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White Springs Council had Deaf Ears when warned about”Wally Windbag’s Golden Boy-( Staff Sgt.) Joseph Subic, Jr.” (Wally’s Boss Valinda Subic’s Husband

Iran hostage crisis

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Not to be confused with the Iranian Embassy siege in London.

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Iran–United States hostage crisis
Part of Consolidation of the Iranian Revolution
A defaced Great Seal of the United States at the former U.S. embassy, Tehran, Iran, as it appeared in 2004
Date November 4, 1979 – January 20, 1981
(444 days or 1 year, 2 months, 2 weeks and 2 days)
Location Tehran, Iran
Result Hostages released

  • Rupture of Iran–United States relations

  • Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line
 United States
Commanders and leaders
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini Jimmy CarterWalter Mondale
Ronald Reagan

George H. W. Bush

Casualties and losses
1 Iranian civilian killed 8 American servicemen killed in accidental destruction of two aircraft

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Iran Hostage Crisis


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Consolidation of the
Iranian Revolution

The Iran hostage crisis, referred to within Iran in Persian as تسخیر لانه جاسوسی امریکا (literally “Conquest of the American Spy Den,”), was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States. Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days (November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981), after a group of Iranian students, belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, who were supporting the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.[1] President Jimmy Carter called the hostages “victims of terrorism and anarchy,” adding that “the United States will not yield to blackmail.”[2]

The crisis was described by the western media as an entanglement of “vengeance and mutual incomprehension.”[3] In Iran, the hostage taking was widely seen as a blow against the United States and its influence in Iran, its perceived attempts to undermine the Iranian Revolution, and its longstanding support of the recently overthrown Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Following his overthrow in 1979, the Shah was admitted into the U.S. for medical treatment for cancer. The Iranians demanded that the Shah be returned to Iran for trial and execution for crimes he was accused of committing during his reign. Specifically, they accused the Shah of crimes against Iranian citizens with the help of his secret police, the SAVAK. Iranians saw the asylum granted by the U.S. as American complicity in the atrocities the Shah had committed. In the United States, the hostage-taking was seen as an egregious violation of the principles of international law which granted diplomats immunity from arrest and diplomatic compounds’ inviolability.[4][5]

The hostage crisis reached a climax when, after failed attempts to negotiate a release of the hostages, the United States military attempted a rescue operation using ships such as the USS Nimitz and USS Coral Sea that were patrolling the waters near Iran. On April 24, 1980, Operation Eagle Claw resulted in a failed mission, the deaths of eight American servicemen, one Iranian civilian, and the destruction of two aircraft.

The Shah left the United States in December 1979 and was ultimately granted asylum in Egypt, where he died from complications of cancer on July 27, 1980. In September of 1980, the military of Iraq invaded Iran, marking the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. These events led the Iranian government to enter negotiations with the U.S., with Algeria acting as a mediator. The hostages were formally released into United States custody the day after the signing of the Algiers Accords, just minutes after the new American president, Ronald Reagan, was sworn into office.

Considered a pivotal episode in the history of Iran–United States relations,[6] political analysts cite the crisis as having weighed heavily on Jimmy Carter’s presidency and run for reelection in the 1980 presidential election.[7] In Iran, the crisis strengthened the prestige of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the political power of those who supported theocracy and opposed any normalization of relations with the West.[8] The crisis also marked the beginning of U.S. legal action resulting in economic sanctions against Iran, to further weaken ties between Iran and the United States.[9]


  • 1Background
    • 1.1 1953 coup
    • 1.2 Carter administration
  • 2Prelude
    • 2.1 Takeover
    • 2.2 Hostage-holding motivations
  • 3444 Days Held Hostage
    • 3.1 Hostage conditions
    • 3.2 Impact in the United States
    • 3.3 Canadian rescue of hostages
    • 3.4 Negotiations for release
    • 3.5Rescue attempts
      • 3.5.1 First rescue attempt
      • 3.5.2 Planned second rescue attempt
    • 3.6 Release
  • 4Aftermath
    • 4.1 Iran–Iraq War
    • 4.2 Iran
    • 4.3 United States
  • 5Hostages
    • 5.1 Six diplomats who evaded capture
    • 5.2 Thirteen hostages released
    • 5.3 Richard I. Queen released
    • 5.4 Remaining hostages released
    • 5.5 Hostages awarded
  • 6 Civilian hostages
  • 7 Notable hostage takers, guards, and interrogators
  • 8 October surprise conspiracy theory
  • 9 See also
  • 10 Notes
  • 11 References
  • 12 Further reading
  • 13External links
    • 13.1Declassified Documents
      • 13.1.1 United States
      • 13.1.2 Great Britain


1953 coup

Further information: Operation Ajax and Iranian Revolution

In February 1979, less than a year before the hostage crisis, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, had been overthrown during the Iranian Islamic Revolution. For several decades prior to his deposition, the United States had allied with and supported the Shah. During World War II, Allied powers Britain and the Soviet Union occupied Iran to force the abdication of Reza Shah, the existing Shah of Iran, in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.[10] The Allies feared that Reza Shah intended to align his petroleum-rich country with Nazi Germany during the war; however, Reza Shah’s earlier Declaration of Neutrality and refusal to allow Iranian territory to be used to train, supply, and act as a transport corridor to ship arms to the Soviet Union for its war effort against Germany, was the strongest motive for the allied invasion of Iran. Because of its importance in the allied victory, Iran was subsequently called “The Bridge of Victory” by Winston Churchill.[11]

By the 1950s, the Shah was engaged in a power struggle with the Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, an immediate descendant of the previous monarchy, the Qajar dynasty. Mosaddegh led a general strike on behalf of the desperately poor in Iran, to gain a share of the nation’s petroleum revenues from the British through their Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, but over-stepped attempting to get $50 million in damages and lost revenues from the war impoverished British.[12][better source needed] In 1953 the British and U.S. spy agencies helped Iranian royalists depose of the government of Mosaddegh in a military coup d’état codenamed Operation Ajax, and helped the Shah to extend his power. “Richard Cottman, who is generally sympathetic to Iranian nationalists summed up the prevailing view that, ‘Regardless of foreign participation, Mosaddegh could not have been overthrown if significant elements of the population had not lost faith in his leadership.’”[13][better source needed] The Shah appointed himself an absolute monarch rather than as a constitutional monarch, his position before the 1953 crisis, with the aim of assuming complete control of the government and purging the disloyal.[14][15][16] U.S. support and funding of the Shah continued after the coup, with the CIA training the government’s secret police, SAVAK. In the subsequent decades of the brutally callous Cold War period, various economic, cultural, and political issues united opposition against the Shah and led to his overthrow.[17][18][19]

Carter administration

Months before the revolution, on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1977, American president Jimmy Carter further angered anti-Shah Iranians with a televised toast to the Shah, declaring how beloved the Shah was by his people. After the revolution culminated with the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from France in February 1979, the embassy had been occupied and staff held hostage briefly. Rocks and bullets had broken enough of the embassy’s front-facing windows for them to be replaced with bulletproof glass. Its staff was reduced to just over 60 from a high of nearly 1,000 earlier in the decade.[20]

The Carter administration attempted to mitigate anti-American feeling by finding a new relationship with the de facto Iranian government and continuing military cooperation in hopes that the situation would stabilize. However, on October 22, 1979, the United States permitted the Shah—who was ill with lymphoma—to enter New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center for medical treatment.[21] The State Department had discouraged the request, understanding the political delicacy,[22] but after pressure from influential figures including former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Council on Foreign Relations chairman David Rockefeller, the Carter administration decided to grant the Shah’s request.[23][24][25]

The Shah’s admission to the United States intensified Iranian revolutionaries’ anti-Americanism and spawned rumors of another U.S.-backed coup and re-installation of the Shah.[26] Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini—who had been exiled by the Shah for 15 years—heightened rhetoric against the “Great Satan”, the United States, talking of what he called “evidence of American plotting”.[27] In addition to putting an end to what they believed was American plotting and sabotage against the revolution, the hostage takers hoped to depose the provisional revolutionary government of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, which they believed was plotting to normalize relations with the United States and extinguish Islamic revolutionary ardor in Iran.[28]

A later study claimed that there had been no plots for the overthrow of the revolutionaries by the United States, and that a CIA intelligence gathering mission at the embassy was “notably ineffectual, gathering little information and hampered by the fact that none of the three officers spoke the local language, Farsi”. Its work was “routine, prudent espionage conducted at diplomatic missions everywhere”.[29]


On the morning of February 14, 1979, Fedayeen militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took a U.S. Marine, Kenneth Kraus, hostage. Ambassador William Sullivan surrendered the Embassy to save lives, and with the assistance of Iranian Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi, secured the embassy back in U.S. hands within three hours.[30] Kraus was injured in the attack, kidnapped by the militants, tortured, and was tried and convicted of murder. He was to be put to death by his accusers, but President Carter and Sullivan secured his release within six days.[31] This incident became known as The Valentine’s Day Open House.[32]

Anticipating the takeover of the embassy, the Americans attempted to destroy classified documents with a burn furnace. The furnace malfunctioned and the staff was forced to use cheap paper shredders.[33][34] Skilled carpet weaver women were later employed to reconstruct the documents.[35]

The next opportunity to seize the American embassy was initially planned in September 1979 by Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, a student at that time. He consulted with the heads of the Islamic associations of Tehran’s main universities, including the University of Tehran, Sharif University of Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology (Polytechnic of Tehran) and Iran University of Science and Technology. Their group was named Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line.

Asgharzadeh later said there were five students at the first meeting, two of whom wanted to target the Soviet embassy because the USSR was “a Marxist and anti-God regime.” Two others, Mirdamadi and Habibolah Bitaraf, supported Asgharzadeh’s chosen target—the United States. “Our aim was to object against the American government by going to their embassy and occupying it for several hours”, Asgharzadeh said. “Announcing our objections from within the occupied compound would carry our message to the world in a much more firm and effective way.”[36] Mirdamadi told an interviewer, “we intended to detain the diplomats for a few days, maybe one week, but no more”.[37] Masoumeh Ebtekar, spokeswoman for the Iranian students during the crisis, said that those who rejected Asgharzadeh’s plan did not participate in the subsequent events.[38]

The Islamist students observed the security procedures of the Marine Security Guards from nearby rooftops overlooking the embassy. They also used experiences from the recent revolution, during which the U.S. embassy grounds were briefly occupied. They enlisted the support of police in charge of guarding the embassy and of Islamic Revolutionary Guards.[39]

According to the group and other sources Khomeini did not know of the plan beforehand.[40] The Islamist students had wanted to inform him but according to author Mark Bowden, Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha persuaded them not to. Khoeiniha feared the government would use police to expel the Islamist students as they had the last occupiers in February. The provisional government had been appointed by Khomeini and so Khomeini was likely to go along with their request to restore order. On the other hand, Khoeiniha knew that if Khomeini first saw that the occupiers were his faithful supporters (unlike the leftists in the first occupation) and that large numbers of pious Muslims had gathered outside the embassy to show their support for the takeover, it would be “very hard, perhaps even impossible”, for the Imam Khomeini to oppose the takeover, and this would paralyze the Bazargan administration Khoeiniha and the students wanted to eliminate.[41]

Iranians stated that their motivation was fear of another American backed coup against their popular revolution, as was done in 1953. They claimed that in 1953, the American embassy acted as a “den of spies” from which the American coup was organized. Documents were later found in the embassy suggesting that some workers in the embassy were working with American intelligence agencies. After the Shah’s entry into the United States, the Ayatollah Khomeini called for street demonstrations. On November 4, 1979, one such demonstration, organized by Iranian student unions loyal to Khomeini, took place outside the walled compound housing the U.S. Embassy. The occupation of the embassy then took a second purpose, which was leverage to demand the return of the Shah to Iran for trial in exchange for the hostages.


Around 6:30 a.m. on November 4, 1979, the ringleaders gathered between 300 and 500 selected students, thereafter known as Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, and briefed them on the battle plan. A female student was given a pair of metal cutters to break the chains locking the embassy’s gates, and she hid them beneath her chador.[42]

At first, the students’ plan to only make a symbolic occupation, release statements to the press, and leave when government security forces came to restore order was reflected in placards saying “Don’t be afraid. We just want to set-in”. When the embassy guards brandished firearms, the protesters retreated, one telling the Americans, “We don’t mean any harm”.[43] But as it became clear the guards would not use deadly force and that a large angry crowd had gathered outside the compound to cheer the occupiers and jeer the hostages, the occupation changed.[44] According to one embassy staff member, buses full of demonstrators began to appear outside the embassy shortly after the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line broke through the gates.[45]

As Khoeiniha had hoped, Khomeini supported the takeover. According to Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi, when he, Yazdi came to Qom to tell the Imam about the incident, Khomeini told the minister to “go and kick them out”. But later that evening, back in Tehran, the minister heard on the radio that Imam Khomeini had issued a statement supporting the seizure and calling it “the second revolution”, and the embassy an “American spy den in Tehran”.[46]

The occupiers bound and blindfolded the embassy Marines and staff and paraded them in front of photographers. In the first couple of days, many of the embassy staff who had sneaked out of the compound or not been there at the time of the takeover were rounded up by Islamists and returned as hostages.[47] Six American diplomats did however avoid capture and took refuge in the British embassy before being transferred to the Canadian Embassy, and others went to the Swedish embassy in Tehran for three months. A joint Canadian government–Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covert operation, known as the Canadian caper, managed to smuggle them out of Iran using Canadian passports and a cover story disguising them as a Canadian film crew on January 28, 1980.[48]

Hostage-holding motivations

The Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line demanded that the Shah return to Iran for trial and execution. The U.S. maintained that the Shah, who died less than a year later in July 1980, had come to America only for medical attention. The group’s other demands included that the U.S. government apologize for its interference in the internal affairs of Iran, for the overthrow of Prime Minister Mosaddegh in 1953, and that Iran’s frozen assets in the United States be released.

Hostage Barry Rosen, the press attaché, age 34. The man on the right holding the briefcase is alleged by some former hostages to be future Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, although he, Iran’s government and even the CIA denies this.

The initial takeover plan was to hold the embassy for only a short time, but this changed after it became apparent how popular the takeover was and that Khomeini had given it his full support.[45] Some attribute the Iranian decision not to release the hostages quickly to U.S President Jimmy Carter’s “blinking” or failure to immediately deliver an ultimatum to Iran.[49] His immediate response was to appeal for the release of the hostages on humanitarian grounds and to share his hopes of a strategic anti-communist alliance with the Islamic Republic.[50] As some of the student leaders had hoped, Iran’s moderate prime minister Mehdi Bazargan and his cabinet resigned under pressure just days after the event.

The duration of the hostages’ captivity has been blamed on internal Iranian revolutionary politics. As Ayatollah Khomeini told Iran’s president:

This action has many benefits. “… This has united our people. Our opponents do not dare act against us. We can put the constitution to the people’s vote without difficulty, and carry out presidential and parliamentary elections.”[51]

Theocratic Islamists, as well as leftist political groups and figures like the socialist People’s Mujahedin of Iran,[52] supported the taking of American hostages as an attack on “American imperialism” and its alleged Iranian “tools of the West”. Revolutionary teams displayed secret documents purportedly taken from the embassy, sometimes painstakingly reconstructed after shredding,[53] to buttress their claim that “the Great Satan” (the U.S.) was trying to destabilize the new regime, and that Iranian moderates were in league with the U.S. The documents were published in a series of books called Documents from the U.S. Espionage Den (Persian: اسناد لانه جاسوسی امریكا‎). These books included telegrams, correspondence, and reports from the U.S. State Department and CIA. According to a Federation of American Scientists Bulletin from 1997, “By 1995, an amazing 77 volumes of ‘Documents from the U.S. Espionage Den’ (Asnad-i lanih-‘i Jasusi) had been collected and published by the ‘Muslim Students Following the Line of the Imam’.”[54] Many of these volumes of unredacted documents are now available online.[55]

A group photograph of the former hostages in the hospital. The 52 hostages are spending a few days in the hospital after their release from Iran prior to their departure for the United States

By embracing the hostage-taking under the slogan “America can’t do a thing”, Khomeini rallied support and deflected criticism from his controversial Islamic theocratic constitution,[56] which was due for a referendum vote in less than one month.[57] Following the successful referendum, both leftists and theocrats continued to use the issue of alleged pro-Americanism to suppress their opponents, the relatively moderate political forces, which included the Iranian Freedom Movement, National Front, Grand Ayatollah Shari’atmadari,[58] and later President Abolhassan Banisadr. In particular, carefully selected diplomatic dispatches and reports discovered at the embassy and released by the hostage-takers led to the disempowerment and resignations of moderate figures[59] such as Premier Mehdi Bazargan. The political danger in Iran of any move seen as accommodating America, along with the failed rescue attempt, delayed a negotiated release. After the hostages were released, leftists and theocrats turned on each other, with the stronger theocratic group annihilating the left.

Wikisource has original text related to this article:Documents Seized from the US Embassy in Tehran

A man holding a sign during a protest of the crisis in Washington, D.C., in 1979. The sign reads “Deport all Iranians” and “Get the hell out of my country” on its forefront, and “Release all Americans now” on its back

444 Days Held Hostage

Hostage conditions

The hostage-takers, declaring their solidarity with other “oppressed minorities” and “the special place of women in Islam,” released 13 women and African Americans in the middle of November 1979. One more hostage, a white man named Richard Queen, was released in July 1980 after he became seriously ill with what was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. The remaining 52 hostages were held captive until January 1981, a total of 444 days of captivity.

The hostages initially were held in buildings at the embassy, but after the failed rescue mission they were scattered to different locations around Iran to make rescue impossible. Three high level officials—Bruce Laingen, Victor Tomseth, and Mike Howland—were at the Foreign ministry at the time of the takeover. They stayed there for some months, sleeping in the ministry’s formal dining room and washing their socks and underwear in the bathroom. They were first treated as diplomats but after the provisional government fell relations deteriorated and by March the doors to their living space were kept “chained and padlocked”.[60]

By midsummer 1980, the Iranians moved the hostages to prisons in Tehran[61] to prevent either escape or rescue attempts and to improve the logistics of guard shifts and food delivery.[62] The final holding area, from November 1980 until their release, was the Teymour Bakhtiari mansion in Tehran, where the hostages were finally provided tubs, showers and hot and cold running water.[63] Several foreign diplomats and ambassadors—including Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor before the Canadian Caper—came to visit the hostages over the course of the crisis, relaying information back to the U.S. government—including the “Laingen dispatches”, made by hostage Bruce Laingen—to help the home country stay in contact.

