Once the citizens' request was made public, the then City management under Moss/Reinke fell all over themselves claiming cooperation. The City propagandist went to work with the public. Councilor Tucker claimed that there was photographic evidence showing that it wasn't Quality Enterprise or any contractor, but three geriatric septuagenarians that dumped, staged, crushed and pulverized tons of asbestos. The syndicate went to work denigrating, besmirching, ridiculing, berating and slandering everyone who even raised a word of concern. And more importantly, the City would conduct its own investigation.
As per Moss:
"Whether [sic] there is criminal conduct is a matter of an ongoing investigation by the Marco Island Police Department."
Like lemmings fitting into shinny metal boxes, we all fell into the belief that law enforcement would do the right thing.
As we know by now, the City of Marco Island conducted an investigation. The results were – as published – "inconclusive".
The problem is that the investigation was not into who or what dumped, staged, crushed and pulverized tons of asbestos on Marco Island – as we all thought – but the investigation was to determine if three specific individuals – Ed Forster, Butch Neylon and Ray Beaufort – placed asbestos fragments on what is now Veterans Park. Since these three mature/seasoned citizens could not have possibly done anything that the syndicate City's statists were attributing to them, they were rightly absolved.
But why didn't other law enforcement look into the matter? Or better yet, why didn't any law enforcement look into the obvious – who or what dumped, staged, crushed and pulverized tons of asbestos on Marco Island?
Let's run down the usual suspects.
Moss/Reinke were called into a meeting by the FBI in Naples. They told the incredibly gullible (at best case) FBI agent Matt Chester that the complaints were coming from "a bunch of disgruntled old people with a lot of time on their hands". Agent Chester responded with, "That sounds good to me!" and that was that.
Aghast at the FBI's response, the Assistant United States Attorney Douglas Molloy was contact. He too was taken aback and suggested that the FBI's supervising agent Jerry Garcia be contacted. Several calls and letters to Agent Garcia were ignored.
The Collier County Sherriff's Office quickly withdrew. A Detective White was involved, but eventually a letter was issued stating that the Sherriff's office would get involved if asked … by the MIPD.
In just obtained documents from the MIPD and our favorite non-law enforcement agency the FDEP, we are now treated to an insight of what really happened.
In the MIPD report on this case, we confirm that the dumped, staged, crushed and pulverized tons of asbestos on Marco Island was not investigated per se, but that the "placed" fragments were the focus of the investigation.
And in this very same report, we read the October 25, 2006 entry by the MIPD Detective Guerrero that the FDEP would not investigate:
"Regarding the current findings on site-C [the few pipe fragments], Harris [FDEP Investigator Dave Harris]stated that DEP would not be conducting an investigation, but if their assistance was needed they would be available."
But yet, in a report just obtained by the FDEP, we find this entry by the very same Dave Harris on the very same day of October 25, 2006:
"Detective Guerro [sic] has requested D.E.P. Law Enforcement's assistance with technical information. The case will be coordinated with Marco Island P.D. for further investigation."
And in a curiously undated "Case Summary", FDEP Investigator Harris writes:
"On February 1, 2007, I called Detective Guerro [sic] to see if she needed any assistance from DEP/Law Enforcement and she stated she did not."
Interesting how the MIPD did not need assistance from the State agency charged with investigating environmental crimes despite that on that very date they were still investigating the asbestos case.
So the MIPD states that the FDEP will not be conducting an investigation (FDEP will NOT be conducting an investigation), the FDEP states that MIPD requested assistance and that the case will be coordinated for further investigation (FDEP IS conducting an investigation), and the FDEP states that the MIPD did not need assistance from the FDEP (FDEP is NOT involved).
Here's the kicker: when we did a public records request of the FDEP we simply asked "who instructed Investigator Harris to NOT conduct an investigation as to any issue on Marco Island?" The FDEP provided the report, and with the report came this admission: "The Division of Law Enforcement has no documents specific to your request."1
Hence, per the FDEP there are no documented instructions to the FDEP Investigator Harris to NOT conduct an investigation.
Since the FDEP report is devoid of naming any FDEP supervisors, and the FDEP is contradictory (stating both that the MIPD did request assistance and did not need assistance) the only person mentioned not wanting FDEP investigation/assistance is the honorable Detective Guerrero (not Guerro as repeatedly mistyped in the FDEP report).
Somebody give this poor woman a raise since she seems to be directing the $1.5 billion FDEP annual budget.
Confused yet? How about this gem from the Collier County Sherriff:
So the FDEP was investigating the asbestos dumping. But wait, didn't Detective Guerrero report that FDEP Investigator Dave Harris stated that the FDEP was not investigating the asbestos dumping?
And a nice touch about former Chief Reinke, n'est pa? So the guy that was presumably ultimately responsible for the MIPD investigation into the asbestos dumping is potentially being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Perfect.
Is there any wonder, other than FDEP's Jon Inglehart's admission to "letting this one get away" why no Florida law enforcement agency actually, seriously, or even euphemistically looked into who dumped, staged, crushed and pulverized tons of asbestos on Marco Island? Sans the details, which will now invariably appear like one of those moles in the Wack-A-Mole arcade game, don't all of these ersatz investigations seem to be weird?
And if cogent Marco Island citizens think this series of unfortunate events is ripe for some obscure fact to suddenly reveal itself, wait until they read the EPA documents on this whole sordid affair.
And speaking of a sordid affair, can anyone figure out why there is no mention whatsoever of Councilor Tucker being questioned by the MIPD during the investigation? After all, he claimed publicly that he had pictures of "those people" planting the asbestos. Wouldn't law enforcement want to ask a person who has photographic evidence of a crime under investigation … for the photographs? But yet, there is no mention of Councilor Tucker in the MIPD police report. (For the record, it was not until much later that the Councilor admitted to lying about the pictures.)
Perhaps we will never know who directed the FDEP to not investigate and to look the other way when those charged with not letting things get away let this one get away.
And just in case one forgot who purportedly cleaned up on the third go around of the dumped, staged, crushed and pulverized tons of asbestos on Marco Island that no law enforcement agency would prosecute and that the syndicate has been so far successful in burying (pun intended) – here is a picture to remind you …
Marco Island Police Department Final Report
Florida Department of Environmental Protection – Inspector Dave Harris Asbestos Report
1. November 16, 2009 email from Michelle Rinkel, Crime Intelligence Analyst, Bureau of Operational Support and Planning, Division of Law Enforcement.
Much appreciation to the MIPD for their professional and prompt attention to the request for the report, and for the follow-up conversations. And a thanks to the Office of the Ombudsman & Public Services of the FDEP.