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CRC: Half of Coup Duo Gone: Pulling Documents Out of Air Nothing New for Commissioner DuPree

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CRC (Charter Review Commission) news linksCOLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – With the Charter Review Commission (CRC) off the rails and Commissioner Jody DuPree not happy with County Attorney Joel Foreman, the commissioner reverted to old form of pulling papers out of the air.

In 2011, then County Commissioner DuPree did his first "pull it out of the air" routine when he took offense at having a story appear with photos of his code violating fenceless backyard pool during pool safety month. (See: County Commissioner DuPree's Pool a backyard death trap)

He called your reporter all sorts of names and had his attorney send a cease and desist letter to stop the reporting about his pool violation. The reporting didn't stop.

He accused Barbara Lemley, who contributed to the story, of all sorts of unproven things. Then, after another of his famous long winded pontifications at the County 5, he told your reporter and Ms. Lemley not to expect "any favors" from him.

Your reporter made a public record request for the document that Mr. DuPree referenced during his rant. He ignored the request.

Not Much Has Changed

As the April 23 CRC meeting got under way, it was clear CRC Chairman Robert "Rambo" Lane wanted to oust County Attorney Joel Foreman from his role as CRC lead attorney.

After Chairman Lane read a laundry list of reasons for his illegal decision to remove Attorney Foreman, Commissioner DuPree began another one of his pontifications, the likes of which marked his 4 years of troublesome county commissionership.

Speaking in support of Chairman Lane, Commissioner DuPree began by showing he was clueless when it came to an attorney declaring a conflict and then continued [as spoken]:

"Mr. Foreman don't get to decide if he conflicts out or not. He can't be fired by the CRC. He wasn't hired by the CRC. He was inappropriately assigned to the CRC to begin with... Moving forward, none of us know what this is. We don't know what we got to do, but we know we got to do somethin'... We have many issues in the operations committee that have not made it to the CRC... Our main goal was that we could have as much transparency as possible movin' forward...

He [Mr. Foreman] has a contract with the County Commission which tags over to everybody else.

Movin' forward with these meetins'... We are gonna' have two attorneys doin' two different things.

Over the past six or eight weeks we've all seen where all of our civil liberties in large part, our constitutional rights... been eroded away to the point I can't get a haircut, can't go to dinner, can't go to the doctor, I can't do none of that. We got staff with the County is doin' everything in their power to derail the CRC: goin' to the commissioners; goin' to people in the public; goin' to CRC members homes with stuff tryin' to recolate the process of the CRC. Their interests ain't the interests of the people. They are just maintainin' their own status quo.

This body of people is an extension of the people of Columbia County -- all people. We have the duty and responsibility to mandate, and mandate, to evaluate the functions of this government and report them communications through a recommendation to the citizens of Columbia County, ensuring them the right, them the right, to decide how their charter and county constitution will be penned...

We owe it to the people and are required to uphold our constitutional responsibility to the charter...

We must complete the work. We can't take the right of the people to decide on how the government's gonna' work away from em' like everything else is been taken away from em'.

If what the hang up is gonna' be is over who attorney's schedules the damn meetin', then I'm not certain that we're representin' the people of Columbia County very well."

Commissioner DuPree then made a motion to uphold Chairman Lane's move to remove Attorney Foreman.

CRC Commissioner Stephen Douglas seconded the motion.

What happened and how the CRC got to where it was is here:
CRC Chairman Robert "Rambo" Lane's Coup Fails: CRC Attorney Foreman Stays

In other parts of the universe the story may have ended there, but this is Columbia County.

Let's Refresh

Chairman Lane removes Attorney Foreman on April 3 in favor of NGN's Lynn Hoshihara; on April 6, Ms. Hoshihara contacts Mr. Foreman, but doesn't tell him he is removed; on April 7, Mr. Lane gets around to informing Mr. Foreman he is gone; Mr. Foreman doesn't object and on April 15 sends the CRC his "Final Invoice;" on April 21, Mr. Foreman has an epiphany and sends an email to Chairman Lane telling him he doesn't have the authority to remove him; April 23 the CRC meets and rolls back Lane's illegal actions.

Commissioner DuPree Types a Resignation Letter

DuPree resignation letterOn April 27, at 11:56 am, 4 days after the attempted "Lane-DuPree Coup," Mr. DuPree sends an email to County 5 Chairman Toby Witt and CRC Chairman Lane. The subject line reads: Resignation CRC.

Click the letter to enlarge.

It is dated "4-21-2020." In relevant part, Mr. DuPree wrote:

 "Unfortunately...my Business responsibilities have expanded to a level that will not allow me to perform the work of the CRC at the Level I believe is required to represent the Citizens of Columbia County... Therefore, I am resigning my position on the CRC effective upon receipt."

Clearly, if the letter was written when Mr. DuPree said it was and he couldn't perform his duties, all he had to do was email it on April 21, but he didn't. He also could have called Commissioner Witt and/or Lane and told them he was resigning and was emailing his resignation letter. It is not known if he did and was just holding out to see the result of the coup.

Instead, Mr. DuPree attended the CRC meeting on the 23rd. It is not clear what else he did and considering his relationship with NGN's Hoshihara, it is possible he was in communication with her during his unannounced resignation time.

Ms. Hoshihara's invoice should show how many conversations, if any, she had with Mr. DuPree between the time he resigned on the 21st and the time he sent his resignation (April 27, 2020 11:56 am) letter to Messer's Witt and Lane.

Data deep inside Mr. Dupree's resignation letter shows that he created the pdf version of the letter on the morning of April 27 before he emailed it to Messer's Witt and Lane.


Both Chairman Lane and Commissioner DuPree have refused to turn over documents after lawful public record requests. (see update below)

Columbia County, Florida: the legend continues.


*Update: On May 2, Mr. DuPree provided the requested documents; typos in the article were also repaired.

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