Iranian propaganda stated that the hostages were “guests” treated with respect. Ibrahim Asgharzadeh described the original hostage taking plan as a “nonviolent” and symbolic action where the “gentle and respectful treatment” of the hostages would dramatize to the whole world the offended sovereignty and dignity of Iran.[64] In America, an Iranian chargé d’affaires, Ali Agha, stormed out of a meeting with an American official, exclaiming “We are not mistreating the hostages. They are being very well taken care of in Tehran. They are our guests.”[65]

The actual treatment of the hostages was far different from that purported in Iranian propaganda: the hostages described beatings,[66] theft,[67] the fear of bodily harm while being paraded blindfold before a large, angry chanting crowd outside the embassy (Bill Belk and Kathryn Koob),[68] having their hands bound “day and night” for days[69] or even weeks,[70] long periods of solitary confinement[71] and months of being forbidden to speak to one another[72] or stand, walk, and leave their space unless they were going to the bathroom.[73] In particular they felt the threat of trial and execution,[74] as all of the hostages “were threatened repeatedly with execution, and took it seriously”.[75] The hostage takers played Russian roulette with their victims.[76]

The most terrifying night for the hostages came on February 5, 1980, when guards in black ski masks roused the 52 hostages from their sleep and led them blindfolded to other rooms. They were searched after being ordered to strip themselves until they were bare, and to keep their hands up. They were then told to kneel down. “This was the greatest moment” as one hostage said. They were still wearing the blindfolds, so naturally, they were terrified even further. One of the hostages later recalled ‘It was an embarrassing moment. However, we were too scared to realize it.’ The mock execution ended after the guards cocked their weapons and readied them to fire but finally ejected their rounds and told the prisoners to wear their clothes again. The hostages were later told the exercise was “just a joke” and something the guards “had wanted to do”. However, this affected a lot of the hostages long after.[77]

Michael Metrinko was kept in solitary confinement for months. On two occasions when he expressed his opinion of Ayatollah Khomeini and he was punished especially severely in relation to the ordinary mistreatment of the hostages—the first time being kept in handcuffs for 24 hours a day for two weeks,[78] and being beaten and kept alone in a freezing cell for two weeks with a diet of bread and water the second time.[79]

One hostage, U.S. Army medic Donald Hohman, went on a hunger strike for several weeks[80] and two hostages are thought to have attempted suicide. Steve Lauterbach became despondent, broke a water glass and slashed his wrists after being locked in a dark basement room of the chancery with his hand tightly bound and aching badly. He was found by guards, rushed to the hospital and patched up.[81] Jerry Miele, an introverted CIA communicator technician, smashed his head into the corner of a door, knocking himself unconscious and cutting a deep gash from which blood poured. “Naturally withdrawn” and looking “ill, old, tired, and vulnerable”, Miele had become the butt of his guards’ jokes who rigged up a mock electric chair with wires to emphasize the fate that awaited him. After his fellow hostages applied first aid and raised the alarm, he was taken to a hospital after a long delay created by the guards.[82]

Different hostages described further Iranian threats to boil their feet in oil (Alan B. Golacinski),[83] cut their eyes out (Rick Kupke),[84] or kidnap and kill a disabled son in America and “start sending pieces of him to your wife”. (David Roeder)[85]

Four different hostages attempted to escape,[86] all being punished with stretches of solitary confinement when their attempt was discovered.

The hostage released as a result of his multiple sclerosis, Richard Queen, first developed symptoms of dizziness and numbness in his arm six months before his release.[87] It was misdiagnosed by Iranians first as a reaction to draft of cold air; and after warmer confinement didn’t help, as “it’s nothing, it’s nothing”, the symptoms of which would soon disappear.[88] Over the months the symptoms spread to his right side and worsened until Queen “was literally flat on his back unable to move without growing dizzy and throwing up”.[89]

The cruelty of the Iranian prison guards became “a form of slow torture”.[90] Guards would often withhold mail from home, telling one hostage, Charles W. Scott, “I don’t see anything for you, Mr. Scott. Are you sure your wife has not found another man?”[91] and hostages’ possessions went missing.[92]

As the hostages were taken to the aircraft that would fly them out of Tehran, they were led through a gauntlet of students forming parallel lines and shouting “Marg bar Amrika”, (death to America).[93] When the pilot announced they were out of Iran the “freed hostages went wild with happiness. Shouting, cheering, crying, clapping, falling into one another’s arms”.[94]

Impact in the United States

A heckler in Washington, D.C., leans across a police line toward a demonstration of Iranians during the Iran hostage crisis, August 1980

In the United States, the hostage-taking is said to have created “a surge of patriotism” and left “the American people more united than they have been on any issue in two decades”.[95] The action was seen “not just as a diplomatic affront”, but as a “declaration of war on diplomacy itself”.[4] Television news gave daily updates.[96] The respected CBS Evening News anchor, Walter Cronkite, began ending each show in January 1980 by saying how many days the hostages had been captive.[97] President Carter applied economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran: oil imports from Iran were ended on November 12, 1979, and through the issuance of Executive Order 12170, around US$8 billion of Iranian assets in the U.S. were frozen by the Office of Foreign Assets Control on November 14.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas in 1979, high school students created Christmas cards that were delivered to the hostages in Iran.[3] This was then replicated by community groups across the country, resulting in bales of Christmas cards delivered to the hostages. The National Christmas Tree that year was left dark except for the top star.

A severe backlash against Iranians in the United States developed. One Iranian later complained, “I had to hide my Iranian identity not to get beaten up, even at university.”[98]

According to author/journalist Mark Bowden, a pattern developed in President Carter’s attempts to negotiate a release of the hostages:

Carter would latch on to a deal proffered by a top Iranian official and grant minor but humiliating concessions, only to have it scotched at the last minute by Khomeini.[99]

Canadian rescue of hostages

Main article: Canadian Caper

Americans were grateful for Canadian efforts to rescue American diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis

On the day the hostages were seized, six American diplomats evaded capture and remained in hiding at the home of Canadian diplomat John Sheardown, under the protection of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor. In late 1979 the Canadian Government secretly issued an Order In Council[100] allowing Canadian passports to be issued to some American citizens so that they could escape. In cooperation with the CIA, which used the cover story of a film project, two CIA agents and the six American diplomats boarded a Swissair flight to Zurich, Switzerland, on January 28, 1980. Their escape and rescue from Iran has become known as the “Canadian Caper”.[101][102][103] The rescue was fictionalized in the 2012 film “Argo,” with the movie showing a number of non-historical elements.[104]

Negotiations for release

Main article: Iran hostage crisis negotiations

Rescue attempts

Further information: Operation Eagle Claw

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2009)

First rescue attempt

After rejecting Iranian demands, Carter approved an ill-fated secret rescue mission, Operation Eagle Claw. Late in the afternoon of April 24, 1980, eight RH‑53D helicopters flew from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to a remote road serving as an airstrip in the Great Salt Desert of Eastern Iran, near Tabas. They encountered severe dust storms which disabled two of the helicopters, which were travelling with complete radio silence. Early the next morning six of the eight RH‑53D helicopters met up with several waiting Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport and refueling airplanes at the landing site and refueling area, designated “Desert One” by the mission.

At this point a third helicopter was found to be unserviceable bringing the total below the six deemed vital for the mission. The commander of the operation, Col. Beckwith recommended the mission be aborted and his recommendation was approved by President Carter. As the helicopters repositioned themselves for refueling, one helicopter ran into a C‑130 tanker aircraft and crashed, killing eight U.S. servicemen and injuring several more.[105]

In May 1980, the Joint Chiefs of Staff commissioned a Special Operations Review Group of six senior military officers led by Admiral James L. Holloway III to thoroughly review all aspects of the Iran hostage rescue attempt, so as to better prepare for any similar event in the future. Holloway’s group listed 23 issues that were significant in the failure of the mission, narrowing this list to 11 major issues. The overriding issue was operational security (OPSEC), that is, keeping the mission secret so that the arrival of the rescue team at the embassy would be a complete surprise. OPSEC severed the usual relationship during a military operation between the weather forecasters and pilots; the pilots were not informed about the local dust storms. Another OPSEC requirement was that the helicopter pilots come from the same unit. The helicopter unit picked for the mission was a U.S. Navy mine-laying unit flying CH-53D Sea Stallions; these helicopters were considered the best suited for the mission because of their long range, their large capacity, and their compatibility with shipboard operations. Radio silence was ordered during the helicopter flight. Two hours into the flight, the crew of No. 6 helicopter saw a warning light indicating a main rotor may be cracked. They landed in the desert and confirmed visually that a crack had started, so they stopped flying their aircraft because this was normal operating procedure. Helicopter No. 8 landed to load the crew of No. 6 into No. 8, abandoning No. 6 in the desert without destroying it. Holloway’s report pointed out that a cracked helicopter blade could be used to continue the mission, that its likelihood of catastrophic failure would be low for many hours, especially at lower flying speeds, for instance 27 hours of flying time might be available at an airspeed of 120 knots.[106] Holloway found that pilot No. 6 would have continued his mission if the helicopter group had been instructed to continue to fly with a cracked blade. When the helicopters encountered two dust storms along the way to the refueling point, the second more severe than the first, the pilot of No. 5 turned back because the mine-laying helicopters were not equipped with terrain-following radar. They had night vision goggles that suited their duty as mine layers, but were useless in this kind of very thick dust storm. Holloway’s report found that pilot No. 5 could have continued to the refueling point if he had been told that better weather awaited him there, but with the command for radio silence in mind, this pilot did not ask nor was he told about conditions ahead. Holloway’s report stated that “there were ways to pass the information” between the refueling station and the helicopter force “that would have small likelihood of compromising the mission,” in other words, that a ban on inter-force communications was not completely necessary at this stage.[107] Helicopter No. 2 experienced a partial hydraulic system failure, but was able to fly on for four hours to the refueling location at Desert One. On the ground, inspection showed that a hydraulic fluid leak had damaged a hydraulic pump, and that the helicopter could not be flown safely, nor could it be repaired in time to continue the mission. Six helicopters was thought to be the absolute minimum required for the rescue mission, so with the force reduced to five, the local commander radioed his intention to abort the mission. This request was passed through military channels to President Carter who agreed to abort the mission.[108]

After the mission and its failure were made known publicly, Khomeini’s prestige skyrocketed in Iran as he credited divine intervention on behalf of Islam for the result.[109] Iranian officials who favored release of the hostages, such as President Bani Sadr, were weakened. In America, President Carter’s political popularity and prospects for being reelected in 1980 were further damaged after a television address on April 25, in which he explained the rescue operation and accepted responsibility for its failure.

Planned second rescue attempt

A second rescue attempt that was planned but never attempted used highly modified YMC-130H Hercules aircraft. Outfitted with rocket thrusters fore and aft to allow an extremely short landing and takeoff in the Shahid Shiroudi football stadium located close to the embassy, three aircraft were modified under a rushed super-secret program known as Operation Credible Sport. One aircraft crashed during a demonstration at Duke Field at Eglin Air Force Base Auxiliary Field 3 on October 29, 1980, when its landing braking rockets were fired too soon. The misfire caused a hard touchdown that tore off the starboard wing and started a fire; all on board survived. The impending change in the White House following the November election led to an abandonment of this project.

The failed rescue attempt led to the creation of the 160th S.O.A.R., a helicopter aviation special forces group in the United States Army and the United States Special Operations Command.


At the end of the Iran hostage crisis, Vice President George H. W. Bush and other VIPs wait to welcome hostages home

The hostages disembark Freedom One, an Air Force Boeing C-137 Stratoliner aircraft, upon their arrival at the base

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2008)

With the final completion of the Iran hostage crisis negotiations, the hostages were released on 20 January 1981.

On January 20, 1981, at the moment Reagan completed his 20‑minute inaugural address after being sworn in as President, the 52 American hostages were released by Iran into U.S. custody, having spent 444 days in captivity.[110][111]

The hostages were flown to Algeria as a symbolic gesture for the help of that government in resolving the crisis. The flight continued to Rhein-Main Air Base in West Germany and on to Wiesbaden USAF Hospital, where former President Carter, acting as emissary, received them. After medical check-ups and debriefings, they took a second flight to Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York, with a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland, where they were greeted by a large crowd. From Newburgh they traveled by bus to the United States Military Academy, and stayed at the Thayer Hotel at West Point for three days receiving a heroes’ welcome all along the route. Ten days after their release, the former hostages were given a ticker tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes in New York City.


Iran–Iraq War

The Iraq invasion of Iran occurred less than a year after the embassy employees were taken hostage. American journalist Stephen Kinzer believes the dramatic change of U.S.–Iranian relations from ally to enemy played a part in emboldening Saddam Hussein to invade, and U.S. anger with Iran led the United States to aid Iraq after the war turned against Iraq. The United States supplied Iraq with, among other things, “helicopters and satellite intelligence that was used in selecting bombing targets”. U.S. assistance to Iraq “deepened and widened anti-American feeling in Iran”.[112]


After the Iranian hostage crisis (1979–1981), the walls of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran were covered in mostly anti-American murals

The hostage taking was unsuccessful for the Islamic Republic in some respects. Iran lost international support for its war against Iraq, and the settlement was considered almost wholly favorable to the United States since it did not meet any of Iran’s original demands.[113] But the crisis strengthened Iranians who supported the hostage taking. Anti-Americanism became even more intense, and anti-American rhetoric continued unabated.[114] Politicians such as Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha and Behzad Nabavi[115] were left in a stronger position, while those associated or accused of association with America were removed from the political picture. Khomeini biographer Baqer Moin describes the incident as “a watershed in Khomeini’s life” transforming him from a “cautious, pragmatic politician” into “a modern revolutionary, single-mindedly pursing [sic?] a dogma”. In his statements, “imperialism, liberalism, democracy” were “negative words”, while “revolution…became a sacred word, sometimes more important than Islam.”[116]

Some have suggested that the greatest benefit of the takeover of the American embassy was the acquisition of intelligence information contained within the embassy, including the identity of informants to the U.S. government, which the new Islamic republic could use to remove potential dissenters and consolidate its gains and stabilize its place.[citation needed]

The Iranian government commemorates the event every year by demonstration at the embassy and burning a U.S. flag but on November 4, 2009, when pro-democracy protesters and reformists demonstrated in the streets of Tehran, despite Iranian government authorities encouraging people to chant “Death to America”, protesters instead chanted “Death to the Dictator” (referring to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei) and other anti-government slogans.[117]

United States

In the United States, gifts were showered upon the hostages upon their return, including lifetime passes to any minor league or Major League Baseball game.[118]

In 2000, the hostages and their families tried to sue Iran, unsuccessfully, under the Antiterrorism Act. They originally won the case when Iran failed to provide a defense, but the U.S. State Department tried to put an end to the suit, fearing that it would make international relations difficult. As a result, a federal judge ruled that nothing could be done to repay the damages the hostages faced because of the agreement the United States made when the hostages were freed.[citation needed]

The U.S. embassy building is used by Iran’s government and its affiliated groups. Since 2001, the building has served as a museum to the revolution. Outside the door stands a bronze model based on New York’s Statue of Liberty on one side and a statue portraying one of the hostages on the other.[119]

The Guardian reported in 2006 that a group called The Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign used the U.S. embassy to recruit “martyrdom seekers”, volunteers to carry out operations against Western and Jewish targets. Mohammad Samadi, a spokesman for the group, signed up several hundred volunteers in a few days.[120]


November 4, 1979 – January 20, 1981: 66 original captives, 63 taken at the embassy, three captured and held at Foreign Ministry Office.

Three of the hostages were operatives of the CIA.[29]

Thirteen hostages were released November 19–20, 1979, and one was released on July 11, 1980. Fifty-two remaining hostages endured 444 days of captivity until their release January 20, 1981.

Six diplomats who evaded capture

Further information: Canadian Caper

  • Robert Anders, 54—Consular Officer
  • Mark J. Lijek, 29—Consular Officer
  • Cora A. Lijek, 25—Consular Assistant
  • Henry L. Schatz, 31—Agriculture Attaché
  • Joseph D. Stafford, 29—Consular Officer
  • Kathleen F. Stafford, 28—Consular Assistant

Thirteen hostages released

On November 19–20, 1979, thirteen women and men who had been captured and held hostage were released on Khomeini’s orders.

  • Kathy Gross, 22 —Secretary
  • Sgt. James Hughes, 30 —U.S. Air Force Administrative Manager
  • Lillian Johnson, 32 —Secretary
  • Sgt. Ladell Maples, 23 —U.S. Marine Corps Embassy Guard
  • Elizabeth Montagne, 42 —Secretary
  • Sgt. William Quarles, 23 —U.S. Marine Corps Embassy Guard
  • Lloyd Rollins, 40 —Administrative Officer
  • Capt. Neal (Terry) Robinson —U.S. Air Force Military Intelligence Officer
  • Sgt. David Walker, 25 —U.S. Marine Corps Embassy guard
  • Joan Walsh, 33 —Secretary
  • Cpl. Wesley Williams, 24 —U.S. Marine Corps Embassy Guard

Richard I. Queen released

On July 11, 1980, 28-year-old Vice Consul Richard I. Queen, who had been captured and held hostage, was released after becoming seriously ill. He was later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Remaining hostages released

The following fifty-two remaining hostages were held captive until January 20, 1981.

