Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news from Florida for working families since 2007

Lake Shore Hosp Authority

LSHA's Berry Says "Guardian Angel" Posted Ad on Craigslist – Impersonated Hospital Authority

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Governor Rick Scott's Lake Shore Hospital Authority is in the news again. During last week's Lake Shore Hospital Authority meeting, Authority Manager, Jack Berry, pulled off the agenda an item to approve the Authority's website redesign. He told the Governor's Board, "It seems that one of my guardian angels that don't think I know how to do my job posted a ad on Craigslist for a web designer and I got a whole pile of emails in regards to it."

Manager Berry continued, "We're pretty sure we know who did it. I turned it over to law enforcement and they're tracing the IP address it came from. Tryin' to get some evidence on it -- and uh we have pulled it off, but -- cause -- about a whole day of my time to get it done."

One item posted on Craigslist had a quote from the LSHA minutes.        Click to enlarge

Mr. Berry, the $109,000 a year Manager of the Hospital Authority, refused to respond to an email which asked what law enforcement agency was investigating. Mr. Berry, with the approval of the Gov. Scott appointed LSHA Board, does not answer questions.

Both the State Attorney's Office and the Sheriff's Office told the Observer that they had no records of any investigation by their agencies. It was reported to the Observer that FDLE had searched its data base and found nothing regarding this purported incident.

Berry Goes to the LCPD – First Amendment Foundation says Berry should have made copies.

The Lake City Police Department police incident report states that the investigation is "non criminal." It also states that no evidence was turned over.

The report also gives the address of the occurrence as 225 NW Main Blvd, which is the LCPD HQ.

Mr. Berry's response to a record request by the Observer stated, "In response to your public records request, I have turned all material concerning this matter over to Law Enforcement Agency."

According to the law and Barbara Peterson of the First Amendment Foundation, Mr. Berry was required to keep copies of the information that he purportedly gave to the LCPD.

Manager Berry Continued

During the December 8 Authority meeting Manager Berry asked the Board, "I need to know from the Board if law enforcement feels there is a violation of the law, does this Board want to prosecute the individual involved?"

Board member Janet Creel asked, "Did they represent us?"

Another item posted on Craigslist directed folks to the Authority website. Mr. Berry's email is not there.                Click to enlarge

Mr. Berry answered, "Yes they did."

Ms. Creel followed up, "They represented that they were representing us?"

Mr. Berry replied, "Lake Shore -- They used the name Lake Shore Hospital Authority."

Ms. Creel questioned, "Is that representing us?"

It is not clear if Manager Berry gave copies of the purported Craigslist advertisement(s) to the Board.

Mr. Berry told Ms. Creel, "If you place an ad in that name I would say it is representing us -- without approval."

Ms. Creel kept questioning, "Did they ask to be answered or ask them to call or answer you?"

Manager Berry's email address is clearly not in the Craigslist post.

Mr. Berry said, "They referred to it to our website with my email address. And I can assure you no one -- none of our staff (Board member Murphy cut Mr. Berry off)

Mr. Murphy asked, "Went on what?"

Board member Marc Vann asked Authority Attorney Marlin Feagle for an opinion.

Mr. Feagle told the Board, "I would let law enforcement take a look at it and it sounds like that's started. Somebody would have to look at it and see what the actual application of the ad said. If there was a misrepresentation that they were doing that on behalf of Lake Shore Hospital Authority then it probably would be a violation of law, but we need to know exactly what it said."

After some brief conversation, Mr. Berry told the Board, "It should be resolved by January. And I’ve got a couple of other things working on it also. At this time, I just don’t have everything completed on it."

Manager Berry, a former Repo Man and private detective, did not explain what, "I've got a couple of other things working on it" meant. No one asked.

Ms. Creel asked, "Did any of the members of the board do that?"

They said no and had a chuckle when Mr. Murphy announced, "I surely didn't. I can’t run a computer very well."

Chairwoman Chancy announced, "The website has been withdrawn."

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