WHITE-COLLAR CRIME

Former state lawmaker arrested in bribery case

 

The News Service of Florida

After a year-long investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, former state Rep. Mitch Needelman, R-Melbourne, was arrested Thursday on charges of bribery and bid tampering, the FDLE announced.

The charges stem from a document-scanning contract that Needelman signed with BlueWare, Inc., while he served as Brevard County clerk of courts, the FDLE said in a statement. Needelman is alleged to have entered the multimillion-dollar contract with the understanding that part of the money would be diverted back to Needelman's 2012 re-election campaign for clerk.

The FDLE said an investigation found that money was funneled back to the campaign through a lobbyist, William Matthew Dupree, who also has been charged. Needelman, who lost the 2012 campaign, was arrested Thursday at his home. An arrest warrant also was issued for BlueWare Chief Executive Officer Rose Harr, according to the FDLE.

BlueWare, an information technology company, moved last year from Michigan to Brevard County after being awarded a potential $1.21 million in incentives from Florida's Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund and Quick Action Closing Fund programs. The company has not received the incentive money, Sean Helton, a spokesman for Enterprise Florida, said Thursday.

In May 2012, Gov. Rick Scott issued a lengthy news release hailing BlueWare's move, saying the company would create 190 jobs over four years.

"BlueWare’s choice to move to Florida is a testament to the strength of our business climate and the result of a common vision for economic growth by local, regional, business and government partners," Scott said in news release at the time. "Today’s announcement is a great win for the Space Coast, as well as for the entire state.”

Needelman, 60, a former Florida Marine Patrol officer, served in the House from 2000 to 2008 and was heavily involved in criminal-justice issues, including serving a stint as chairman of the Juvenile Justice Committee.

Read more Florida stories from the Miami Herald

  • Redistricting

    Judge throws out Florida's congressional map

    A judge threw out Florida’s congressional redistricting map Thursday, ruling that the Legislature allowed for a “secret, organized campaign” by partisan operatives to subvert the redistricting process in violation of the state Constitution.

  •  
FILE--Florida Gov. Rick Scott is shown Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, in Opa-locka, Fla.

    Politics

    Union: Scott coerced cops to appear at campaign event

    A police union official filed a complaint Thursday with the Florida Elections Commission, accusing Gov. Rick Scott of illegally coercing on-duty police officers to attend a campaign event in Tampa on Monday.

  • Politics

    Crist speaks to Florida press group in Miami

    The former governor attacked Gov. Rick Scott’s tenure on everything from education to missed opportunities to tap federal money.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category