  • Thomas L. Ahern, Jr.,—Narcotics Control Officer (later identified as CIA station chief)[121][122]
  • Clair Cortland Barnes, 35 —Communications Specialist
  • William E. Belk, 44 —Communications and Records Officer
  • Robert O. Blucker, 54 —Economics Officer Specializing in Oil
  • Donald J. Cooke, 25 —Vice Consul
  • William J. Daugherty, 33 —3rd Secretary of U.S. Mission (CIA officer[123])
  • Lt. Cmdr. Robert Englemann, 34 —U.S. Navy Attaché
  • Sgt. William Gallegos, 22 —U.S. Marine Corps Guard
  • Bruce W. German, 44 —Budget Officer
  • Duane L. Gillette, 24 —U.S. Navy Communications and Intelligence Specialist
  • Alan B. Golacinski, 30 —Chief of Embassy Security, Regional Security Officer
  • John E. Graves, 53 —Public Affairs Officer
  • CWO Joseph M. Hall, 32 —U.S. Army Military Attaché
  • Sgt. Kevin J. Hermening, 21 —U.S. Marine Corps Guard
  • Sgt. 1st Class Donald R. Hohman, 38 —U.S. Army Medic
  • Col. Leland J. Holland, 53 —Military Attaché
  • Michael Howland, 34 —Assistant Regional Security Officer, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office
  • Charles A. Jones, Jr., 40 —Communications Specialist, Teletype Operator. (The only African American hostage not released in November 1979)
  • Malcolm K. Kalp, 42 —Commercial Officer
  • Moorhead C. Kennedy, Jr., 50 —Economic and Commercial Officer [124]
  • William F. Keough, Jr., 50 —Superintendent of American School in Islamabad, Pakistan, visiting Tehran at time of embassy seizure
  • Cpl. Steven W. Kirtley —U.S. Marine Corps Guard
  • Kathryn L. Koob, 42 —Embassy Cultural Officer; one of two female hostages
  • Frederick Lee Kupke, 34— Communications Officer and Electronics Specialist
  • L. Bruce Laingen, 58 —Chargé d’Affaires, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office. (Ambassador William H. Sullivan was ordered home for insubordination to President Carter in Spring of 1979, leaving Laingen in charge as senior US diplomat.)
  • Steven Lauterbach, 29 —Administrative Officer
  • Gary E. Lee, 37 —Administrative Officer
  • Sgt. Paul Edward Lewis, 23 —U.S. Marine Corps Guard
  • John W. Limbert, Jr., 37 —Political Officer
  • Sgt. James M. Lopez, 22 —U.S. Marine Corps Guard
  • Sgt. John D. McKeel, Jr., 27 —U.S. Marine Corps Guard
  • Michael J. Metrinko, 34 —Political Officer
  • Jerry J. Miele, 42 —Communications Officer
  • Staff Sgt. Michael E. Moeller, 31 —Head of U.S. Marine Corps Guard Unit at Embassy
  • Bert C. Moore, 45 —Counselor for Administration
  • Richard Morefield, 51 —U.S. Consul General in Tehran
  • Capt. Paul M. Needham, Jr., 30 —U.S. Air Force Logistics Staff Officer
  • Robert C. Ode, 65 —Retired Foreign Service Officer on Temporary Duty in Tehran
  • Sgt. Gregory A. Persinger, 23 —U.S. Marine Corps Guard
  • Jerry Plotkin, 45 —civilian businessman visiting Tehran
  • MSgt. Regis Ragan, 38 —U.S. Army soldier, Defense Attaché’s Office
  • Lt. Col. David M. Roeder, 41 —Deputy U.S. Air Force Attaché
  • Barry M. Rosen, 36 —Press Attaché
  • William B. Royer, Jr., 49 —Assistant Director of Iran–American Society
  • Col. Thomas E. Schaefer, 50 —U.S. Air Force Attaché
  • Col. Charles W. Scott, 48 —U.S. Army Attaché
  • Cmdr. Donald A. Sharer, 40 —U.S. Navy Attaché
  • Sgt. Rodney V. (Rocky) Sickmann, 22 —U.S. Marine Corps Guard
  • Staff Sgt. Joseph Subic, Jr., 23 —Military Police, U.S. Army, Defense Attaché’s Staff
  • Elizabeth Ann Swift, 40 —Deputy Head of the Political Section; one of two female hostages
  • Victor L. Tomseth, 39 —Counselor for Political Affairs, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office
  • Phillip R. Ward, 40 —Communications officer CIA

Hostages awarded

All State Department and CIA employees taken hostage were awarded the State Department Award for Valor. Political Officer Michael J. Metrinko received two: one for his time as a hostage and another for his daring rescue of Americans who had been jailed in Tabriz months before the embassy takeover.[125]

For their service during the hostage crisis, the U.S. military later awarded the 20 servicemen who were among the hostages the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. The only hostage serviceman not to be issued the medal was Staff Sgt. Joseph Subic, Jr. The reason given was that Staff Sgt. Subic “did not behave under stress the way noncommissioned officers are expected to act”,[126] i.e., he cooperated with the hostage-takers, according to other hostages.[127]

For their part in the mission, the Humanitarian Service Medal was awarded to the servicemen of Joint Task Force (JTF) 1–79 (the planning authority for Operation Rice Bowl/Eagle Claw) who participated in the rescue attempt.

Also, the Air Force special operations component of the mission was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit award for that year for performing their part of the mission flawlessly, to include accomplishing the evacuation of the entire Desert One site after the accident and under extreme conditions.

Civilian hostages

A small number of hostages were not connected to diplomatic staff. All had been released by late 1981.

  • Mohi Sobhani, an Iranian-American engineer and a member of the Bahá’í Faith. Released 2/4/1981.[128]
  • Zia Nassery/Nassri, an Afghan-American. Released 2/4/1981.
  • Cynthia Dwyer, an American reporter, was eventually charged with espionage and expelled 2/10/1981.[129]
  • Electronic Data Systems employees Paul Chiapparone and Bill Gaylord rescued by Ross Perot-funded operation (see Arthur D. Simons and Ross Perot Business Section) in 1979.
  • Four British missionaries including doctor Canon John Coleman, his wife Audrey Coleman and Jean Waddell.[130]

Notable hostage takers, guards, and interrogators

  • Abbas Abdi, now one of Iran’s most influential reformists, journalist, self-taught sociologist, and social activist.
  • Hamid Aboutalebi, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations (2014–present).
  • Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, then a student, now an Iranian political activist and politician, Member of the Parliament (1989–1993) and Chairman of the City Council of Tehran (1999–2003).
  • Mohsen Mirdamadi, an organizer of the hostage, Member of the Parliament (2000–2004), head of the largest pro-reform party in Iran, Islamic Iran Participation Front.
  • Masoumeh Ebtekar, interpreter and spokesperson of the student group that occupied the U.S Embassy in 1979, an Iranian scientist, journalist and politician, later became the first female Vice President of Iran, head of Environment Protection Organization of Iran during the administration of President Mohammad Khatami, and is currently serving for a second time under President Hassan Rouhani.
  • Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha, spiritual leader of the hostage takers.
  • Hussein Sheikholeslam, a student, later a member of the Parliament and Iranian ambassador to Syria.

October surprise conspiracy theory

See also: October surprise conspiracy theory

Allegations that the Reagan administration negotiated a delay in the release of the hostages until after the 1980 Presidential election have been numerous. Gary Sick, principal White House aide for Iran and the Persian Gulf on the Carter administration’s National Security Council, in his book “October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan”,[131] alleged that William Casey and possibly George H. W. Bush, went to Paris to negotiate delaying the release of the hostages until after the election. Such allegations, however, remain unproven.

See also

  • Baghdad kidnapping of Iranian diplomat (February 2007)
  • Case Concerning United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran
  • Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam (2006)
  • Iran–Contra affair
  • Iranian diplomats kidnapping (1982)
  • List of hostage crises
  • Student Day in Iran
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 457 and 461 (1979) on the hostage situation


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  113. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution, Keddie, Nikki, Yale University Press, 2003, p. 252
  114. Bakhash, Reign of the Ayatollahs, (1984), p. 236
  115. Brumberg, Daniel Reinventing Khomeini, University of Chicago Press (2001), p. 118
  116. Moin, Khomeini, (2000) p. 229
  117. “Iran’s pro-democracy protesters to Obama: With us or against us? What a difference 30 years makes”. Los Angeles Times. November 4, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
  118. Carpenter, Les (January 20, 2006). “Safe at Home”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
  119. BBC News: In pictures: Iran hostage crisis
  120. Tait, Robert (2006-04-19). “Iranian group seeks British suicide bombers”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  121. “The Hostages in Danger”. Time. December 17, 1979. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
  122. Michael B. Farrell (June 27, 2006). “444 days in captivity as the world watched”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
  123. Daugherty, Wiliam. A First Tour Like No Other. Studies in Intelligence, Spring 1998.
  124. Totter, Bill, “Mainer recalls time as hostage in Iran 30 years ago”, Bangor Daily News, Bangor, Maine, Nov. 05, 2009.
  125. Mark Bowden Guests of the Ayatollah (2006)
  126. “Around the World; Former Iranian Hostage To Get Early Discharge”. The New York Times. July 1, 1981.
  127. Bowden, Mark Guests of the Ayatollah, Grove Press, 2006, p. 374
  128. “Mohi Sobhani, 70; Held Hostage at U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1980”, Los Angeles Times
  129. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2457&dat=19810212&id=soU-AAAAIBAJ&sjid=IFoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4213,3582873
  130. 12:02AM BST 29 Aug 2003 (2003-08-29). “Canon John Coleman”. Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  131. Sick, Gary (1991). October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan. New York: Random House.


  • Bakhash, Shaul, The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution, Basic Books, 1984
  • Moin, Baqer, Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah, Thomas Dunne Books, c2000
  • Ebtekar, Massoumeh; Reed, Fred (2000). Takeover in Tehran: the inside story of the 1979 U.S. Embassy capture. Burnaby, BC: Talonbooks. ISBN 0-88922-443-9.
  • 444 Days to Freedom: What Really Happened in Iran (1997). DVD UPC 033909253390
  • Gary Sick. 1991. October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan. New York: Random House.

Further reading

  • Ammann, Daniel (2009). The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich. New York: St. Martin‘s Press. ISBN 0-312-57074-0.
  • Stewart, James (1983). The Partners: Inside America’s Most Powerful Law Firms. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-42023-2.
  • Engelmayer, Sheldon D. (1981). Hostage: a Chronicle of the 444 Days in Iran. New York: Caroline House Publishing. ISBN 0-89803-084-6.
  • Bowden, Mark (2006). Guests of the Ayatollah, The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam. New York: Grove Press.

External links

  • Complete set of seized documents from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran (Use Download links to get PDFs)
  • From Hostages to Arms Scandal from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
  • Video Archive of Hostage Crisis
  • The Memory Hole hosts a gallery of photographs taken from inside the U.S. Embassy during the crisis.
  • List of hostages and casualties
  • The Iran Hostages: Efforts to Obtain Compensation Congressional Research Service
  • Remembering the Iran hostage crisis, BBC’s interview with Ebrahim Asgeh, a hostage-taker, and Bruce Laingen, a captive
  • Hostage list source
  • “Learning to Keep a Secret”
  • The Hostage Rescue Attempt as remembered by a Marine who was off Iran for that mission, with history leading up to the crisis, the events of that time of Crisis including the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan, and the Rescue Mission
  • Avenue of Flags Memorial in Hermitage, PA
  • Final number of This Week In Tehran, the Embassy newsletter for its employees, dated October 30, 1979
  • Former hostages allege Iran’s new president was captor, CNN
  • The short film Hostage Report (1981) is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
  • “Banged Up Abroad the Real Argo” on YouTube

Declassified Documents

United States

  • OSD & Joint Staff FOIA Center, Iran Hostage Crisis

Great Britain

Records of the Prime Minister’s Office, Correspondence & Papers; 1979-1997 IRAN: Internal situation in Iran; Attack on British Embassy; Hostage-taking at US Embassy;Freezing of Iranian Assets; US Mission to release hoatages; Relations with US & UK following hostage taking at US Embassy.


Walter McKenzie sure knows how to pick them.  But of course if you listen to McKenzie, he always knows best and he will tell you so, for hours and hours and hours.

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Part 5
  • Part 6
  • Part 7

Personal Injury What is it?



You will recall the letter Attorney Koberlein sent me after I mistakenly believed he was a public figure working in conjunction with the Mayor on a specific issue  In libel claims. he would only have to prove the statement falls into the category of libel, it was published about him as a defamatory statement and that other people were exposed to the statement.  However, it is also presumed that once a publication of a defamatory statement has been made in writing, the statement will remain in the public sphere for a long time and continue to do damage.


Yet, there have been continual comments in meeting minutes which have been picked up in the newspapers, mainly about Joe but certainly affecting me as well, have gone on for years.  In my prior articles I included Joe’s complaints as well as comments made and the attorneys continually state one cannot question the council and no one has the right to have their complaints heard and discussed by officials.  These complaints, like in the current meeting are only dismissed without hearing or mediation.  In fact Mr. Koberlein by minutes of the White Springs council stated he would not speak to Joe Griffin because of something said (also noted in Judge Parker’s hearing with Joe and Koberlein which I attended) so obviously all communication to the Griffins is prohibited much less their requests for the law to be followed.


The Sunshine Law clearly states “every thought, as well as every affirmative act, of a public official as it relates to and is within the scope of his official duties, is a matter of public concern, and it is the entire decision-making process that the legislature intended to affect by the enactment of the statute before us”.


Our Civil Suit includes a claim for Defamation.  The essential harm in a defamation claim is “damage to our reputation in the community” .  Because reputation is intangible and because of the tendency of people to react strongly to perceived insults, defamation has evolved into a complex concept filled with safeguards and requirements which weed out so called weak claims.


The right to free speech only adds to the complexity. It may be a common misconception that anyone can say whatever they want (that is why our blog checks out its sources of information), but the right to free speech is not an absolute right in all situations. Serious damage to a reputation can cause real harm to a person’s livelihood and well-being therefore the rules of defamation try to balance protection of reputation with the constitutional rules of freedom of speech.  In our case defamation was caused for the reason of the Town’s attempt to cease Joe and my free speech and to take away his PTI (which you know he took the responsibility for me) and as a result of various publications and minutes has caused severe damage to our well-being.  Had we been younger, it would have created a further harm to our livelihood, because our careers were both in the financial areas, before Joe became a trucker.  But with more publicity submitted to the newspapers, and a television station, it has placed a strain on my publications (books) and has tarnished both our reputations.  It is really sad when people we do not know in a store tell us they saw us in the newspaper…or when a Jasper police officer said “Oh Joe Griffin, he’s always in trouble”, or when people smirk when going by us at an event.


There are two kinds of defamation, slander and libel, which are discussed below. The essential elements of either kind are 1) a defamatory statement 2) that is “published” to someone other than the plaintiff and the defendant.

A “defamatory statement” is any statement that an ordinary person would find damaging to their reputation and character.


Slander pertained to spoken defamation and libel to written.. For now, it is easiest to think of slander as spoken defamation to a small audience (or just one other person) and libel as any written defamation or spoken or video defamation to a large audience. Generally, it is up to the judge, and not the jury, in a defamation case to determine which category the defamation fits into


The Elements of Slander

There are two types of slander: slander and slander per se. In the first kind of slander, the plaintiff must prove the defendant made a defamatory statement to at least one other person (i.e. the essential defamation elements) and that the plaintiff suffered what are referred to as “special damages” as a result of the defamation. Special damages are actual harm like loss of customers, being fired, or some other financial harm.


A slander per se claim does not require that the plaintiff prove special damages. This is because slander per se claims involve categories of defamatory statements that are presumed to be damaging to the plaintiff. While the categories may change a little for state to state, and evolve over the years, some of the most common slander per se categories are:

  • imputing criminal conduct to the plaintiff
  • saying that the plaintiff has certain types of communicable diseases, and
  • any harmful statement about the plaintiff’s profession or business.



Once defamation is proven, “general damages” are presumed. The person damaged is not simply limited to damages reflecting his or her economic losses, but the mental anguish and other emotional harm that the law presumes to result from having one’s reputation harmed. Depending on what the plaintiff proves about the defendant’s intentions, and the type of defendant, punitive damages may also be awarded to the plaintiff.


In our case there has been a clear conduct of both discrimination, harassment by police and defamation against Joe Griffin and then against me for standing also before the council with complaints.  Nothing was ever done and the officials Camel Club friends took over in calling us idiots among other names for our actions in trying to have the Town follow the law. 


There is one thing that the Town has not understood when it came to the articles we published.  Yes, we had opinions about the way things were handled, but the information was also researched and found to be true even if others provided us with the information.  In case law if one can prove that what she or he said or published about a person was true, like comments about our officials, the official will lose their case.  The officials would have to prove that the statements were untrue.


Yet in the case of public officials, there is another defense to defamation which is privilege. When the person is a public official or the statement was during certain official proceedings, the statement was “privileged”, but in our case this is not the case. The Town used our rights to seek documents and to redress our grievances on the blog to a new level of trying to arrest us for cyberstalking/harassment.

References:  Alllaw.com

No Admission from the Town on Criminal Complaints against both Griffins so we secured information from the State

Suwannee Democrat

jasper news logo.jpg

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:00 am

Joyce Marie Taylor
Suwannee Democrat


On June 19, White Springs town officials filed numerous complaints with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) against Griffin and his wife Karin of harassment and cyber-stalking, as well as attempting to disrupt town business.

The additional complaints against the Griffins were turned over to the State Attorney’s Office. On June 23, Joe Griffin’s pre-trial diversion program was revoked by Third Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorney Karen Hatton. Griffin and the town were notified that a pre-trial hearing would be held on Wednesday, July 16, at 9 a.m. The case was continued to Aug. 20 and will continue to have a monthly docketed period on its way toward a trial until a plea agreement or other type of resolution is reached, according to the town’s counsel.(Mr. Koberlein)

Hatton advised that more misdemeanor charges could be added in the case against the Griffins.

 I am certain many of you have read the aforementioned article in the (Mayor’s blog), the Jasper News and Suwannee Democrat about both Joe and I having more misdemeanor charges made against us.   This was promulgated by a July Meeting where Walter McKenzie made a motion to for a further impact statement against Joe and I and the motion was not seconded.  This of course, upset Mr. McKenzie who was upset with the council for not following the rules.

Since that time, Joe had attempted securing paperwork from the Town of White Springs relative to paperwork which may have been sent to the State’s Attorneys’ Office.  Initially it was stated the Town had no such documents so we went to the Sheriff’s office and procured copies of paperwork which showed various 119 requests as well as copies of articles from our blog, including the famous Ed Miller letters which had been sent to every sewer and water recipient with the Mayor’s assistance besmirching Joe, calling him names, asking people to force Joe and his cohorts out of town and offering up to a $10,000 reward for Joe’s arrest and conviction.


