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Topics relate to adult business, the War on Drugs, political prosecutions, censorship, and police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Great Bingo Fiasco

It floors me that no article concerning the bingo racketeering case or the civil forfeiture filed at the same time so much as mentions the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI) or the agency attorney, Joseph Cocchiarella. The MBI pursued the defendants like a pack of vicious wolves back in 1995, stealing their property under the guise of forfeiture laws, and Cocchiarella engineered the entire fiasco.

When I attempted to make a complaint about MBI agent Brant Rose back in 2000, it was Cocchiarella that threatened me with the power of the state in the form of a racketeering arrest if I didn't close my business immediately, and of course refused to accept my complaint by screaming at me for 20 minutes until I slammed the phone. This prosecutor later, with the help of the Office of Statewide Prosecution, made good on the threats.

It may interest some to know that Cocchiarella is still serving the people of the State of Florida. I know that he was with the State Attorney's Office (Florida's Ninth Circuit) as recently as late 2008, and may still be, though finding any information on him today is far from easy. He was also the Director of the MBI from the late 1980s until 1991. The Florida Bar Association lists his current employer as the State Attorney's Office in Orlando, Florida so I will venture a guess that he is still employed as an ASA. I believe he had one of those fake Florida retirements wherein the state employee retires to collect a large sum of money and then returns to work at a higher rate of pay; in Florida this is referred to as the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).

With the understanding that Cocchiarella is still with the State Attorney's Office and working directly under the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Orange and Osceola counties in Florida, why would the Orlando Sentinel omit his name and all references to the MBI in articles relating to the bingo case? It was, after all, Cocchiarella that prosecuted the bingo defendants and filed the paperwork to forfeit the defendants' property. Cocchiarella has been involved in every far-fetched MBI prosecution since the beginning of his lengthy career. The great majority of those prosecutions have been clusters involving serious police and prosecutorial misconduct, though none are ever charged as such; this includes drug cases and vice/organized crime cases.

I can think of many instances that officers should have been charged in a variety of cases over the years, but apparently having a pal like Cocchiarella in the SAO gives agents a free pass to do whatever they want to do. Now this inept moralistic jackass is costing State of Florida taxpayers in the $7 million range, but no mention of him anywhere? What gives? Is he planning to run for political office?

Our State Attorney General was also of substantial assistance to the MBI in past, before he became our AG. Bill McCollum has been subpoenaed in a March 22, 2010 hearing on the bingo racketeering mess. If he doesn't come out with a solid answer as to why his office is disobeying the court order to pay, he could be charged with contempt. The Florida Supreme Court ordered the state to pay the remaining defendants for the forfeited property with interest several years ago, but instead of paying as ordered the state has spent additional money to prolong the situation.

The case in Orange County court is #1995-CA-006890-O. According to the case docket, the Motion to Enforce Judgments is scheduled for 9AM on March 22nd and it is in Division 40 with Judge Robert M. Evans presiding. AG McCollum did file an emergency motion to quash the subpoena on March 9th, though there is no response or order recorded as of this writing. The case is Florida State Attorney General's Office vs. Bradenton Group Inc, et al. Court records searches are through the Orange County Clerk of Courts.

The legal opinion can be read here:

Hopefully full restitution will be made soon in the 15 year-long bingo racketeering fiasco.


People Power Hour said...

Great post; we've been keeping an eye on these nitwits for quite some time, and are constantly amazed at their "work."

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