LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Commissioner Brian Bigelow Tuesday released 50 pages of e-mails involving Don DeBerry, a former top official at the Dept. of Transportation. DeBerry says he did nothing wrong in trying to connect a jobs recruiter with colleagues who needed work.
"I see nothing wrong in that, I was trying to help people whom I knew were good employees. Maybe they wanted a promotion, some had been laid off. I put their names in front of the head-hunter," DeBerry told WINK News.
Bigelow released the e-mails at the commission meeting, and asked the county administration and clerk's office to look into them. They cover a period from 2007 through 2009. DeBerry left his $106,000 a year job with Lee Co., a few weeks ago.
Bigelow told his colleagues: "This shows that my concerns about the county's contracting practices are well-founded." He also released a statement, questioning the relationships between top county bureaucrats, and companies that might want to do work for Lee.
The documents show that recruiter Bill Howard of Tampa was willing to split his finder's fee with DeBerry, if Howard placed someone in a job. DeBerry says, he would have asked his supervisor if that was okay, before taking any money. It never became an issue, because Howard never got a job for one of DeBerry's recommended people.
DeBerry told WINK: "It's almost like Bigelow has a vendetta for me, he has a thing about me and has had it for a couple of years. I don't know why. I have done nothing wrong, except try to help people who needed a job or a better place to work."
Bigelow is locked in a Republican Primary fight for his commission seat. He faces several opponents in the Aug. 24th primary. Fellow Commissioner Ray Judah already has endorsed one of Bigelow's opponents.
It's not known how long it will take for county adminstrators and the clerk's office, to look into the Bigelow documents, and make a finding.