Then Joe asked for other correspondence and we were told that there was an ongoing investigation; meaning an exception was given to the documents request. We elected to go to the State’s Attorneys’ Office in an attempt to seek our answer since we were put at bay after sixteen some requests to the Town.  Today we received two copies of letters one for Joe’s case and one for mine, which were sent to the Town of White Springs on September 16th,  as follows:    


“September 16, 2014


Town of White Springs

10363 Bridge Street

White Springs, FL  32096


Re:  State v Joe Edward Griffin”

      “  State v Karin Ann Griffin”



“Dear Sir or Madam:


This is to inform you that prosecution in the case against the above named defendant has been declined by this office for the following reason:


There is insufficient information to pursue criminal charges of stalking/harassment in this case.  The blog posts referenced do not rise to the level of cyberstalking as defined in the Florida Statutes.  As the State cannot meet its burden, our ethical duty requires that no charges be filed in this case.


It is understandable that the disposition of this case may seem confusing or disappointing to you.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.”


“Copy:   Pearsall Fouraker”








The Government Employee constantly works to retain his or her job whereas a Business Person wishes a better position than the one he or she has and strives to leave his or her job for a better job.

The Government Employee will do anything to prove they are right because they strive to have the Citizens honor them in some way whereas the Business Person commands respect by the way they handle their business.

The Government Employee is paranoid that every question raised by a citizen is some plot to undermine their secure job whereas the Businessperson welcomes questions and will secure answers if he or she does not know to retain a client’s respect and to show how valuable he or she is.

The Government Employee is threatened by outside sources which are logical and present another way whereas the Business Person is pleased with information he or she receives from outside sources because it provides for an opportunity of more knowledge equaling power and money of course.

The Government Employee needs the security of retaining a position especially where a title is concerned because perhaps he or she did not excel in the private sector or did not have the ambition to do so; whereas the Business Person tries to excel each day, bypassing previous records to move up the ladder into higher positions because they have the education, the knowhow and the record to prove just how good they are.

The Government Employee is happy with what may be considered a dead-end job that offers no mental stimulation whereas the Business Person requires mental stimulation and challenges to fulfill their needs.

The Government Employee has to pontificate every success he or she may have no matter how trivial (Like how many meetings they attended even though nothing was accomplished) while never really listening whereas the Business Employee listens to the needs of clients instead of pontificating so that he or she is complimented by clients and their superiors for their success.

Those in local government have reached the pentacle of their business success and they are happy with that. Others are driven to be better each day and to achieve as much success as will make their lifestyle better.

Those in local government are not as concerned with other people’s money whereas a Business person  is concerned because other people’s money will earn them monetary rewards if they are helpful in earning a profit for their employers.

Things never change!

I pulled up this special workshop meeting minutes to see what changes have been made since January 30, 2013…specifically as respects the Carver School.  You may find this interesting.


White Springs Town Council and staff met Thursday, January 30, 2013 for a planning workshop.

Present was Mayor Miller, Vice Mayor Mackenzie, Councilwoman Brown, Councilman Marshall and

Price, Town Manager Robert Farley, Town Clerk Shirley Heath, Finance Director Pam Tomlinson, Chief

Brookins, Public Works Supervisor Kenneth Hutcherson, and concerned citizens.


Mr. Farley presented the Council with a Power Point presentation entitled Planning for the Future. Mr.

Farley stated the purpose of a workshop was an informal meeting of the Town Council for discussion

and brainstorming ideas. Mr. Farley informed the Council that they had a hard-working staff and they

are willing to do whatever it takes for the Town of White Springs.


  • With the proper planning, the town will be in a position to be ready when the economy


  • Also, we have to physically be responsible to our citizens. The Town has to be run like a business.

That responsibility has ceased and although I provided an article on how to run a town like a business, anything I would suggest would be thrown out.

  • We need to work smarter and think outside of the box
  • We have too many unfunded mandates that are costing the town money. These costs have to

be passed on to the taxpayers.

I also wrote an article stipulating the Town is run on the Crisis Management theory.  Don’t look to the future; don’t remember what was discussed in the past; and when an emergency strikes, one must find the money from wherever because there is none to be had that has been retained in sinking funds.

  • We need to asked ourselves “if not, why not”.
  • The town currently receives approximately $66,000 annually in ad valorem taxes.
  • The Council and staff need to set goals and priorities for future planning.

Mr. Farley asked the Town Council opinions on the following questions:

What are some of the problems the town is currently facing?

Vice Mayor McKenzie pointed out the overall economy situation in White Springs adding that we had at

one time three restaurants two bed and breakfast, antique store, shops, and the Telford Hotel. Vice

Mayor McKenzie asked Mr. Farley what we can do to market our town and bring business back to White Springs.


Mr. Farley pointed out that everyone is a marketing agent for the town. Mr. Farley made contact with

Cheek & Scott Pharmacy informing them that we will have a building coming available very soon that

could house a pharmacy with a drive-through window and possibly enough room for a doctor. Cheek

and Scott informed Mr. Farley there was not enough traffic in White Springs for a pharmacy.

Councilman Price stated the town’s infrastructure will need more improvements to attract additional business.


Councilman Marshall acknowledged that we have the support of the staff, we have great plans for

running day-to-day business, but we have not made plans for the future and we depend too much on

the Chamber of Commerce to bring business to White Springs.


The Chamber of Commerce Nationally has always helped its businesses but the question in my opinion in White Springs is will the officials actually listen to anyone?  I have found that not only will the council not answer questions but if a citizen makes a suggestion, they apparently will ignore that suggestion, because it was not theirs. 

The Council has not and appears will never listen to outside citizens on what may be done.  I have been involved with businesses all of my life including loss control and working through financial bottlenecks; I have worked with festivals for over ten years and including starting up a festival for a small town.  Volunteers could not wait to get involved or to bring groups into town. I also was a member of the Chamber in MN as well as the Ocala Marion County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority.  We had no liability insofar as food items because outside restaurants had kiosks and provided either a percentage or fee to the town and they had their own products liability insurance; I have worked through art festivals and for charities and if I dare make a decision, I obviously am “Griffin II” and no one would even consider my suggestions as they have not considered Joe’s suggestions.


Mr. Farley reported to the Council and staff about a new industry coming into Live Oak that will offer 350 jobs and he emphasized the importance of impact fees. Impact fees levied on new businesses will cover the cost of the additional expense to the water and wastewater facilities. Without impact fees Planning Workshop everyone in the town will be affected by the new business and they will have to cover the cost not the developer.

Thankfully the impact fees were fought by the People of White Springs.  White Springs seems to feel that the Citizens have a non-ending source of funds so that anytime the officials feel they need money they will put together some fee.    Yet something which does or could possibly impact the citizens is a fire where they may lose their homes or a medical emergency, but the Town does not think enough of their Fire Department to provide a small fee to help maintenance of equipment,  retain volunteers and possibly purchase additional equipment or an ambulance.



Discussion followed about promoting property for sale on the website and the possibility of adding

audio minutes to the website, and printing professional looking handouts of what is available in White


What do we have to offer those who may consider purchasing property in our town?  High Sewer Rates associated with increased water rates because we have to use the Enterprise Account to pay for the General Fund?  No elementary school for young children who now have to be bussed 20 miles a day…and two tries at a Charter School which ended up in failure because certain people did not go to the right resources?  No public swimming pool or activities to young people except baseball and tennis?  A Council which will not answer questions? High Theft rates especially to businesses?  Unfriendly White people whereby if you do not fit within a click, you are treated like dung or they will send the Camel Club after you.  If one wanted to be a volunteer, they would have to go through scrutiny at Town Hall because the Mayor has the only right to choose those who may work with the Town? And now the Town has set a precedent which is against State Law, if a new person applied for a position at Town Hall, they could be arrested if the Town felt there was something wrong without a thorough background check or arrested if they just didn’t like you and smear that information through the local newspapers.


White Springs is beautiful but until all people are treated fair and equally under the law and are allowed a voice, nothing will change and has not changed in years.  A comment was made by McKenzie that the people complain but do not come to the meetings.  Well Mr. McKenzie it is because everyone knows that your special friends are treated better than others.  They also know, and the Griffins have experience, that they will never be listened to.  Well maybe, the town will hear one’s five minute speech, but rarely does the town react and try to assist it’s citizens and this is Truly Sad.  Listening and hearing are two different topics.

Vice Mayor McKenzie stated over 350 bicyclist were in town last weekend and restroom facilities and

restaurants were not available to accommodate this large group of people. Mr. Farley injected that the

staff came out Saturday morning and cleaned restrooms at the ballpark to help accommodate the

bikers. The subject of the new pavilions and possible rental and liability issues were also discussed. Mr.


Farley informed everyone about tulip insurance policies for special events that are not town events.

These special event policies should be secured even for others using Town property for Town Events.  I previously brought up the fact that if people did not have their own products liability and food contamination prevails, the Town could be sued by the individuals who may be ill or die.  This includes fees for other vendors.  However, what I cannot understand is how the Town virtually stopped the Swap Meet by charging $30 per vendor without advance warning.    The people at swap meets are like flea markets who do not get a lot of money for what they are doing, unlike major art vendors or wood working vendors who stand to make over the $30 charged.  Anyway the Hardware Store sponsored the Swap Meet and the Town apparently did not do due diligence about the differences in vendors when making such an insurmountable charge without warning.

Council discussed possible available grants for the town and for business owners. The vision of White

Springs is healthy environmental place to live.

Except for the fact that a large percentage of our Black community are getting cancer, as are some of our white people, possibly from the drinking water (And this is no complaint against Mr. Greene, who does what he possibly can do with water quality).  Part of the problem I believe are old sewer pipes some of which would never meet today’s standards, possibly containing asbestos.  And there has never been a sinking fund to remedy the situation.  All citizens are charged exorbitant rates but cannot trust the water or the pipes.  Instead, the citizens have to purchase drinking water or other beverages because of the fear of contracting diseases.  Lift Stations are placed in front of some residential homes whereby it lowers completely the property value of homes.  It is so neat to smell sewage outside of one’s front door. The people can barely handle the necessities of life because of the economic situation and have additional burdens of paying high fees if their water is shut off. 

And if the Town officials would have smartly used their money for real economic development or business incubation rather than building a concrete small park and an amphitheater, we may be making some progress today. In other words, when the Town gets grant money it doesn’t seem as though it goes to its intended purpose and there has been some proof of that which Richard Marshall had in his possession.



Mr. Farley stated that developers expect to pay impact fees. Vice Mayor McKenzie commented that the

impact fees issue was to protect the current citizens from having to pay the cost for new construction.

Vice Mayor McKenzie added that we paid an engineer to come up with the impact fee schedule whichthe town passed an ordinance and then local citizens presented a referendum vote and the ordinance was overruled by the citizens. Mr. Farley said he would check with the attorney to see if we can reinstate the impact fees by ordinance or if it has to be by referendum vote.


Unbelievable this is proof that the Council will not abide by the Citizen’s wishes.  They feel they know best when it comes to what the Citizens are to pay and it doesn’t matter whether there is a benefit to the citizen.


Mr. Farley asked the Council if they felt the town had sufficient funds for a rainy day. Finances Director

Pam Tomlinson stated the town currently has approximately $110,000. Councilman Price conveyed his

confusion with the financial reports. Mr. Farley also stated the reports were confusing and he will get

with Mrs. Tomlinson to work on the financial reports.

Mr. Farley did an excellent job in changing the financials and further improvements have been made by current Manager Bill Lawrence.  Whether the council sticks to any budget or not however is something to see.  They should be like a business and check the amount expended versus the money coming in monthly.  Yet, it may be as always, if a crisis comes up they will take the money from the Enterprise (Sewer and Water Account) and show a deficit.


Mr. Farley noted the importance of lobbyist trips to Tallahassee to meet with our legislators and to tell

them and informed them of the needs of the Town of White Springs.


Councilman Marshall stated that we have a tremendous staff that needs additional help. If we should

lose Mr. Hutcherson it would take three people to replace him. Mrs. Heath proved her abilities over the

last few months as Interim Town Manager and Town Clerk. Mr. Farley stated we are understaffed and

we are paying our highest earning employees to do the minimal jobs. Mrs. Tomlinson and Mrs. Heath

have to get up from their work they are involved in and wait on customers and answer the telephone.

This should be a job for a full-time receptionist.


Most people in the community have felt we are overstaffed.  If it is too hard to get up from their work to answer the phone or to take payments for sewer and water, that is a real problem.  Even executives in business are taken away from their work when a client drops by or when there is a problem which needs to be solved.  There has never been a problem for an Exec to assist with the Phone.  All of this is customer service.  I guess I am understanding more and more that government never runs efficiently…only businesses because each business watches it’s profit margin and needs retained earnings for the future.  Whereas government, when something is unaffordable and the officials run out of money because they never look at their bottom line, just charge the Citizens more money.  At what point do the citizens run out of money to support the whims of the Town. Thankfully the impact fees were fought by the People of White Springs.  White Springs seems to feel that the Citizens have a non-ending source of funds so that anytime the officials feel they need money they will put together some fee.    Yet something which does impact the citizens is a possible fire where they may lose their homes, but the Town does not think enough of their Fire Department to provide a small fee to help maintenance of equipment, retain volunteers and possibly purchase additional equipment or an ambulance.




Vice Mayor McKenzie remarked that we are not able to hire enough staff to make it easier for our

citizens. We have many volunteers who work on our festivals and they are overworked.

Mr. Farley and Mrs. Heath reported on the new software that has the freed up a lot of her time in typing the minutes. Mr. Farley also stated that he, Mrs. Tomlinson and Mrs. Heath met with First Federal and we will be setting up direct deposit for the payroll which will save time for Pam and the expense of buying and printing checks. We are also going to start electronic payments that will also save money and Planning Workshop time. First Federal will waive the fees and this new technology will be a benefit to the town. Mr. Farley also, spoke with First Federal about the possibility of reopening the bank in White Springs. Representative from First Federal stated they had been discussing the possibility of a training center in White Springs for new tellers. Mr. Farley continued and asked First Federal if they can’t reopen the bank to put in a full-service ATM machine. Discussion then proceeded to electronic meter reading which would free up more staff hours. We will discuss the cost and how to find the money during the budget workshops.

From a business standpoint, who would wish to drive from Lake City or Live Oak to be trained in White Springs?



At this time the Council took a five-minute break.

The manager pointed out the importance of a full-time receptionist. We currently have a part-time

young lady that does an outstanding job, in fact we do not have to tell her what needs to be done, adding she does things on her own and is always willing to take on a new responsibility.   (This has to be Monica…she was fabulous and so smart)

The workforce people take too much time to train, they are here one day and gone tomorrow. Pam and Shirley have to jump up stop what they’re doing.

It must be this area or the town because most people who are workforce, wish to take long assignments, especially in this economy which as not improved.  So if they were here one day and gone the next….why?

Mr. Farley spoke with the town’s auditor Mr. Richard Powell about internal controls stating that the Finance Director should never have her hands in the cash drawer since she balances the bank statements. Mr. Powell said if at all possible the town should hire a full-time receptionist to handle the money and the deposits. Mrs. Heath has to stop what she is doing to answer 119 requests, make copies, collect money and we do not see any relief in sight. They lose their chain of concentration with the constant changing of duties.   Most Women can multitask???  It’s obvious none of these people had been exposed to the real business world where you can’t sit on one project until it is done but may have many projects one is accountable to as well as projects of clients.  What a sore excuse…but I am beginning to understand the difference between Government and Business People.  It shows up nationally but definitely shows up in White Springs.


The subject then turned to the police department and their needs. Police vests need to be replaced

every five years. They can be purchased and 50% of the cost can be refunded through the Florida League of Cities Safety Grant Program. Council and citizens would like to have 24-hour coverage through our police department but unfortunately we do not have the funds. The Sheriff’s Department supplies a deputy when we do not have anyone on duty.

The Police Chief reported the flex schedule of his officers to have more coverage. Councilman Marshall

stated that the police department does a tremendous job but he has seen an increase in drug activity

and vagrants in the town.

The department also needs new tasers but they are not covered under a grant. Mr. Farley expressed the need for a public safety building to house the equipment for the fire department, adding that he will be working to find money.

The policy in Live Oak was if you do not have a 911 address on your structure utilities will not be turned on. If the property is unsafe the utilities will not be turned on.

Also discussed were a storm shelter/multipurpose center located on the old Carver School property.


The Carver School was again discussed at the 11/11 Meeting.  It was stated that the property is dangerous from the meeting notes and Rhett was to see whether there would be any grants.  It shocks me that when the Mayor spent some money in excess of $25,000 without council approval for a study by UF architectural students that it wasn’t noted then the asbestos problem.  Earlier this year the council stated they had to secure an asbestos abatement engineer and certification to determine what could be done after Willy Jefferson complained on behalf of the Citizens.  I understand from that former meeting I attended that something had to be done before 2016 which I believe the Town may be under contract with the Hamilton County School Board to get it done.  We never seem to worry about those things which are important to the Citizens.  Had there been work on the school some time back, perhaps it could have been used as an elementary school today, since SHE fell apart and was never repaired.



Discussion proceeded to the public works department and Mr. Farley informed the Council and staff

that Department of Environmental Protection has money to fix our sewer mains and our water mains.

He will pursue this avenue to acquire money for the town. He is currently working on the GIS mapping of water main and sewer mains etc, Planning Workshop

This would have been great, but I don’t recall if anything happened.!


Interstate I-75 intersection for economic development, interlocal agreement between Suwannee

Hamilton and Columbia counties will be needed and property owners will pledge to pay the town of

White Springs a millage rate. Suwannee River Water Management has grant funding for storm water

improvements. Each citizen could be charged a minimum fee on their utility bill for storm water



Next up for discussion were a recreation department and the lack of County involvement in White

Springs’ recreation.


The charter school application was denied by the school board, only because many of the questions were unanswered and the right resources were not used.  Joe Griffin outlined the information received from that meeting which Mrs. Butler provided him as well as reviewing his outline and it still was not completed correctly.  How can that be?  People were dependent upon a school in White Springs.


