FDLE arrests former Brevard clerk of court and local lobbyist
Warrant issued for BlueWare CEO
For Immediate Release
August 15, 2013
– Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Office of
Executive Investigations, arrested former State Representative Mitch
Needelman, 60, and his one-time business partner, lobbyist William
Matthew Dupree, 47. The two were charged with bid tampering and bribery
related to the BlueWare scanning contract signed by Needelman when he
was the Brevard County Clerk of the Court. Needelman is also charged
with official misconduct for allegedly directing employees to use
private email accounts to circumvent public records laws.
addition to Needelman and Dupree, an arrest warrant has been issued for
BlueWare CEO Rose Harr, 55, also on bid tampering and bribery charges.
investigation began in July 2012 when FDLE received information
alleging Needelman approved Brevard County Clerk of Court contracts with
BlueWare in exchange for personal financial gain for himself and
Dupree. The investigation focused on a multi-million dollar scanning
contract for digitization of Brevard County records even though, at the
time, BlueWare had no equipment to scan the documents.
The investigation revealed that Dupree introduced Needelman to BlueWare CEO Harr and COO Nick Geaney in January 2012.
March 2012, Needelman and Dupree met with Geaney at Needelman’s
residence and allegedly told him Brevard County would enter into the
scanning contract with BlueWare if a portion of the money paid to
BlueWare would be diverted back to Dupree for Needelman’s 2012
reelection campaign. The investigation shows that a portion of the
BlueWare payments was funneled back to Dupree for Needelman’s 2012
April 2012, BlueWare assisted in drafting the invitation to negotiate
(ITN) for Brevard County Clerk of Court for the scanning contract and
subsequently responded to the ITN. The ITN was posted on May 4, 2012,
and records indicate questions from other bidders were sent to a county
employee’s personal email account and then forwarded to Harr and Geaney
to write responses. The responses were then emailed back to the bidders
using the county email system. On May 23, 2012, a payment of $500,000
was wired to BlueWare even though the contract had not been signed. The
actual contract was signed June 29, 2012, and on that day, the first
monthly payment of $90,000 was sent to BlueWare.
August 2012, Needelman lost his bid for reelection for Brevard County
Clerk of Court. Before leaving office, in October 2012, Needelman
entered into a loan with Hewlett-Packard Financial Services for $5.6
million dollars. Information obtained indicated that BlueWare received
the loan money although Brevard County was obligated to repay the loan.
was arrested at his home this morning, 2317 South Bignonia Street,
Melbourne, Fla.; Dupree was arrested at his office, 2012 West Drive,
Melbourne, Fla. Each was booked into the Brevard County Jail on bonds
investigation shows Needelman, Dupree and Harr swindled Brevard County
taxpayers out of millions of dollars,” said Florida Department of Law
Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “Although not the final
chapter, today’s arrests should present a degree of satisfaction to
Brevard County taxpayers.”
County State Attorney Phil Archer’s office will prosecute the case.
State Attorney Archer said his office assisted FDLE throughout the probe
by subpoenaing records and data crucial to the case.
partnership allows professionals to do the job they are trained to do,
free from any outside alliances or influences. It benefits both agencies
by allowing prosecutors to attack white collar crime in the courtroom
with the facts the law enforcement experts have pursued and
established,” Archer said.
For Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Linda McDonald or Steve Arthur
FDLE Office of Public Information