Minten's Settlement With Weber Costs Taxpayers $175,000; Third Lawsuit Filed Against Weber!
Friends of Osceola County Taxpayers Association;
Osceola County Sheriff Doug Weber's violation of Deputy Sheriff Dan Minten's Constitutional liberty resulted in a $270,000 cash settlement, $95,000 of which was paid for by the county's insurance company. The remaining $175,000 was paid for by the taxpayers of Osceola County. We don't know yet what the increase in the insurance premium will be, due to this claim. See the legal settlement here.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett's (12/22/2011) ruling, found here, found Weber to be "...a serial, recidivist, First Amendment violator...". (p. 30) [All bold face added by OCTA]
More so, Federal Judge Bennett found Deputy Sheriff Minten to be "...volunteering to testify as a fact witness in an effort to combat police misconduct at the highest level, the sheriff himself..." (p.24)
Along the way not one other deputy sheriff stood up and defended their colleague Dan Minten. But even more fearful, in additional to County Attorney Bob Hansen being willing to testify on behalf of Doug Weber's violation of Deputy Sheriff Minten's Constitutional liberty, the following deputies were listed by the county's legal counsel as those willing to testify against Minten as well: Scott Gries, Seth Hoffman, and Chief Deputy Kevin Wollmuth. We're hopeful they won't get so vindictive but with Minten now back to work as part of his settlement, how safe will he be with these men “having his backside” in any dangerous situations?
Wollmuth went so far as to testify under oath in his Sept. 7, 2011, deposition that he agreed with Weber; that Minten's resistance to Weber's ‘police misconduct’, itself, was "insubordination". (p. 58 of file, p. 10 of transcript) Clearly Sheriff Weber has taught Wollmuth well, demonstrating their willful desire to violate their oaths of office which require them to defend the Constitution. Showing themselves to be so willing and also ignorant, they then make for an easy mark to accept the poor legal counsel they are receiving.
A third lawsuit has been filed by Virgil Van Stelton, Sibley, against Sheriff Weber, et al. Reports from the courthouse indicate the county filed a motion to get U.S. District Judge Bennett to recuse himself. ("Recuse" means to have the judge disqualified from judging the matter.) The report we heard back was that Judge Bennett denied their motion. This apparently means Judge Bennett wants to hear this third case against Sheriff Weber, too.
Meanwhile, the Osceola County Compensation Board, chaired by attorney Harold Dawson, continues to recommend generous pay raises for Weber. And the Public Safety Commission and the majority of the Supervisors vote for massive budget increases for the Sheriff's department.
Do we have to wait for a Federal Judge to clean up our county or will the taxpayers stand up and root out this abuse of power and the spreading spending cancer in Osceola County?
Note: The OCTA extends our condolences to Jim & Jay Grave and family, for the loss of Eileen. OCTA members always found her to be cheerful, helpful and efficient whenever we needed assistance in the Clerk of Court's office. She will be missed in the Osceola County Courthouse.