We do not know if the school board will

continue to keep South Hamilton opened. Problems with keeping an adult Ed teacher.

Should the Town be in the real estate business? The old jail, the old sewer plant, could be sold and put

back on the tax rolls. Mr. Farley informed Council and staff that the elevated water tanks need to be

inspected and cleaned every five years and he suggested that this time the town take the old elevated

tank off-line and not maintain it. Councilman Price agreed with Mr. Farley that we should not be in the

business of owning property.


It was the consensus of the Council that code enforcement is needed in White Springs. The problem is

finding the money to cover the expenses and salary of a code enforcement officer. Possibility of

contacting Live Oak’s code enforcement officer to see if she would be willing to work part-time for the

Town of White Springs.

Request for public records and reasonable amount of time to produce the public records was also

discussed. Mr. Farley stated he had spoke with Pat Gleason at the state attorney’s office and she informed him all requests for public records must be answered in a reasonable amount of time. The definition of reasonable amount of time was also discussed.

Patricia Gleason is in the Attorney General’s office in Tallahassee overseeing the state’s attorney’s office.  I commend Bob Farley for being the first Manager that explained this to the council and Walter McKenzie’s reply was “Can’t we just send them once every four weeks?)  Wow!  In the Insurance industry, we secured information and sent certificates and auto ID’s etc, daily and timely.  But this is the government and you cannot force them to do what you want them to do EVEN TOUGH YOU PAY THE TAXES AND KEEP THEM IN OFFICE…AND THEY STILL THINK YOU DO NOT HAVE A VOICE.

Council stated the workshop provided an outstanding mechanism of communication between elected

officials and staff and was a great format for problem solving. Council stated they wish to continue

workshops through this format.

The Council persons should be far more in tune with their public.  They should walk in the neighborhoods and ask what problems the citizens may have and what their needs are.  The only time these people see the people is to threaten them not to make complaints or providing cookies and refreshments if they are running for office.  That does not exactly help those Citizens of the Town.


Respectfully submitted,


Shirley Heath Town ClerkCarver High School10564 FISHER ST, WHITE SPRINGS, FL 32096, Hamilton County

With Comments by Karin Griffin



January 25, 2009 resubmitted 11/13/2014

Citizen complains that the Town Council will not answer the following TEN questions. Citizen EXPECTS a “fact finding” on each of these questions and answers at the next Council meeting if not before. REPEAT, Citizen does not want an investigation but a FACT-FINDING for each of the questions.

1. Is Petitioner allowed to question my elected representatives and their minions?

2. Is Petitioner allowed to be present and heard at all steps of the decision making process?

3. What are the steps of a decision making process that are open to public scrutiny?

4. What are the limits of a citizen’s right to inspect and hold accountable the local government?

5. What input is a citizen allowed to have for a Town Manager’s or Town Attorney’s projects that ARE going before the board or are for the board’s express Benefit?

6. Is holding Public office a public trust?

7 Are Townsend and Kennon (now Lawrence and Koberlein) “agencies” of the Town when making policy-based decision making functions or decisions for the Town?

8. Are Townsend and Kennon (now Lawrence and Koberlein) Political Subdivisions of the Town?

9. Is the Town Council subordinate to and accountable to the public that they serve?

10. Why is Respondent expending governmental, taxpayer, funds prior to acquittal?

End of Ten Questions

I want to know the answer to these 10 questions soonest please.

Joe E. Griffin



As you are aware neither Joe or I are comfortable with going to Council Meetings for fear of being arrested or harassed…so what I am about to say comes from the few council meetings I have attended.

First there was the March 2013 meeting where Joe and I gave speeches complaining about the Town’s handling of liens against us. There was no mention of what was discussed except in General Terms and the first I knew of my speech being used was in the first case against Joe.   The newspaper article likewise did not bring up our information.

Then there was the HOPE program which was disbanded shortly after Richard Marshall brought up the facts, with evidence, that the Mayor spent public funds as she saw appropriate and without council approval.  Although she promised to the council that it would not happen again, there was nothing said of the mayor’s misappropriations either in the Meeting Minutes nor in the Newspaper.

The April meeting before Joe’s arrest was extremely interesting.  At that meeting, the Mayor blatantly stated that had it not been for the Sewer Increase, she would not have had sufficient seed money ($250,000) for the $3,000,000 revolving loan.  Yet it was obvious there was no additional money saved from the sewer increase toward that loan when the town asked for the money from the HCDA.  The Mayor’s statement was not in the Minutes of the Meeting nor was it in the Newspaper.  And later it was printed there was some $40,000 in deficit in the Enterprise account.

In line with that, it is noted that the Minutes of the meeting do not include all information and in the last set of minutes, the tape was shut off for the final discussion of something.  So Citizens if you feel this Town is Transparent, think again.  You only see and hear what the Town officials wish for you to hear.




Two Citizen Complaints were submitted by Joe Griffin to be heard in the November 11th Council Meeting.

It appears Fred Koberlein, Attorney read the complaints, Walter McKenzie, Vice Mayor dismissed the complaints and Willy Jefferson Seconded the Motion  5/0






“Bill Lawrence and Pam Tomlinson are purposely and willfully delaying or denying valid Florida Statute 119 Requests.  On November 3, 2014, I received a response to a request of 31, October, 2014 for any documents that would allow the town to not be questioned by the citizens, or words to that effect.  Koberlein wrote the letter, “There apparently is a town policy articulated by Mr. Kennon in 2008 that it would be “inappropriate” for a citizen to question the council I seek the exact authority for that policy.

Koberlein in his letter of November 3 says that such statutes do exist.  I want to see those statutes.  Koberlein re-wrote on today’s date” (November 4, 2014) “reiterating his prior stance.  I believe the town is operating without a net in the denial of citizens the right to question the council, both individual and corporately.  I want the net exposed, if there is such a net.”

Likewise, in Koberlein’s letter, he stated that to have him do the research, it would cost me $80.00.  This too is in violation of the Public Records law.  I am not required to do research to get “some Florida Statutes” that the town, by Koberlein’s own admission has used in the past.  The town is responsible to “doing the research” at Anita’s base salary.


Thank you

Joe Griffin




“On 11-4-2014 I did ask for a copy of Municipal Resolution 8-08.  It was denied to me without a Statutory exemption which is required By Florida Statute 119

Joe Griffin”



119.07 Inspection and copying of records; photographing public records; fees; exemptions.

(1)(a) Every person who has custody of a public record shall permit the record to be inspected and copied by any person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under supervision by the custodian of the public records.

(b) A custodian of public records or a person having custody of public records may designate another officer or employee of the agency to permit the inspection and copying of public records, but must disclose the identity of the designee to the person requesting to inspect or copy public records.

(c) A custodian of public records and his or her designee must acknowledge requests to inspect or copy records promptly and respond to such requests in good faith. A good faith response includes making reasonable efforts to determine from other officers or employees within the agency whether such a record exists and, if so, the location at which the record can be accessed.

(d) A person who has custody of a public record who asserts that an exemption applies to a part of such record shall redact that portion of the record to which an exemption has been asserted and validly applies, and such person shall produce the remainder of such record for inspection and copying.

(e) If the person who has custody of a public record contends that all or part of the record is exempt from inspection and copying, he or she shall state the basis of the exemption that he or she contends is applicable to the record, including the statutory citation to an exemption created or afforded by statute.

(f) If requested by the person seeking to inspect or copy the record, the custodian of public records shall state in writing and with particularity the reasons for the conclusion that the record is exempt or confidential.

(g) In any civil action in which an exemption to this section is asserted, if the exemption is alleged to exist under or by virtue of s. 119.071(1)(d) or (f), (2)(d),(e), or (f), or (4)(c), the public record or part thereof in question shall be submitted to the court for an inspection in camera. If an exemption is alleged to exist under or by virtue of s. 119.071(2)(c), an inspection in camera is discretionary with the court. If the court finds that the asserted exemption is not applicable, it shall order the public record or part thereof in question to be immediately produced for inspection or copying as requested by the person seeking such access.

(h) Even if an assertion is made by the custodian of public records that a requested record is not a public record subject to public inspection or copying under this subsection, the requested record shall, nevertheless, not be disposed of for a period of 30 days after the date on which a written request to inspect or copy the record was served on or otherwise made to the custodian of public records by the person seeking access to the record. If a civil action is instituted within the 30-day period to enforce the provisions of this section with respect to the requested record, the custodian of public records may not dispose of the record except by order of a court of competent jurisdiction after notice to all affected parties.

(i) The absence of a civil action instituted for the purpose stated in paragraph (g) does not relieve the custodian of public records of the duty to maintain the record as a public record if the record is in fact a public record subject to public inspection and copying under this subsection and does not otherwise excuse or exonerate the custodian of public records from any unauthorized or unlawful disposition of such record.

(2)(a) As an additional means of inspecting or copying public records, a custodian of public records may provide access to public records by remote electronic means, provided exempt or confidential information is not disclosed.

(b) The custodian of public records shall provide safeguards to protect the contents of public records from unauthorized remote electronic access or alteration and to prevent the disclosure or modification of those portions of public records which are exempt or confidential from subsection (1) or s. 24, Art. I of the State Constitution.

(c) Unless otherwise required by law, the custodian of public records may charge a fee for remote electronic access, granted under a contractual arrangement with a user, which fee may include the direct and indirect costs of providing such access. Fees for remote electronic access provided to the general public shall be in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(3)(a) Any person shall have the right of access to public records for the purpose of making photographs of the record while such record is in the possession, custody, and control of the custodian of public records.

(b) This subsection applies to the making of photographs in the conventional sense by use of a camera device to capture images of public records but excludes the duplication of microfilm in the possession of the clerk of the circuit court where a copy of the microfilm may be made available by the clerk.

(c) Photographing public records shall be done under the supervision of the custodian of public records, who may adopt and enforce reasonable rules governing the photographing of such records.

(d) Photographing of public records shall be done in the room where the public records are kept. If, in the judgment of the custodian of public records, this is impossible or impracticable, photographing shall be done in another room or place, as nearly adjacent as possible to the room where the public records are kept, to be determined by the custodian of public records. Where provision of another room or place for photographing is required, the expense of providing the same shall be paid by the person desiring to photograph the public record pursuant to paragraph (4)(e).

(4) The custodian of public records shall furnish a copy or a certified copy of the record upon payment of the fee prescribed by law. If a fee is not prescribed by law, the following fees are authorized:

(a)1. Up to 15 cents per one-sided copy for duplicated copies of not more than 14 inches by 81/2 inches;

2. No more than an additional 5 cents for each two-sided copy; and

3. For all other copies, the actual cost of duplication of the public record.

(b) The charge for copies of county maps or aerial photographs supplied by county constitutional officers may also include a reasonable charge for the labor and overhead associated with their duplication.

(c) An agency may charge up to $1 per copy for a certified copy of a public record.

(d) If the nature or volume of public records requested to be inspected or copied pursuant to this subsection is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved, or both, the agency may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge, which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the cost incurred for such extensive use of information technology resources or the labor cost of the personnel providing the service that is actually incurred by the agency or attributable to the agency for the clerical and supervisory assistance required, or both.

(e)1. Where provision of another room or place is necessary to photograph public records, the expense of providing the same shall be paid by the person desiring to photograph the public records.

2. The custodian of public records may charge the person making the photographs for supervision services at a rate of compensation to be agreed upon by the person desiring to make the photographs and the custodian of public records. If they fail to agree as to the appropriate charge, the charge shall be determined by the custodian of public records.

(5) When ballots are produced under this section for inspection or examination, no persons other than the supervisor of elections or the supervisor’s employees shall touch the ballots. If the ballots are being examined before the end of the contest period in s. 102.168, the supervisor of elections shall make a reasonable effort to notify all candidates by telephone or otherwise of the time and place of the inspection or examination. All such candidates, or their representatives, shall be allowed to be present during the inspection or examination.

(6) An exemption contained in this chapter or in any other general or special law shall not limit the access of the Auditor General, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, or any state, county, municipal, university, board of community college, school district, or special district internal auditor to public records when such person states in writing that such records are needed for a properly authorized audit, examination, or investigation. Such person shall maintain the exempt or confidential status of that public record and shall be subject to the same penalties as the custodian of that record for public disclosure of such record.




Since The Town of White Springs and its attorneys have difficulties understanding the Chapter 119 Laws and what exemptions may or may not apply, perhaps the following will assist:


Open Records

The Florida Public Records Law, Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, gives the public access to public records, defined as “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission,” made or received in connection with government agency business. The Florida Supreme Court has interpreted this definition to encompass all material prepared to “perpetuate, communicate, or formalize knowledge.

All records, regardless of whether they are in final form, are open for public inspection unless the Legislature has exempted them from disclosure.

When officials circulate material for review, comment, or information, the material is a public record. Records of advisory bodies, private organizations, or independent contractors acting as agents of government agencies are public unless covered by a specific exemption.

Access to Computerized Records

As technology has changed the means by which agencies communicate, manage, and store information, many public records are kept only in computer form.

Florida amended its definition of a public record recently to specifically include computer records and data processing software.

The statute says that automation of public records must not erode the public’s right of access.

Accordingly, computerized public records are governed by the same rule as paper documents. Agencies must provide a copy of public records in the medium requested if the agency maintains the record in that medium. However, an agency is not required to create a new record to meet a requester’s particular needs.

Agencies are responsible for ensuring reasonable access to records electronically maintained and should set up their databases to comply with the Public Records Law.

Email messages made or received in connection with official business are public records.

Examples of Public Records

· Most portions of arrest and crime reports;
· Most personnel records of government employees, including applications for state or local employment;
· Salaries and expense reports of government employees;
· Written communications between a government agency and its attorney, except information prepared for a pending suit; 
· City utility authority records;
· Tape recordings of incoming calls to a public agency;
· County and municipal budgets; and
· Most records of the Florida Commission on Ethics.

What is Exempt from the Public Records Law?

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that government agencies must provide access to public records unless the Legislature has specifically exempted them from disclosure. An agency claiming an exemption from disclosure bears the burden of proving a record is exempt by law. Before denying access, a public records custodian must specifically state — in writing if requested — which part of the law exempts a record.
There are more than 500 separate records exempted from the Public Records Law. Examples of them include:

  • Medical and birth records;
  • Identity of parents who leave a newborn infant at a hospital or fire station;
  • Information provided to authorities by people who take minor children when fleeing domestic violence;
  • Investigative and criminal intelligence records of law enforcement agencies that are related to active investigations;
  • Law enforcement records identifying sexual abuse victims or confidential informants;
  • Home addresses and phone numbers of Department of Children & Family Services investigators, law enforcement officers, state attorneys, judges, firefighters, and code enforcement officers;
  • Adoption records;
  • Student educational records;
  • Reports of diseases of “public health significance” to the state Department of Children & Family Services;
  • Information “necessary to security and integrity” of the Florida Lottery;
  • Negotiation records of purchases of real property by state and local agencies, such as appraisals, offers, and counteroffers, until a deal is final or will be considered by the governing body within 30 days,
  • Most tax information filed with the Department of Revenue;
  • Layout plans of port facilities, if it is believed that they can could compromise seaport security; and
  • Collective bargaining records.

Juvenile offender records are generally confidential and exempt from the Public Records Law. However, if the juvenile is arrested for a crime that would be a felony if committed by an adult or if the juvenile has committed three or more “adult” misdemeanors, the records are not exempt.

If a federal statute requires a record to be closed and the state is clearly subject to the provisions of that statute, the state must keep the records confidential. However, a Florida court ruled that tenant records of a public housing authority are not exempt from the Public Records Law, despite the Federal Privacy Act.

Which Government Bodies Are Subject to the Public Records Law?

All units of state, county, and local government are subject to the Public Records Law, as are advisory bodies, private organizations or independent contractors acting on behalf of any public agency. Thus any publicly created advisory board would be an agency subject to the law unless a statutory exemption exists. When a private corporation not otherwise connected with government provides services to a governmental body, the key question is whether the private organization is acting on behalf of a public agency.

Public funding or a government contract do not automatically make the private organization subject to the law. The Florida Supreme Court developed a “totality of factors” approach as a guide for evaluating whether a private entity is subject to the Public Records Law.

Generally, if the private organization is involved in the decision-making process, it becomes an “agency” for the purposes of the Public Records Law. In addition, when a private organization enters negotiations with a public agency, records of those negotiations are public records.

For example, the Chicago White Sox professional baseball team and the city of St. Petersburg were found to have violated the Public Records Law by denying access to draft lease documents generated during negotiations.

How To Get Access to Public Records

The Florida Public Records Law states that any person can inspect and copy public records. An individual does not need to state a purpose or special interest to obtain access to a record and does not need to present identification.

The first step toward seeing a record is identifying the agency holding it and the person within that agency who is the records custodian. The Public Records Law specifies the custodian is the official in charge of the office where the records are maintained. Citizens can call or write the agency for this information.

The request for a public record should be as specific as possible. Although a verbal request is sufficient, a written request is often more effective. A request for a record should include the subject matter, location, date, agency in charge, and the name or identification of the file, if known. Copies of all correspondence should be kept for future reference.

When a portion of the material requested is exempt from disclosure, a records custodian must provide the non-exempt material. For example, even though the name of the victim of a sexual assault is exempt from disclosure, the police report itself is not exempt. Once the identifying information is removed, the report must be released.


If you are refused access to public records you should cite Chapter 119 of Florida Law, which states: “It is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records shall at all times be open for a personal inspection by any person. Public records are defined as “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received…in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.” Section 119.10 provides that: “Any person willfully and knowingly violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree…”

If a government agency violates the Public Records law, it harms all citizens of the State of Florida. Therefore any citizen of the State who reasonably believes that there has been a violation may seek an order from the circuit court to force disclosure. Penalties include fines, injunctive relief, and in extreme cases incarceration of offenders. The cost of bringing a justifiable suit against a government entity should not deter citizens from enforcing the law. Even though legal fees may reach astronomical proportions, if a citizen brings a suit under the Sunshine Law and the court finds that there was a violation, the person who filed the lawsuit is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees from the agency. However, if the court finds that the suit was filed in bad faith, or on frivolous grounds, the agency may recover reasonable attorneys fees from the person filing the suit.

