at 3201 Scherer Drive, St. Petersburg, FL .


 

Mr. Deeson obtained 79 pages of internal emails from the Greenlight agency (PSTA) showing that Mr. Miller was demanding that the main focus of the campaign should be to promote Greenlight Pinellas.  His comments in the June 27, 2013 email to PSTA staffers Cassandra Borchers and Janet Recca were all caps and in purple and are reproduced as such. When advised that the grant was designed to promote security, he contemptuously referred to “YOUR BELOVED SECURITY” when finalizing the campaign with internal staffers.   The ad agency indicated that they were concerned about bringing the Greenlight component into the security grant-funded ad and would prompt inquires to the Department of Homeland security about appropriate use.   To this, Greenlight head Brad Miller stated “I DO NOT CARE WHAT THE AD AGENCY THINKS” (about potential misuse of DHS funds).  He then clearly spells out his goal for this money: “I MAINTAIN A STRONG COMMITMENT TO DOING EVERYTHING I CAN TO COMMUNICATE TO THE PINELLAS CITIZENS THE BENEFITS OF THE GREENLIGHT PINELLAS PLAN. THAT IS OUR AGENCY’S OUTREACH EFFORTS #1 PRIORITY.”  Clearly the top priority of Brad Miller and PSTA is promoting Greenlight Pinellas, even if it is at the expense of allowing bombings of buses by terrorists.

Ken Welch puts political agendas, especially Greenlight Pinellas, above public safety and even his own duty to citizens to properly serve on the PSTA Board. Ken Welch must resign.

Ken Welch puts political agendas, especially Greenlight Pinellas, above public safety and even his own duty to citizens to properly serve on the PSTA Board. Ken Welch must resign.

When this matter was first brought to the Greenlight agency, Mr. Miller stated the ads were appropriate. He and Commissioner Welch then described those pointing out the problems as spreading misinformation. When they finally admitted a “mistake” and returned the money, they then stated it had nothing to do with Greenlight.  Mr. Welch famously tried to reassure the PSTA board to “Keep Calm and support Greenlight Pinellas”. Welch and Miller refused to resign and the PSTA/Greenlight board voted to support him as their CEO.  Now that the trail of lies and an intentional conspiracy to abuse federal funds has been uncovered, will the PSTA board still support both Welch and Miller?  More importantly, will voters realize that the PSTA board can’t be trusted with the highest sales tax in the state and a 300% revenue increase for the Greenlight Pinellas $2.4 billion rail boondoggle and vote no?

 

 

 

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10 Replies:

  1. PMcCarthy

    I’m getting worn out with the arrogant impunity with which flagrant venality – and illegality – by government officials at all levels is routinely greeted these days. Especially in recent years. The shamelessness here is almost beyond belief.

    So, will Miller and his crony Welch ever actually be held accountable for their fraud? Will they be indicted, as they clearly should be?

    Or will this be just more righteous – and rightful – indignation, leading to… nothing?

  2. Christopher Shepard

    Vote NO in November!

    The PSTA is arguably the most corrupt government entity in Pinellas County.

  3. Ray Raulerson

    It is apparent that ALL of the members of PSTA are culpable and hence are equally guilty! each one of them should be brought up on criminal charges of defraud the U.S. Government (Department of Homeland Security) and the PSTA disbanded, its taxing authority taken away by the governor and a new Transit authority established, one that must present a requested budget to the County Commissioners each year that has 90 days to be reviewed and commented on by the public before being reviewed and voted on by the County Commission. Also the Transit Authority would have to be reduced in its administration, i.e., less bosses it has too many people that are in charge. That is just a start in the restructuring of government!

  4. GreenlightFraud

    The PSTA’s board must by now know that the federal grant fraud perpetrated by Brad Miller is inexcusable and intentional. If they do not terminate Miller then they are guilty of whitewashing a crime. Shame on Ken Welch – by his leadership in condoning a crime he has proven himself to be unfit to be entrusted with public office. The governor should step in and remove Welch from office.

  5. Margo

    WHY aren’t the Pinellas County Commissioners and so-called “leaders” that have endorsed this Greenlight ‘thing’ NOT up in arms, NOT shocked, and don’t seem to see anything unusual in any of this? Is it because this is just standard practice in Pinellas County? I even recall on one occasion a Pinellas County Commissioner even said she was sure DHS has bigger things to worry about, like it wasn’t a big deal to just boldly lie and commit fraud. I know it’s not just in Pinellas County but these arrogant chair warmers need a reality check and be knocked down off their high horse, because people are sick of this ongoing corruption, arrogance and destruction of our communities, our lives, our country and OUR Constitution.

  6. Ray Raulerson

    The reason the Board of County Commissioners for Pinellas County (with the exception of ONE who is leaving i.e. Norm Roche) is not “up in arms” is because they are going to profit, substantially from the passage of the Greenlight Initiative…..oh and by the way, do not believe that the ad valorem tax will go away neither PSTA nor the County Commissioners have the “power” to end the ad valorem tax it may be zeroed out for a year or two BUT it will return UNLESS the governor and the state legislature moves to eliminate otherwise we, the citizens of Pinellas, will be bent over and really shafted should this debacle be passed!

  7. PMcCarthy

    OK. All of us commenters on here are INDIGNANT – even OUTRAGED – at all these clearly visible (and reprehensible) shenanigans.
    Again, will it make a difference? Will anyone actually ACT to hold these reprobates accountable. (I assure you, if I knew how, I would.)

    Meanwhile, simply ‘commiserating’ is getting old…

  8. Mathias K.

    Okay, so Greenlight went down in flames–a million tax dollars wasted by politicians and PSTA. Where will the money come from to pay DHS for the grant that was misspent? How will PSTA make up the money it wasted on this “educational” campaign? Odds are that bus service will be cut back and PSTA “executives” get to keep their jobs. Oh, and don’t forget the “consultants.”

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