Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news from Florida for working families since 2007

Lake Shore Hosp Authority

Refusing to Speak About the Missing Monument  for 5 Weeks, Berry Blows: "Maybe they'll shut up"

The clear cut park area 8 days after the trees met the chain saws. The monument dedicated to W.H. Wilson's deceased wife dedicating his land gift in her name is nowhere to be seen.

COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – Shortly after the June 20 Lake Shore Hospital Authority Board sponsored clear cutting of the wooded parkland and bird habitat next to the hospital, Barbara Lemley and others noticed that the monument dedicating the gift of the park property disappeared along with the trees. At midday On July 1, Ms. Lemley stopped into the Authority Hdq to inquire about the monument's whereabouts. After some persuasion, Authority Manager Berry came out of his office to greet Ms. Lemley.


The monument can be seen under the tree.

For decades, the little park next to Shands at Lakeshore, the hospital owned by the Lake Shore Hospital Authority, has been a place of respite out of the sun for those who visited Lake DeSoto in downtown Lake City.

The land was dedicated by W.H. Wilson. The monument reads: This lot donated by W.H. Wilson in memory of his deceased wife, Etha Hankins Wilson who departed this life July 16, 1934 at Lake City, Florida.

It is thought that the land was donated around that time, but no documents related to the land transfer have been located.

On March 14, Manager Berry made the bogus claim that the little park was an "illegal drug store at night." The Lake City Police Department said that was not true.

In early May Florida Fish and Game stopped Manager Berry from cutting down the trees until a pair of nesting hawks left the area. FWC Rules: "Chain Saw" Jack Berry & Gov Scott's Board Must Save Tree with Hawks Nest, For Now

Questions regarding an unfair bidding process and whether or not Manager Berry followed basic procurement rules plagued the project.

Berry's Behavior Ignored
Governor's Board Non Pulsed

May 12, 2016, was the day Manager Berry began turning his back on people as they addressed the board.

The first victim of Manager Berry's outrageous behavior was Lake City/Columbia County resident, Sandra Buck-Camp, a retired pharmacist. As she began to speak, Manager Berry turned his back on her. The Governor's Board did not take exception and Mr. Berry has been turning his back on citizens since then.

As Ms. Buck-Camp spoke, Manager Berry refused to look back at her and refused to respond to her questions. Ms. Buck-Camp was against the cutting of the trees.

On Monday June 20, the trees came down. Lake Shore Hosp Auth's "Chainsaw Jack" Claimed Vindication Before Clear Cutting Began.

July 1, 2016
Berry Stops Talking

Mr. Berry came to greet Ms. Lemley from behind the glass. Lake City gave the Authority a free pass on the ADA non-compliance.        (file)

On July 1, Ms. Lemley stopped into the LSHA offices to ask Hospital Authority Manager Berry where the monument was that used to be in the little park. It was a simple, non-confrontational question.

When Ms. Lemley asked to speak with Mr. Berry she was told she could relay the question through employee Cynthia Watson.

Ms. Lemley said she would rather speak with Mr. Berry directly and took a seat.

About five minutes later Ms. Watson announced that Mr. Berry was coming.

Ms. Lemley went to the window and before she had a chance to speak, Mr. Berry said, "You want to communicate with me, you do it by email. That's the only conversation I'm havin' with you."

According to Ms. Lemley, Mr. Berry turned and walked back into the inner sanctum of the Authority offices.

On July 12, Ms. Lemley emailed Mr. Berry:

"Last week I stopped by the LSHA building to ask where was the granite monument that was on the property where the trees were removed. When you came to the window, you turned away and stated you would only communicate by email. Where is the monument?"

Monday night, August 8, was the Authority's monthly meeting. Mr. Berry still had not responded to Ms. Lemley's email of July 12.

Ms. Lemley went to the lectern and addressed the Board and Mr. Berry"

 "Where is the monument that was located where the trees were removed? Do you have an answer? I stopped by the office on July 1st and asked Mr. Berry. Mr. Berry turned away and stated you could only communicate by email. On July 12, I sent an email to Mr. Berry and Sonja and have not had a response. Mr. Berry, can you tell me where the monument is?"

Ms. Chancy:  "Which monument are you speaking about?"

Ms. Lemley explained.

None of the Board members volunteered anything.

Your reporter, also a taxpayer in the Hospital District, told the Board a few minutes later, "I was curious to know about the monument, too. That monument has disappeared. It's just gone. Maybe somebody could give us an explanation for that?"

Berry: "Maybe they'll shut up"

On July 8, a photo along the fence line which ends at the hospital. According to Manager Berry, the monument is "right next to the hospital building,"

Without taking his hand away from the side of his head, Mr. Berry said to Chairwoman Chancy, "Let me explain where the monument is. Maybe they'll shut up about it."

Your reporter asked, "Say that again, please."

Manager Berry took his hand away from his face, turned toward your reporter, and in a loud, annoyed voice said, "It was removed and put right next to a hospital buildin' over there until that area is finished and it will be put back. If you'd looked up next to the hospital, you'd see it."

Your reporter responded, "All I did was ask. I don't have to do an inspection tour of the hospital. All she did was ask."

For the first time Chairwoman Chancy looked embarrassed by Mr. Berry's behavior, "We're in the middle of refurbishing the area and things will be back where they're supposed to be. OK."

The Story Did Not End There

On the afternoon of August 9, Mr. Berry emailed Ms. Lemley some photos of the monument with the following message [as received]:

Being the concerned citizen that you are, and worried to death about the monument, I have enclosed the following pictures of where it is located, sorry that I upset you by moving the monument to avoid damage during the cutting of the trees.  I promise to move the monument to a very visible location upon completion of the development of that area.

Thank you for being so concerned.

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More LSHA stories are here.

LSHA 8 (clockwise from top):
Koby Adams - political operative and Liz Porter's Chief of staff
Brandon Biel - latest Scott appointee and a young republican on the move
Dr. Waseem Khan - a board member who
lives out of the county
Janet Creel - real estate broker
Ron Foreman - father of the County Atny
Tim Murphy - a nice guy, talented welder, clueless about government
Board Chairwoman Lory Chancy - her main job appears to be not to answer questions and to protect Columbia County's legendary political operative, Jackson P. "Jack" Berry (in the middle).


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