Knowingly withholding public records can cause more than financial trouble for public officials who mishandle the public trust. In 1992, a Hernando County School Board member was found guilty of violating the Open Meetings Law and was fined $322. She was additionally ordered to spend four hours studying the Government-in-the-Sunshine manual. In 1999, Escambia County School Board member Vanette Webb withheld records from a citizen who publicly criticized Webb’s actions and political beliefs. Webb was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine plus $45 per month in probation costs. In addition, she was sentenced to 30 days in jail for abridging the state access laws.


If you want a copy of a record, the records custodian may charge only the actual cost of duplication. The law allows the records custodian to charge higher fees for certain records and when responding to a request requires extensive assistance.

For example, if a request requires extensive use of information technoloty resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance, or both, an agency may charge a reasonable service charge based on the actual cost incurred.


This is Proof Citizens of White Springs that you have never had a voice in government and it is my belief even when you possibly vote.







The Mayor thanked Mr. Griffin for his concerns.  McKire also stated the town has been under financial constraints and has never gotten its head above water and we have to watch every dime we spend.

Walter McKenzie stated Mr. Griffin’s observations might be helpfulMcKenzie suggested to Mr. Griffin he might get better results if he did not demand things and use big letters and statements to do this immediately

Discussion from Mr. Varnes on procedure to answer the complaints.  Discussion from Wendell Hannum on making the complaints available to the Public.  Mr. Varnes asked who has the power of veto?  Mr. Kennon answered no one.  3/1

Mr. Kennon stated he did not believe there was time for mediation and it would not be fruitful or economical.  Mr. Varnes stated according to Judge Peach there is time and it would be fruitful.  Varnes also stated when his wife was on the council she suggested this to Mr. Ray and Mr. Kennon.


Mr. Kennon stated his calendar was full and it would be difficult to try and find a mediator in 16 days.  Also Mr. Griffin and Mr. Dezendorf would have to agree to mediation.

Mrs. Register stated Mr. Dezendorf called her and she tried to talk to him, but you can’t talk to these people.  He wants everyone thrown out of office

  1. J. Tennis stated Griffin wants to own the sewer plant and would fire Robert and Shirley 4/0.

I find this complaint to be unfounded.

Robert Townsend, Employee; D.R. Dietrich, Town Council

Complaint 01-12 investigated by Mr. Mckenzie, McKenzie read his findings (attached) stating this was an honest interpretation by staff of 119.  McKenzie suggested staff write Mr. Griffin asking if he still wishes to have the blacked out information.

Attorney – Mr. Kennon asked everyone to mark their calendars for May 14, 2001.  That is the date set for the trial where Mr. Joe Griffin alleged the council and attorney held secret meetings, 9:00 a.m.

A review of the records show that on 1/24/2001, an answer was provided.  #1 of the answer was there is no pump A review of the failure.  And well pumps have no maintenance.  They either run or they don’t.  

Walter McKenzie stated we delayed this action and wrote Mr. Griffin as a courtesy.

Motion made by Walter McKenzie and seconded by Ralph Hardwick to table the complaints on the agenda until we receive attorney opinion as to property disposition pending at the next meeting.  5/0

We are doing the best we can.  We answer 119 requests as quickly as possible.  One request Griffin has made for approximately 900 to 1,000 pages.

Kennon has a conflict and will appear by phone.  My legal strategy decision as you hired me as your lawyer to make, is to deny it.  Unless someone has opposition to this, I will call Judge Peach, have a court reporter there.  No objection voiced by council.

Consider Citizens Complaints – Town Council findings on following complaints

Complaint #01-42 Walter McKenzie – Mr. Townsend handled properly and did not overstep his authority.  Ralph Hardwick accepted findings and seconded by Earl Varnes 4/0

Complaint #01-55 Walter McKenzie – found complaint not to be true.  Motion to accept findings by Ralph Hardwick and a second by Earl Varnes  4/0

Complaint #01-48  Ralph Hardwick – no basis for complaint.  Mr. Townsend had met all qualifications.  Motion by Walter McKenzie and seconded by Earl Varnes to accept findings.  4/0

Complaint #01-49 Earl Varnes – Mrs. Heath has informed all she has high school diploma and has complied with complaint.  Accepted by Walter McKenzie and a second by Ralph Hardwick.  4/0

Complaint #01-52  Earl Varnes – Harris property connected to water/sewer back in 1953 per former mayor.  Motion to accept findings by Walter McKenzie and seconded by Ralph Hardwick.  4/0

Complaint #01-57 Joseph McKire – found that Mr. Townsend has not mismanaged employees.  Findings were accepted by Walter McKenzie and seconded by Ralph Hardwick.  4/0

Mr. Townsend read the complaint.  Mr. Townsend stated the audit report answered this complaint.  No such expenditures, no such documents and no borrowing done improperly.  Adequate response was sent

All complaints are answered in the minutes of the meetings and the complainant has picked up the minutes.

02-05 Complaint from Joe Griffin against Joseph McKire.  Answered in court by Judge Peach in person and dismissed No misappropriation of funds and the council voted to approve the expenditures.

The Mayor suggested as a break in the meeting tonight that Ms. Williams and Mr. Townsend schedule a time to meet on this complaint. THIS COMPLAINT WAS FILED BY ANOTHER CITIZEN.  CERTAIN CITIZENS HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS THEIR COMPLAINTS, GRIFFIN DOES NOT.

Mr. Kennon informed the council Joe Griffin had filed 3 motions to get involved as a friend of the court in this case, but all three were denied.

Mr. Varnes stated he would like to dismiss the lawsuit, but due to the absence of Mr. Hardwick he felt it would be best to wait until the January meeting.

Mr. Kennon stated his firm received a 28 page 3-mail from Mr. Griffin entitled, a petition for order to show cause leading to writ of mandamus compelling the municipality to cease to perform illegally special treatment to perform a legally required function of enforcement and cease conducting illegal enforcement out of the sunshine and thus out of the view of the public.

Attorney Mr. Kennon reported Michael Harris has filed answer-denying allegations and I will get a copy to Mr. Townsend so he can give to council.  I will be filing notice to set for trial.  At this point the judge may request we go for mediation.  SEE A COUNCIL MEMBER’S BROTHER IN LAW AND A FRIEND OF THE COUNCIL GETS SPECIAL TREATMENT.  HARRIS DID NOT HAVE TO PAY A DIME AND THEY DID NOT MAKE A MOTION TO DISMISS.


Another e-mail stated Griffin was not permitted to attend the council meeting with threat of arrest.  Kennon stated for the record that was not true, but at one-time he was instructed to maintain order.  Mr. Griffin is allowed to attend the council meetings.  BUT EACH TIME HE HAS TO DATE, THERE ARE THREATS OF ARREST AND TWO ACTUAL IN THE TIME I HAVE BEEN HERE.



Mr. Kennon stated that if he did not make this recommendation as outlined in the e-mail, he would have ethical complaints filed against him.  Mr. Kennon stated he was not going to make those recommendations.  They are not proper recommendations to make, that being said, because these threats of going to the Florida Bar Association.  It is my recommendation, that we obtain outside council to represent the four named persons in the Peeler Lawsuit and Harris Lawsuit.  I am asking permission to obtain outside council, namely Mr. Rudser who is very familiar and very successful for representation in these cases.




Law Suit Update.  Mr. Kennon stated Patricia Register, Jim Smith and Joe Griffin sent a settlement letter offering “to drop the case if an in the sunshine meeting was held to discuss the Fire Department”.  This will be discussed in the January Meeting


The allegations relative to Peeler and Harris cases prevent me from giving the advice I need with these threats held over my head and allegations against me.

Ms. Udell stated she had a question, at what point as an elected official the man (Mr. Griffin) comes in everyday on my job, call it coercion, blackmail or whatever, could she file a lawsuit against Mr. Griffin?  Ms. Udell informed the council that Mr. Griffin says if you do this or that I want to include you in the lawsuit, everyday it is a different game.  GRIFFIN DOESN’T COOK.  HE ATE OUT AT RESTAURANTS BEFORE HE MET HIS WIFE.  AND WORKING AT STORMANTS, HE OBSERVED HER SPITTING IN THE FOOD SHE PREPARED FOR HIM.

Mr. Griffin left a stack of papers that high at Wayne Stormant’s restaurant, some of them are in the trash and some I don’t know where.  What point can I go to the judge, state attorney, anybody and file any kind of charges against that man?  Mr. Kennon stated that would be a private matter and you certainly have the options at any point in time of contacting the state attorney office or discuss the matter with county law enforcement officersMs. Udell said it’s not threats, but is something Mr. Kennon stated it may be some improper influence of an elected official decision, but I can’t encourage you to do anything.  Ms. Udell asked if she would need witness or her co-workers to sign an affidavit stating that he comes  in and says all he says in front of everybody, that He’s not going to include me in the lawsuit if I do this and that.  Mr. Kennon said there are laws against corruption or attempted corruption of a public official.  Ms Udell said that is what it is getting to be.  Mr. Kennon informed Ms Udell that the State Attorney Office in Live Oak would tell her what assistant handles the Jasper area.  Ms Udell also stated she had asked Wayne Stormant not to let that man come into the restaurant.  The man is all in the kitchen and everywhere I’m at he is there.  Wayne wants to bar him out. AND HE DID FOR OVER A YEAR.  At one point Mr. Griffin and me got into it in front of the customers.  He tries to carry me there every time he comes in to make a fool out of myself in front of the customers.

Sometimes I discuss with him and say yes and you’re right and he still will sit down.  He comes in every day.  I think he looks for my car and he stays as long as I work from 10-3, talking loud saying ugly things about everyone.  But he will say, I’m not talking about Ms. Udell.  Ms Udell stated she was really getting sick of it.  Mr. Hardwick stated that was harassment.

Mr. Griffin is not asking for money.  He has filed a motion to force separate legal counsel for named respondent Mr. Townsend Mr. Kennon stated the court would have to rule on that motion.  Mr. Kennon added he didn’t believe Mr. Townsend would have to hire a separate attorney and it would be up to the discretion of the town to pay for an attorney.

Griffin also filed a motion for recusal of Judge and Counsel for defense.  Mr. Kennon stated the motion stated to exclude the Judge who presides over the Circuit Court and in for Hamilton County, Florida and any Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit, Thomas J. Kennon II, from hearing the above styled action.  Further this filing notifies the court that Municipal Attorney Thomas J. Kennon III will be called as a witness in any and/or all of the court hearings and trial associated with this action.  Mr. Griffin is also considering a trial by jury.

Mr. Kennon stated his opinion the council should seek Donald Rudser to represent the town in this suit.  Should the motion be dismissed it would be proper to file for attorney fees and costs.

Tracy Woodard declared a conflict of interest and stated she would not be neither discussing nor voting on this issue.

Mr. Kennon added that to stop the time clock of 20 days he would file the dismissal.

Mr. Kennon gave a brief history of all the suits.

Woody Woodard stated enough is enough and it was time to take them to the table and time for this to end.

Voting for mediation was 0

Voting against the motion was Joseph McKire, Ralph Hardwick, Tracy Woodard, Earl Varnes and Vickey Udell.  Motion did not pass.

Motion made by Earl Varnes and seconded by Vickey Udell to respectfully decline Mr. Griffin’s mediation pursuant to his request dated January 22, 2003 request to Mrs. Patricia Gleason.  5/0


Lawsuit Update.  Mr. Kennon reported Mr. Rudser’s motion to dismiss was granted in the Michael Harris case.  Mr. Griffin will have a chance to appeal the decision.  Mr. Rudser will now pursue the Firefighter’s lawsuit (Peeler).

Mr. Kennon reported the Fire Department case was dismissed.  CA329 Dismissed, 56 & 224 upcoming hearings.  Heath suit dismissed, 397 will file motion to dismiss.

Motion made by Vickey Udell and seconded by Tracy Woodard for the Town Council to authorize Mr. Kennon to attempt to recoup attorney fees and court costs in 02-261-CA, 00-329-CA and 03-056-CA.  5/0

Lawsuit Update.  Due to a scheduling conflict, Mr. Kennon informed the Council with their approval he will move for protective order in the case 2003CA000397 (Griffin) because he had scheduled a motion before Judge Slaughter the same day in the afternoon.  No objection from the Council.

Mr. Felton has filed discrimination charge with the Florida Commission on Human Relation.  Mr. Kennon recommended mediation in this case.  Motion made by Tracy Woodard and seconded by Ralph Hardwick to engage in mediation process with the Florida Commission on Human Relations to resolve the case with Officer Coltrane Felton.  4/0  AGAIN MEDIATION WAS OFFERED TO OTHERS BUT WHEN IT CAME TO GRIFFIN, NEVER.  THEY WOULD NOT LISTEN; THEY WOULD NOT ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS IN AGENDAS COMPAINTS, ETC SO HE HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO BRING FORTH SUIT.  YET IN EACH CASE THERE WAS A MOTION TO DISMISS AND CHARGED HIM WHATEVER THEY WISHED FOR COURT COSTS AND FEES.

Agenda Request by Jim Smith.  Mr. Smith asked the council what was being done in regards to Mr. Griffin’s piling garbage on his property and why was it reported to DEP instead of using the town’s LDR? Mr. Kennon informed Mr. Smith that the town can use any agency and that the courts have said it was up to the governing agency to decide and how fast to proceed with Land Development issues.  Mr. Kennon cautioned Mr. Smith on how he assumes or his innuendos on what Mr. Kennon is doing or how he advises his client in Mr. Smith’s printMr. Kennon also advised that the agenda is not a debate.  Mr. Smith inquired why there is different treatment for different people.  Mrs. Woodard stated she was satisfied with the attorney’s answer and had no desire to discuss the issue any further.

Mayor McKire informed Mr. Smith that this sounds more like a complaint issue and that the town has a plan to bring things up to standard and that we can’t do everything at one time.  Ms Udell inquired if Mr. Smith was instructing the council to have Mr. Townsend enforce the LDR on all the property in the town.  Mr. Smith stated it was not being enforced equally.  Willie Jefferson asked if the LDR was being enforced and Mr. Townsend stated absolutely. Mr. Kennon stated that the town was moving forward and that we cannot afford to do everything we would like to do.  Mr. Kennon is currently working on 4 to 5 property violations.  Mr. Smith stated he wanted to look at the list of violations.   LET’S SEE THEY STOLE THE MONEY FROM THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND FIRED PEELER….THEY SECURED COURT COSTS AND FEES FROM GRIFFIN ON EVERY CASE WHICH WAS DISMISSED….SO THEY SHOULD HAVE AFFORDED A LOT.  BUT THAT’S RIGHT! THEY COULD NOT CHARGE THEIR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES…THEIR SPECIAL PEOPLE SO IT OFFSET THOSE COSTS.

Mrs. Thompson also inquired into the Ronald Williams case Mr. Kennon informed Mrs. Thompson that the Town of White Springs as a member of the Florida League of Cities contract stated they will defend the town as they see appropriate.  The council was aware of the case and it was handled by Marks Gray on behalf of the town.  If you desire copies you need to contact the Florida League of Cities.  The council is under no obligation to discuss litigation.

Mr. Kennon asked Mrs. Thompson if it was her signature on the citizen’s complaint against Mr. Kennon.  Mrs. Thompson replied it was.  Mr. Kennon warned Mrs. Thompson that if she called him an idiot again there would be repercussions.  Mr. Townsend answered the 7 complaints and found no violations of malfeasance

Woody Woodard asked the council to vote against the contract because the town was being held hostage by civic terrorist of questionable integrity.  Ms. Gail Ward echoed Mr. Woodard’s thoughts. WOW THE COUNCIL CANNOT UNDERSTAND GRIFFIN BUT GAIL WARD CAN READ MR. WOODARD’S THOUGHTS…AMAZING.

Lawsuit Update – Mr. Kennon reported Mr. Griffin appeared in court Monday before Judge Slaughter and under oath disclosed that he owns a small pick-up truck, has a bank account and filed income taxes for the last three years.  Mr. Griffin will produce copies of these documents to Mr. Kennon and he will see what the town can recover for our legal expense.

Mr. Kennon stated that the complaint was brought before the Council last month but due the absence of council member it could not be voted upon.  The complaint is against Mayor McKire and Vice Mayor Hardwick, Mr. Kennon went on to state that he disagreed with Mr. Griffin’s assessment of the law The complaint could not be handled due to absence of Councilperson Ford.

The second complaint is against the Town Manager and the Town attorney proposed violation of the Sunshine Law.  Mr. Griffin encouraged the Council to look at the Sunshine Law.  The attorney General Opinion is that staff fails under the Sunshine Law.  Mr. Griffin went on to state that we are no closer to solving the issue than we were eight years ago.

Mayor McKire cautioned Mr. Griffin not to interrupt these meetings.

Councilman Williams stated that he was somewhat confused, the manager is our staff and Mr. Kennon is our legal counsel and from time to time they have to speak and get data to us for our decision, they do the leg work for us so how can they do that if they have to publish every time they speak to each other.

Mr. Kennon stated that the final decision is always left up to the Council.

Councilman Williams asked Mr. Kennon if he was a licensed attorney and licensed to practice in the state of Florida and Mr. Kennon answered yes.

Mr. Griffin interrupted once again stating he had presented the Council with Two Attorney General Opinions about the staff operating in the sunshine.

Councilman Williams stated when he was the county coordinator he was never questioned about the sunshine law when he conferred with the county attorney and he doesn’t see where there is any action to take in that we appointed the town manager and town attorney.

Joe Griffin again stated that items that will come before the council must be in the sunshine.

Mr. Kennon stated that his response to the citizen complaint stands and it is not appropriate to investigate the council.

Mr. Griffin continually tried to interrupt the meeting and at one point he tried to take Councilman William’s council book.

Councilman Williams informed Mr. Griffin that he will ask the mayor to have the Chief of Police to escort you out of the meeting informing him that he had no right to insult the Council and we have not insulted you.

Motion made by Councilman Williams and seconded by Vice Mayor Hardwick stating that after review by the attorney and discussion with the citizen I find the complaint unfounded and closed.

Joe Griffin stated that if you kill this you are going against the attorney general.

