Sentencing delayed in prison kickback case

This is almost a joke if it was not so pathetic. Here we have a secretary of the Department of Corrections entering into a contract for kickbacks in the prison commissary system and the state refused to prosecute him. It took the feds to prosecute and almost two or more years after the feds sent the secretary to prison the two others are still on the loose.

The interesting story that is seldom mentioned about the former Secretary is that he got his moral compass set in the Florida Leglislature where he worked for his first job after graduation from UF. The second job he held was in the Department of corrections.

He was a political king maker in North Central Florida and gave access to politicians seeking office to employees of the department of corrections. He was also a delegate to the republican national convention.

Their scheme was to set higher than average DOC prices for prison commissary products to earn higher kickbacks. In other words, they were exploiting the inmates and inmate families for own financial gain.

His assistant Secretary to DOC had a high school GED and was on the committee that selected nominations for judgeship’s of the 8th Judicial circuit.

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Sentencing delayed in prison kickback case

By Karen Voyles
Staff writer

Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.

Sentencing for the last two men indicted in a state prison kickback scheme has been moved to January due to one man’s need for surgery and an office fire affecting the other man.

Edward Lee Dugger, 64, of Gainesville, and Joseph Arthur Deese, 38, of Fort White, have both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay kickbacks to former Corrections Secretary James Crosby and Allen Wayne Clark, another high-ranking prison official.

Dugger and Deese were scheduled to be sentenced this week, but a federal judge to move the sentencing to Jan. 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the federal courthouse in downtown Jacksonville after being notified about the surgery and fire.

The scheduling change will allow Dugger to undergo surgery at his own expense in December for an esophageal condition.

The scheduling change was also made in part because the office of Deese’s attorney, Gil Schaffnit of Gainesville, was significantly damaged by a fire a few weeks ago.

According to federal prosecutors, for nearly two years in the mid-2000s, Deese and Dugger paid Crosby and Clark establish a business relationship with the state and with Keefe Commissary Network of St. Louis.

Dugger and Deese admited to federal officials that they created a company in 2004 to provide canteen services for visitors at all Florida prisons. In return for the agreement to operate the canteens, Dugger and Deese agreed to pay Crosby and Clark between $1,000 and $14,000 a month. They also agreed to pay former Keefe Commissary President Jack Donnelly and another Keefe executive about $260,000 of the $1.5 million a year they expected to make from sales, prosecutors said.

Dugger and Deese pleaded guilty after federal prosecutors announced plans to use tape-recorded conversations between Dugger and Donnelly as evidence at trial.

Should Dugger and Deese be sentenced to federal prison, they will begin serving their terms a few years after Clark completed his 31 month sentence and a few years before Crosby completes his eight year sentence.

Clark now operates a marina in the coastal Dixie County community of Suwannee.

Crosby remains imprisoned at the Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola and is expected to be released by 2015.

Follow up from the Orlando Sentinal:

Two Gainesville men were sentenced to prison Friday for bribing top Florida Department of Corrections officials in exchange for help netting a juicy contract, prosecutors said.

A federal judge in Jacksonville sentenced Edward Lee Dugger, 65, and Joseph Arthur Deese, 38, to 26 months and 14 months, respectively, for conspiring to pay kickbacks.

According to prosecutors, Dugger and Deese were angling for a contract with Keefe Commissary Network, a St. Louis company that took over Florida’s prison commissaries in 2003.

Then-FDOC Secretary James Vernon Crosby Jr. and Allen Wayne Clark, a high-ranking official, agreed to introduce Dugger and Deese to Keefe in June 2004, prosecutors say.

Dugger and Deese wanted a contract to operate the corrections department’s canteens, which are stores where visitors to state prisons can buy food and other groceries.

In exchange for helping Dugger and Deese get a contract with Keefe, investigators said, Crosby and Clark were paid about $130,000 in monthly kickbacks between 2004 and 2006.

Crosby and Clark were convicted of corruptly receiving bribes in 2007. Crosby was sentenced to 96 months in prison. Clark was sentenced to 31 months, and has since been released.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

jeweiner@tribune.com

or 407-420-5171

Men sentenced to prison for bribing corrections officials

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