Criminal complaint filed against Assistant Public Defender (and candidate) Betsy Benson

Chaz StevensPolitics0 Comments

Note: similar complaints were filed with the Broward OIG, Florida Commission on Ethics, FDLE Public Corruption Office.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Timothy Donnelly
Broward State Attorney’s Office
Fort Lauderdale, FL

RE: Complaint against Assistant Public Defender Betsy Benson, a Candidate for Broward County Court Judge, Seat 13

Dear Mr. Donnelly:

Please accept this letter as my formal complaint against Assistant Public Defender Betsy Benson, a Candidate for Broward County Court Judge, Seat 13, alleging a violation of Section 106.15 (3), F.S. which reads:

(3) A candidate may not, in the furtherance of his or her candidacy for nomination or election to public office in any election, use the services of any state, county, municipal, or district officer or employee during working hours.

In support of this allegation, I offer the following for your consideration:

1. Ms. Benson is an Assistant Public Defender with the Broward County Public Defender’s office.

2. On May 3, 2016, Ms. Catherine Keuthan, Executive Chief Assistant with the Broward County Public Defender’s Office fulfilled a public records request for official copies of Ms. Benson’s timecards, a copy of their official office manual of workplace policies. (attached)

3. According to the public records of Broward County, Ms. Benson was claiming she was working a full day in the office on the dates of October 30, 2015. (see October timecard)

4. Pursuant to “Section 3 – Working Hours” of the Policy Manual of the Office of the Public Defender (see PD Office Manual, Pg 14):
“Working hours for the clerical support staff shall be 8:15 a.m.- 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, with an hour lunch break from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.” changed 1/31/2006 effective 3/1/2006

5. On October 30, 2015, the Weston Bar Association held an October Luncheon Event at the Weston Hills Country Club, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (see IMG 3570)

6. The Weston Hills Country Club is approximately 45 minutes’ drive, each way, from Candidate Benson’s office in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

7. Even if Candidate Benson spent zero minutes at the event, the roundtrip would take longer than her approved lunch time, and her superiors under Florida Statute 106.15(3) do not have the authority to allow for flexibility for campaign purposes.

8. On October 31, 2015 Candidate Benson posted pictures on her official campaign website of her at the October 30th Weston Bar event campaigning with her campaign button. (see IMG 3568, IMG 3569)

9. Candidate Benson was also being paid by the State of Florida for allegedly working while she was campaigning at this event. (see October timesheet)

10. After reviewing the attached public records, and viewing photos and documents related to the event in question where she is campaigning with a candidate button, as well as having personal knowledge that Candidate Benson was utilizing the services of a state officer or employee during working hours, namely herself, in violation of Florida Statute 106.15 (3).

11. Furthermore, according to the public records of Broward County, Ms. Benson was claiming she was working in the office on the date of February 18, 2016. (February timesheet attached)

12. On February 18, 2016, the TJ Reddick Bar Association held their February Luncheon Event at the Tower Club, from noon to 1:30 p.m. (see IMG 3566)

13. On February 19, 2016 Candidate Benson posted pictures on her official campaign website of her at the October 30th Weston Bar event campaigning with her campaign button. (see IMG 3565)

14. Candidate Benson was also being paid by the State of Florida for allegedly working while she was campaigning at this event. (see timesheet)

15. After reviewing the attached public records, and viewing photos and documents related to the event in question where she is campaigning with a candidate button, as well as having personal knowledge that Candidate Benson was utilizing the services of a state officer or employee during working hours, namely herself, in violation of Florida Statute 106.15 (3).

Therefore, I ask you to fully investigate this matter, and where appropriate apply the applicable sanctions or make appropriate referrals.

Sincerely,
Timothy “Chaz” Stevens
Resident and Voter

[gview file=”https://www.myactsofsedition.com/wp-content/uploads/Binder-donnelly.pdf”]

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