Councilman Williams stated the complaint was unfounded.

Mr. Griffin stated he was giving notice to the town that he was going to file suit.

Mayor McKire asked the attorney didn’t we have five lawsuits before?  Mr. Kennon replied yes.  Mayor McKire then asked Mr. Kennon if Mr. Griffin was aware of the outcome of those suits.  Mr. Kennon stated he couldn’t answer that question.

Mr. Griffin asked how the town could enforce the new ordinance equally when they had selected enforcement with the Williams and Harris property.

Councilman Williams called for clarification on the Williams property.  Mr. Griffin stated the “Pye” Williams property.

Councilman Williams stated that he has never known of any selective enforcement and the new ordinances are putting in place a better and clearer way to bring people into compliance and how far an issue goes is up to the individual.

Mr. Griffin stated he wanted to understand the Council’s thinking on how to enforce new ordinances.  He wants to have a discussion with the Council.

Motion made by Councilman Williams and seconded by Vic Mayor Hardwick to move forward to the next agenda item

The above story is true. I ASKED for a meeting of the Town Council to discuss our differences. The Town Council, in 2002 said NO. That is why the ensuing 13 years of litigation and distrust happened. It leads directly to the problems which are now may be bringing FDLE to town. A citizen who is an admitted pain in the town’s side tries to have a meeting to discuss the issues and the town says no. Not only that but, in 2008, the town FOUGHT a court case, spending another couple of thousand dollars, that sought to clarify the law. They could have just ask Kennon for the real reading of the law but, and this is my opinion, he would have had to misrepresent himself and thus lose his law license. Instead he opted, with the full concurrence of the council, to run up a bill of a couple of thousand dollars to keep from providing clarification of the law.

Joe Griffin


“Mr. Kennon will address the Council of responding to this request at the meeting.  I have no knowledge of any lawsuit against the town at this time.  I will provide the information on all of the past issued parking tickets issued by the Police Department at the meeting.  The reason for not providing them prior to the meeting is there is a lot of personal information contained on each ticket that is not a public record.  Keep in mind that once the Police Department started issuing these tickets the violations started to decline.”  Robert Townsend


The Town has received your Citizen Complaint dated February 11, 2008 and upon review it appears that you allege non-feasance against two elected officials.  Town Hall is not the proper authority to investigate this type of complaint for possible violations of law of its elected officials Therefore I am notifying you that my office will not proceed with the complaint.  You must report allegations of violations of state law to the proper authorities.


Robert Townsend

The Town has received and reviewed your Citizen’s Complaint dated February 24, 2008.  I am not an attorney and therefore cannot comment on the legal references made in the complaint.  It appears your complaint alleges violations of the Florida Sunshine Law Statute by the Town Attorney and the Town Manager.  I am informing you that this is not the proper authority to handle this complaint Therefore the Town will not proceed any further with your complaint.  If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact me.

Dear Council Member:

Provided for your review and consideration are copies of the complaints dated February 11, 2008 and February 28, 2008 along with my response.  I based my response on the fact that both complaints indicate Mr. Griffin alleges possible violations of State Law and Civil Rights by the Town Attorney, Town Manager and Elected Officials of the Town.  This office is not the proper authority to report allegations of violations of neither State Law or Civil Rights.

Copy of Mr. Kennon’s bill

  1.     Not a request for public documents
  2.      Not a request for public documents
  3.     Not a request for public documents
  4.     Kennon’s bill
  5.     Not a request for public documents
  6. You have not request a specific document which can be identified in your request. We will     provide access to, or copies of, non-exempt public records on file with the Town of White Springs, but we are unable to respond to requests that we answer questions, analyze and summarize records, or that we try to identified request that are not specific enough to identify the request.

.  Not a request for public documents


Letter five of April 17, 2008:

Not a request for public documents


Letter Seven of April 17, 2008

  1. I am not aware of a document responsive to this request
  2. Copy ready for your pick-up at Town Hall


Letter Ten of April 17, 2008

  1. You have not request a specific document which can be identified in your request. We will provide access to, or copies of, nonexempt public records on file with the Town of White Springs, but we are unable to respond to requests that we answer questions, analyze and summarize records, or that we try to identified requests that are not specific enough to identify the requests.


  1. You have not request a specific document which can be identified in your request. We will provide access to, or copies of, nonexempt public records on file with the Town of White Springs, but we are unable to respond to requests that we answer questions, analyze and summarize records, or that we try to identified requests that are not specific enough to identify the requests.

Letter One April 19, 2008

You have not request a specific document which can be identified in your request.  We will provide access to, or copies of, nonexempt public records on file with the Town of White Springs, but we are unable to respond to requests that we answer questions, analyze and summarize records., or that we try to identified request that are not specific enough to identify the request.

Do you wish a copy of the Town Charter?

You have not request a specific document which can be identified in your request.  We will provide access to, or copies of, nonexempt public records on file with the Town of White Springs, but we are unable to respond to requests that we answer questions, analyze and summarize records., or that we try to identified request that are not specific enough to identify the request

You have not request a specific document which can be identified in your request.  We will provide access to, or copies of, nonexempt public records on file with the Town of White Springs, but we are unable to respond to requests that we answer questions, analyze and summarize records., or that we try to identified request that are not specific enough to identify the request


Letter Three April 19, 2008

You appeared before the Town Council May 13, 2008 at which time they heard your complaints.

You have not request a specific document which can be identified in your request.  We will provide access to, or copies of, nonexempt public records on file with the Town of White Springs, but we are unable to respond to requests that we answer questions, analyze and summarize records., or that we try to identified request that are not specific enough to identify the request

Copies ready for your pick up at Town Hall


Letter nine of April 17, 2008

We have not denied your access to public document.  You must request a specific document which can be identified in your request.

We have not denied your access to public documents.  You must request a specific document with sufficient specificity to permit the custodian to identify the record.

We have not denied your access to public documents.  You must request a specific document with sufficient specificity to permit the custodian to identify the record.


15 cents per page, plus actual cost involved in copying the documents = $8.49


Shirley Heath

Town Clerk

Councilman McKenzie stated that he was aware Mr. Griffin wants us to know in his opinion we lied.   Mr. Griffin has stated that we want to hold on to our possession and I have tried to be open with you and you have not made it easy.

Mr. Griffin asked if he could ask a question of the chair and will you give an answer.  Mayor McKire stated it depends on the question.  Mr. Griffin asked if the council is required to answer questions.

The Attorney stated that the Council are under no obligation to answer.

Councilman McKenzie stated that the proper responses were made and that the Manager, Mrs. Heath and Mrs. Tomlinson did their job properly and accordingly.  Councilman McKenzie went on to state that the complaints are not stated clearly enough to understand what you are complaining about.

Mr. Griffin stated that there is no open government in White Springs.  The Town doesn’t follow the laws and when he filed the last court case, he tried to make it too large and he failed.

The complaint against Ms. Tomlinson is most assuredly a complaint.  She cannot decide what she can notarize and what she can’t.

The complaints tabled from the June Meeting are February 11, February 21, February 29, April 14, April 16, April 17, April 20 and April 27, 2008

Motion made by Councilman Williams and seconded by Vice Mayor Hardwick that no further action is necessary and considers the citizen complaints closed  5/0

Mr. Griffin asked if he could approach the chair.  The attorney stated any items should be first given to the clerk.

Councilman McKenzie asked what the agenda request was.

Agenda item #10 refers to our attorney, attorneys and clients special meetings out of the sunshine.

8:15 p.m.  Chief Brookins and Officer Capallia arrived at the meeting.

Mr. Kennon stated for the record that was not correct.  Reference made by Mr. Griffin of enclosures 1 & 2.  Mr. Griffin asked why all the information was not given to the council.  Mr. Townsend stated that if he wanted to print out 50 pages for each Council member he could.  The enclosures are made available at Town Hall for the Council to review.

Mr. Griffin asked if the Council was subject to the Sunshine Law 119 and if not why was  Shirley responding to my 119 requests and why do we have an agenda.  You cannot hide behind public office.  You lied on court documents in the Harris case.

Mayor McKire asked Mr. Griffin “What do you want?”

Mr. Griffin stated Mayor McKire said he was not subject to the Sunshine law.

Mr. Griffin stated that the town cannot enforce ordinance 98-1.  You are no closer to enforcing than you were five years ago.

Councilman McKenzie stated that we have devoted time and effort to enforcement procedures hiring a special magistrate to make sure we do the best job we can.

Joe Griffin responded that 8 years puts that statement to a lie.  Griffin went on to tell the Council to try and enforce the code.  That is why I haven’t moved my junk car.

Councilman McKenzie responded that when I make a comment, I like to do so without a five minute follow-up on everything I say.  You say you want to understand my thinking.  You are not really trying.

At this point Mr. Griffin thanked the Council for their time and he left the meeting.

Mr. Townsend stated that the complaints are May 29, 2008, May 15, 2008 and June 28, 2008, no date received July 10, 2008, July 11, 2008 and August 6, 2008

Councilman Williams stated that the complaints are unfounded.

Councilman McKenzie agreed   5/0


ATTORNEY  – Mr. Kennon reported that Joe Griffin has filed a lawsuit.  Joe E. Griffin vs the Town of White Springs.  Mr. Kennon stated it was not clear just what the suit claims.

Motion made by Councilman Williams and seconded by Vice Mayor Hardwick to authorize the attorney to file a motion to dismiss and file for attorney fees and cost   5/0

Mr. Kennon stated for the record that the council does not take any action out of the Sunshine.

Councilman McKenzie stated he was trying to understand the complaint adding that he doesn’t feel the Town Council ignores case laws and the courts have proven we have not operated out of the Sunshine Law.  ALL THE COURTS HAVE PROVED IS THAT YOUR ATTORNEY FILED A MOTION TO DISMISS AND THE ALLEGATIONS OF THE COUNCIL NOT FOLLOWING THE LAW WERE NEVER EVEN READ.  THAT IS WHY THE COUNCIL NEVER ALLOWED MEDIATION AND THAT IS WHY THE THREAT OF GOING TO THE BAR MADE AN ATTORNEY BACK DOWN.

Vice Mayor Hardwick stated he agreed with Councilman McKenzie.

Complaint 2Mr. Griffin stated that the Council will not answer questions.  He can’t understand their thinking.  The Council does not have any discussions and every thought the Council has as well as every affirmative act, of a public official as it relates to and is within the scope of his official duties, is a matter of public concern, and it is the entire decision-making process.

Dennis Price stated he agreed with Mr. Griffin in that it took a lot of effort to get conversation  and understand the Council’s thoughts on your decision making process.

Motion made by Vice Mayor Hardwick and seconded by

Councilman McKenzie to take no action on this complaint. 5/0

Mr. Kennon recommended the Council to vote on the first complaint.

Motion made by Vice Mayor Hardwick and seconded by Councilman McKenzie to take no action on Complaint # 1.   5/0

Mr. Griffin again quoted case laws and stated the purpose of this complaint is to make the Town Council itself totally and wholly responsible for the Law Suit known as 2008-CA-000283 and that the Town Council regularly ignores case law provisions of Florida Statute 286.011

Councilman McKenzie stated that he has been a participant in public meetings and they have all been open for public input and all done in accordance of legal requirements of State Statute 286.011.

 Motion made by Councilman McKenzie and seconded by Vice Mayor Hardwick to take no action on this complaint 5/0

Mr. Kennon stated for the record that the Council is not in agreement with Mr. Griffin’s opinions.

Dennis Price stated somebody has to come up with the ordinance and the citizen did have discussions and chance to make changes.

Mr. Griffin stated that other municipalities such as Jasper do not operate the Way White Springs does.

– Mr. Griffin stated the purpose of the complaint is to make the Town Council itself totally and wholly responsible for the Law Suit known as 2008-CA-000283 and that when a staff member ceases to function in a staff capacity and is appointed to a committee which is given a policy-based decision-making function, the staff member loses his or her identity as staff while working on the committee and the Sunshine Law applies to the committee.

Motion made by Vice Mayor Hardwick and seconded by Councilman McKenzie to take no action on this complaint.

Councilman McKenzie stated we will agree to disagree.  5/0

The complaint is the public was not given opportunity to express views or to participate in the decision making process of all steps of the decision making process including those taken by the political subdivisions.

Councilman McKenzie stated that the Council is in compliance with the Sunshine Laws and the perception of the public is that we are.

Mr. Griffin disagreed.

Motion made by Councilman McKenzie and seconded by Vice Mayor Hardwick to not take any action on the complaint.   5/0

Complaint 6 – Mr. Griffin stated this complaint is there was not a full, open public hearing convened for the purpose of enabling the public to express its views and participation in the decision making process of the Council.

Motion made by Vice Mayor Hardwick and seconded by Councilman McKenzie to not take any action on the complaint.

Councilman McKenzie stated he was not aware any non-public or secret meetings and he is very comfortable with his actions and you obviously were not at the budget workshops.

Mr. Griffin stated that a meeting could be just one person.

Councilman McNeal asked Mr. Griffin how you can explain how one person could have a meeting.

Griffin stated that one person could constitute a meeting.  5/0

Mr. Griffin stated this complaint is when public officials delegate their fact-finding duties and decision-making authority to committee or staff members, even a committee of one.  Those individuals no longer function as staff members but stand in the shoes of the public official as far as the Sunshine Law is concerned.  The public wasn’t given the opportunity to speak on the ordinance voted on tonight.

Motion made by Council McKenzie and seconded by Vice Mayor Hardwick to take no action on the complaint.

Councilman McKenzie stated that staff rounds up information for the council and it is brought to a public meeting and a public hearing was held at 6:30 p.m. tonight on all the ordinances.  Mr. McKenzie went on to state that you have said that you tried to bring us into compliance but your statements and actions made to me and my family through the years are not a language to try to get anyone to talk to you and we have done our best.   I HEARD THAT GRIFFIN WROTE TO MCKENZIE BECAUSE HE FELT THEY CONFISCATED A DOG (SNOOPY) THAT BECAME LOOSE AND THE LITTLE BOY WHO HAD THE DOG WAS SADDENED WITH THE LOSS.  AT LEAST JOE DID NOT HIT WALTER BACK BUT WALTER HAS SURE BRAGGED ABOUT PUNCHING JOE GRIFFIN.

Mr. Griffin gave an example using Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mr. Griffin stated that we will have over 70 complaints after tonight.

Dennis price began debating with Mr. Griffin stating that the underlining of all of this is it must be open and we made a point to be involved.

Mayor McKire stated that the meeting will be conducted in a civil manner and citizens will not talk among themselves, they must address the chair.  Mayor McKire asked Mr. Price if he was done and Mr. Price stated he was.  5/0

Mr. Griffin stated the purpose of the item is to make the present Town Council of the Town of White Springs totally and wholly responsible for its allowing others, Kennon, Townsend and Mike Williams to say something and it becomes town policy without a public discussion or vote by the Council.

Mr. Kennon informed the Council that the agenda item is a presentation for information gathering purposes.

Councilman McKenzie stated that nothing in agenda item 12 presentation is worthy of comment.

Mr. Griffin stated he wanted answers to the 8 listed questions.

Councilman McKenzie stated the council has already devoted an hour to Mr. Griffin’s items and many of them have been addressed in court and he doesn’t feel  the need to comment on the agenda applications and unnecessary as far as he can see.

Mr. Griffin asked if the Council was refusing to answer the questions.

Mayor McKire stated we don’t understand where we stand unless you withdraw your lawsuit. The Mayor asked the Clerk why the items were not in numerical order and Mrs. Heath replied they were in the order received from Mr. Griffin.

Vice Mayor Hardwick stated he will not make any comment on the agenda items.

Mr. Kennon stated we need ground rules on agenda items and they do not require action or comment adding that the Council is receiving information at this time.

Mr. Griffin stated that all the agenda items will be citizen complaints at the next meeting.

– Mr. Griffin stated that this agenda item is to discuss how the town is avoiding the strict language of Times re the thought process of public officers.

Councilman McKenzie stated duly noted Mr. Griffin’s opinion and requested the Council move on to pressing business of the Town of White Springs.

Mr. Griffin stated that all agenda items will be citizen’s complaints at the next meeting.

Mayor McKire requested the Clerk to note the time spent on Mr. Griffin’s complaints and agenda items.

Clerk noted one hour and forty-five minutes.

Dear Council Member

Provided for your consideration is a copy of a citizen complaint from Joe Griffin, and my response.  Again Mr. Griffin is not using the proper form.  I have responded to the complaint and sent my response to Mr. Griffin.  The Council has the option of no action on my response, change my response with modifications or deny my response.

Mr. Griffin,

The complaint filed with the town dated October 14, 2008 appears to be of a legal nature against the Town Council.  Therefore this is not a proper venue for this type of complaint.  I will take no further action on this complaint

Robert Townsend

Mayor McKire stated the items listed on the agenda application are references to the current law suit against the town by Mr. Griffin.  Mayor McKire asked Mr. Griffin if he had withdrawn the suit against the Town and Mr. Griffin stated he had not.  Mayor McKire informed Mr. Griffin that this should be handled between the town’s attorney and your attorney.


Mr. Griffin thanked the Mayor for violating the Sunshine Law.

Mayor McKire inquired to Attorney Koberline if he was correct in that this is for the attorneys to handle and Mr. Koberline stated Mr. Griffin could speak his 5 minutes.  Mr. Griffin then read each of the 10 questions and stated that the council will see these questions, at deposition and at trial and he appreciated them violating the Sunshine Law.

Mr. Kennon stated that he passed out correspondence from Mr. Griffin at the last meeting from Mr. Griffin.  Mr. Griffin has filed a 5th amended complaint against the Town.  Mr. Kennon is in the process of preparing an appropriate response pleading to that complaint, motion to dismiss.  Mr Griffin is claiming that if the Council will hold a two hour meeting and answer each and every question he has, he will drop the lawsuit.

Councilman McKenzie stated that he has never participated in secret meetings or conspired out of the Sunshine and he does not wish to participate in such a meeting.

Mr. Kennon began speaking and Mr. Griffin interrupted him and Mr. Kennon informed Mr. Griffin that he had the floor and that Mr. Griffin should act like a gentlemen.  Heated discussion followed and Mayor McKire called point of order and instruction Mr. Griffin if he wished to sit and listen he could or he would ask him to leave the meeting.

Mr. Kennon continued stating that Mr. Griffin contends that Mr. Townsend and I are ex-officials of the town.  Mr. Griffin pulls language out of different legal cases and members of the town council and anything we talk about is subject to the Sunshine Law.  For the record Mr. Kennon stated, he did not agree with that whatsoever.  The second part of the lawsuit focus is that the council has not chosen to answer each and every one of his questions and he is contending that is a requirement of officials.  It is Mr. Kennon’s opinion that he has found no legal authority that says it is a requirement of Sunshine Law that the Council has to answer questions Mr. Kennon stated that in public meetings you have to give reasonable chance for participation and that is done many different ways.  Our meetings are very open in that we discuss each topic; the Mayor lets citizens talk about each topic.  Some municipalities do it different in that you speak from the floor and when your time is up that’s it.  Every municipality and county does it different.

Mr. Kennon went on to state that he found no legal authority that town council has to answer questions from a citizen and maybe the judge will answer this for us if he hears the case The council is required to vote unless legal reason to abstain.  Sunshine law doesn’t state that you have to talk.  You can sit as elected officials and never say a word other than to vote on an issue.  My advice is we continue to with motion to dismiss the lawsuit and the court will decide.

Councilman McKenzie stated he appreciated the attorney’s interpretation and continued to state that he had nothing to hide and Mr. Griffin’s questions are framed as an ambush and Mr. McKenzie stated he was tired of wasting his time.

Mr. Griffin repeated “Thank you, Thank You, you finally discussed this tonight after nine years and the Sunshine Law is more than two things.  It is a 150 page book.  You have taken Mr. Kennon’s word about the Sunshine Law and it is more than just two things.

Mr. Kennon stated for the record he did not say the Sunshine Law was only about two things but that the lawsuit is about two things.  The problem with Mr. Griffin is what you say gets turned around and comes back at a whole different angle.  Mr. Griffin tried to interrupt Mr. Kennon by stating he had the floor.  Mayor McKire stated he did not have the floor.  You took the floor and we have rules that we follow and you don’t like to follow the rules, but I insist on you following the rules tonight.

Mayor McKire asked if there was a motion when we could have discussion.  Council was silent.

Mr. Kennon stated that no action from the council will mean denial of Mr. Griffin’s offer and if the Council has no objection he will continue with motion to dismiss.

Consensus of Council for Mr. Kennon to proceed with motion to dismiss.

Mayor McKire inquired about the agenda request that was illegible.  Also discussion about two agenda items with the same title of Ice House Knowledge.

Mr. Kennon gave a brief analysis of resolution 08-08.

Motion made by Councilman McKenzie and seconded by Vice Mayor Hardwick that agenda items both titled ice House knowledge and agenda item titled “Why the Town won’t Answer Questions” do not place on this agenda or any future agenda.


Joe Griffin stated this is the biggest Christmas gift you can give me to deny my right to address my government.  You have valid agenda items and what is public purpose for not answering questions.


Mr. Kennon stated Mr. Griffin had five minutes from the floor and he chose not to address the issues at that time and now he has opportunity to address and he does not wish to.

Mayor McKire stated he also has time now to debate portion of the motion

Councilman McKenzie stated that his reasons for not putting the items on the agenda is that there is nothing to be gained and we have wasted thousands of dollars.

Mr. Griffin tried to interrupt.

Mayor McKire stated he did not recall presiding over meeting with topic of Ice House.  Councilman McKenzie stated that went before the Planning and Zoning Board.

Mr. Woodard informed the Mayor that it was decided about the Ice House and these two people, pointing to Tom Moore and Dennis Price, are criminals and that they were his jury, judge and executioner and Mr. Townsend went directly against the charter and LDR.   Mr. Woodard went on to state that he sent the minutes to DCA and they laughed and Mr. Townsend has been called three times from DCA. Mr. Townsend stated he had received one phone call.

Mayor McKire call point of order and stated that we have a procedure to follow and we will stick to that procedure.


Joe Griffin asked for a roll call vote.  Voting for the motion was Mayor McKire, Vice Mayor Hardwick, Councilman McKenzie and Councilman McNeal.

Motion made by Councilman McKenzie and seconded by Councilperson Brown that we do not include r. Griffin’s agenda item request on the agenda.

Mr. Griffin asked what the public purpose for not answering questions is.

Councilman McKenzie stated it is a valid and legal objection of refusing an agenda item.

Mr. Griffin continued questioning the Council and Mayor McKire stated that the Council has disposed of the item.   5/0

Mr. Griffin made several comments referring to money in his pocket.

Mayor McKire stated this is how we conduct business and a motion was made and passed and you are  out of order . Mr. Griffin stated he hoped that you all have some money and left the meeting.


Dear Council Member,

Provided for your consideration are the Agenda request from Mr. Griffin and the town’s response.  Mr. Griffin has been notified of the decision not to place this item on the agenda.

Provided for your review is a copy of an agenda application dated April 25, 2009 from Mr. Griffin and my response I have notified Mr. Griffin in the decision not to place this request on the agenda for the May 19, 2009 regular monthly meeting.

Mr. Griffin,

I have reviewed your agenda application dated April 25, 2009 and make the following response.  This request appears to be identical in nature to the April 8, 2009 agenda request.  Therefore I am notifying you that this requested agenda item will not be placed on the May 19, 2009 regular monthly meeting, but will be discussed by the Town Council at the May 19, 2009 regular monthly meeting and the Town Council could decide to address the agenda item at the next regular monthly meeting.

Mayor McKire asked Mr. Griffin about his agenda request item.  Mr. Griffin asked if anybody wanted to talk about the lawsuits.

Councilman McNeal suggested the council give Mr. Griffin five minutes

Mr. Griffin informed the council that they are violating the Sunshine Law by not voting on spending public funds to defend themselves on the lawsuit that is on the agenda to get an attorney for Shirley’s lawsuit.

Mr. Kennon stated that the lawsuit against the council is that the council does not answer questions.  Mr. Kennon added that a motion to dismiss the lawsuit will be heard Monday. 

CONSIDER AGENDA REQUEST C.E. (WOODY) WOODARD – Regarding impact fees  $5000 on new construction

Joe Griffin stated that as a member of the committee I want it taken off the books.

Woody Woodard again stated that the people want it to go away.

Councilman McKenzie stated that we get accused of not listening to the people, but the people don’t show up for the meeting.

Joe Griffin stated that the people have spoken.

Mayor McKire replied that “you are not talking for the entire people of the town”.


Mr. Townsend stated rumors were being passed around town that we had a surprise inspection of the water plant and we failed raw water.  We had a regular scheduled inspection of the wastewater plant.  Mr. Griffin ran into the inspector at the store The documents are not public records until after thirty days.  Every month I test the water and have not missed or failed since we built the new water system I received a fax from Mr. Griffin wanting every document concerning the plants.  Mrs.
Stephanie Horne Estep had also called DEP stating that there was sa serious problem at the wastewater plant and we were violating the law.  Mr. Townsend stated that misinformation to the public is a dangerous problem when it comes to the citizen’s drinking water.  Mayor McKire informed the council that if there were serious problems he would receive certified mail informing him of the problem.
  Mr. Townsend added that we have a good rapport with DEP and we will continue to do a good job.

Mr. Griffin stated that the attorney is billing the town for 119 requests and asked the council if this was their wish.

Mr. Kennon stated that when he is asked to respond to a 119 request I do so and I charge $85.00 hour which is my contract rate.

Mr. Griffin stated he didn’t understand Mr. Kennon’s answer and Mr. Kennon repeated that when he is asked to respond to a 119 request, I do so and I charge $85.00 hour which is my contract rate.

Mr. Kennon stated that the new lawsuit 09317 is Joe Griffin against the Town Council and himself.  It states that he has falsified public documents; it references 2003 lawsuit and Attorney Tunsil.  The town has not been served but Mr. Kennon was served August 21, 2009.  Mr. Kennon filed for a motion to dismiss.  Mr. Griffin now has filed an amended complaint.

  1. Consider Agenda request from Joe Griffin: Robert Townsend requested the council review and consider letter responding October 14, 2009 to agenda request dated 9/23/09, 9/29/9, 10/10/09 and 10/11/09.  Also are letters by town requesting Mr. Griffin resubmit them on required forms.  Walter McKenzie stated he has reviewed and they were answered very well.  He felt no other action needed.
  2. Griffin:
  3. The Town has received the following request from you by fax.
  4. September 23, 2009, To Discuss Why the Town is not enforcing MO 98-01 equally on all citizens.
  5. September 29, 2009, To discuss possibly saving the Town some money.
  6. October 10, 2009, Citizen wants to discuss lawsuit 2009-CA-000xxx before it is filed in an effort to keep such suit from being filed.
  7. October 11, 2009, Why the Town has policies in force that it has no validation of.
  8. In response to your letter dated July 15, 2009 from my office, I stated that your Agenda Requests were not submitted on the required Town Agenda Request Form. I also included the Town Form for your use and stated that in the future that all Agenda Requests must be submitted on the required form or your request would be returned.
  9. Therefore, I am returning your faxes and informing you the request will not be on the October 20, 2009 Town Council Agenda. I am also including with this letter several Agenda Request Forms from the Town and a copy of Resolution 08-08 “A Resolution Establishing the Procedure for Third Parties to Address the Town Council of the Town of White Springs, Florida”.  If you have any questions, please contact me at town hall.

Joe Griffin

Seven Policies that by prior correspondence are

Not verifiable or un-codified.  These policies are:

Not Enforcing MO 98-01 on all citizens equally

Shirley Heath’s Reply No Such Record


Town Council members staying quiet when asked a question

by a citizen.

Shirley Heath’s Reply No Such Record


Having private conversations between members of the

Fictionalized executive branch of local government and

The Town Council

Shirley Heath’s Reply No Such Record


Providing governmentally funded attorneys to defend

Municipal officers in 119, 286, 839.13 and 112.313

Shirley Heath’s Reply No Such Record


Charging more than the law allows to get public documents.

Shirley Heath’s Reply No Such Record



Delay in production of public documents past what is

Reasonable or limited

Shirley Heath’s Reply No Such Record


Failure to abide by Case Law, specifically Times v Williams

222 So. 2d 470 disapproved in part on other grounds,

Neu v Miami Herald 462 So 2d 721 (Fla 1985)

Shirley Heath’s Reply No Such Record




Mayor Miller asked the attorney if he had any comments on this request.  Mr. Koberlein stated that the request is a summary of lawsuitMr. Koberlein informed everyone that he no longer speaks to Mr. Griffin due to comments he has made about himself and Mr. McKire.  Mr. Griffin can compel to circuit judge on pending lawsuit.

No comments from Council.

Mayor Miller instructed Mr. Griffin that he has five minutes.  Mr. Griffin stated that there are three lawsuits.

  1. Lying on court documents
  2. Against Mayor McKire in reference to nine policies of the town that have never been voted on
  3. Against Mr. Koberlein for failure to produce documents under F.S. 119.

Mayor Miller stated that she will be meeting with the attorney to get the historical facts and background about the lawsuits.  Mr. Griffin threatened an Ethics violation complaint.

Mr. Koberlein presented Mr. Griffin with the Judge’s order to deny suit against him.  After a Moment, Mr. Griffin stated he would go to Tallahassee.

Mr. Griffin quoted FS 288.011(7) unauthorized compensation and he would like a vote of the council.  Mayor Miller stated the Council has already voted on this issue.

Mr. Griffin again threatened an ethics violation complaint



Mr. Koberlein informed the Council a motion to dismiss and compel will be June 4th on the McKire case and Mr. Koberlein will also proceed to collect past due funds that were from dismissed lawsuits and will file sanctions in Mr. Griffin for filing frivolous lawsuits

  1. The Ethics Complaint filed by Joe Griffin against Mayor McKire has been dismissed. Koberlein added that after reviewing the bills and speaking with his fellow colleagues in the firm, Mr. McKire, nor any other town official, has ever received personal legal services from this firm and had the Town of White Springs pay for such service.
  2. Griffin filed against former Town attorneys and the Town; there has not been any activity on this lawsuit
  3. Koberlein filed a motion to dismiss the new suit filed against Mr. McKire and was set for hearing but Mr. Griffin filed to have it postponed and it will come up in August.
  4. I had informed you in the past that when the above mentioned suit goes before the judge that he will also pursue former judgments against Mr. Griffin and that will also be put off until the suit is back up in order to save the town money.
  5. Koberlein reported that he had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against former Mayor McKJire and it will go before the Judge August 25th. Mr. Griffin has admitted that he lied when he answered the interrogators.

     (Joe did not make such an admission nor did he lie.  He has requested a 119 showing where he lied)

  6. Koberlein stated he was still pursuing collection of past court awards adding that he has received Mr. Griffin’s tax returns and bank statement for the last three years.


  1. Koberlein also reported that Mr. Griffin has filed an Ethics Complaint against former Mayor McKire and he suggested that the town allow it to go through the first step and if goes past that point then it will be brought up at a council meeting as everyone has a right to council representation.
  2. Griffin has filed for appeal on the case filed against Mr. Koberlein and Mr. Koberlein stated there was no legal basis for the appeal.


  1. Kennon reported that Mr. Griffin agreed to cancel the show cause hearing. Mr. Griffin was given 10 days to pay the Town $327.50 that was due for legal expense from a 2006 lawsuit.  Mr. Griffin submitted a check in the amount of $240 and a letter stating that the Town could combine the $100.00 he previously paid for copies he has not received for the total amount.  Mr. Kennon asked the Council if they wanted to accept Mr. Griffin’s offer or proceed to collect the difference of $87.50.
  2. Vice Mayor McKenzie stated that the town has been more than fair with Mr. Griffin and moved that the town accept the check #2030 in the amount of $240.00 to be combined with the previously paid money. 5/0


  1. Koberlein reported that there is one case from 2008 still pending with no activity. Mr.Koberlein stated that if a case has no activity within a 12 month period you can file for dismissal and that is what he plans to do unless the Council directs him otherwise.  JOE WAS IN THE HOSPITAL FOR 11.5 MONTHS FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE WHEN HE TOOK A FALL OFF A TANKER TRUCK. TOWNSEND HAD CONTACTED HIS FORMER TRUCKING EMPLOYER AND HAD GRIFFIN FIRED.  AS A RESULT GRIFFIN TOOK THE NEXT AVAILABLE JOB WHICH WAS OPERATING A TANKER TRUCK.



  1. Court date scheduled for January for attorney fees and cost on the Griffin vs McKire case. Koberlein will contact Mr. Griffin and ask him what he thinks will be reasonable cost and go from there.

Mr. Koberlein reported the next court date will be January 26, 2011 for attorney fees and court cost.  Mr. Koberlein will contact Mr. Griffin to see if he will settle on a certain amount before the next meeting.  If Mr. Griffin does not settle on the amount, the Council will need to authorize someone to settle on the amount before the 26th

Mr. Koberlein reported the e-mail to Mr. Griffin did not go out until today.  The court date is January 26th and he suggested that the town not wait past January 21st for a settlement with Mr. Griffin.  It was consensus of Council that the Mayor and Manager communicate with Mr. Griffin on the settlement.  Mr. Koberlein will assist with the amount

Mr. Koberlein reported the hearing with Mr. Griffin will be April 27th for attorney fees and cost.  Mr. Griffin will not settle out of court because he does not believe he should pay since he has agreed not to sue the town again and he thinks the attorney fees are too high.

Mr. Koberlein reported the judge awarded the Town attorney fees and costs in the amount of just over $13,000.  The judge did require that I take out less than $200 for public records.  Mr. Koberlein informed everyone that he does not keep the public records that are Mrs. Heat’s obligation.

Fred Koberlein stated one lawsuit pending (Griffin vs McKire) Judge has ordered payment of approximately $14,000 but has been reduced over $800.  If Joe Griffin does not agree to this amount by next Friday, they will go back to court.

Fred Koberlein advised that Joe Griffin cannot file a lawsuit without an attorney.  Koberlein stated that the town did not have to participate in mediation which would be via e-mail.

Motion made Walter McKenzie and seconded by Tonja Brown to not consider mediation 4/0

Mr. Koberlein reported since Mr. Griffin will not cooperate, the Judge has ordered a case management conference July 15, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. to decide the exact amount Mr. Griffin must pay.

Mr. Kennon reported in absence of Mr. Koberlein Griffin discovery responses were received and he will take appropriate action

Mr. Koberlein stated Mr. Griffin still owes the town a little over $1,000 and he will continue collection efforts.  Mr. Griffin petitioned the court to combine two outstanding cases.  Mr. Koberlein suggested that we just wait to hear from the court on this issue.

Mr. Koberlein reported Mr. Griffin has filed 2 new pleadings.  The 2009 case has been inactive for over 10 months and the clerk of court has requested a dismissal.  Court date scheduled February 8th 2:00 p.m. on this issue.

2010 case is stagnant and we will just wait and see if there is any activity.

The town has collected $14,081.23 from Mr. Griffin.

Mr. Koberlein reported he attended a case management conference and Mr. Griffin was reminded he must have a member of good standing with the Florida Bar Association if he wishes to sue the town.

Mr. Koberlein updated the Council on the 2010 McKire case reporting that Mr. Griffin had paid the town $14,081.23  there has been interest accrued in the amount of $400 which must paid before we can release a lien on his property


 BY THE TOWN WITHOUT NOTIFICATION TO A COLLECTION AGENCY, FOR WHICH THE JUDGMENT WAS PAID IN AN ATTEMPT FOR THE LENDER TO NOT GIVE US THE LOW INTEREST MORTGAGE.  The town kept all liens even though they were settled including this one and had we not had a diligent lender we would not have known the Town kept all these liens on our property. 

Attorney Koberline reported the last lawsuit was dismissed due to lack of activity and we have no pending lawsuits






















You don’t have to be a citizen to secure a 119

Comment from a Loyal Reader who does business in Live Oak.

While true, this statement is incomplete and might be misconstrued by the omission of missing additional fact-

Florida Statute 119 is Florida’s Public Records Law. It allows any citizen to get access to any public document he or she desires to get access to.”

You don’t have to be a citizen !