BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Back in February, we brought you the story of Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony and the lies he told on his application to get into a law enforcement role.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement ruled that Tony had indeed lied when he failed to disclose an arrest, trial and subsequently acquittal for murder in 1993, when Tony was only 14. The acquittal came after Tony’s self-defense argument could not be proven wrong by prosecutors. The case was closed and expunged by order of the court.
Now, a panel within the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training (CJS&T) commission are determining if there is enough probable cause to potentially strip the sheriff of his law enforcement certifications.
This is quite a scoop: @GovRonDeSantis pick to take over as sheriff after Parkland shootings, Gregory Tony failed to disclose something important in his past: As a teenager, he shot and killed a man. https://t.co/HZPTPfheWv
— julie k. brown (@jkbjournalist) May 3, 2020
Such a move by the commission would only remove his ability to act in a law enforcement capacity, such as making arrests. As an elected official, Tony could still serve as Sheriff of Broward County, but he could not get hired on to any other state or local agencies in Florida to serve in a law enforcement role.
Tony was appointed Broward County Sheriff by Governor Ron DeSantis after Scott Israel was removed by the governor over his handling of the Parkland school massacre on Valentine’s Day 2018.
FloridaBulldog.org pointed out the potential embarrassment the decertifying could bring for DeSantis in a reelection effort as Florida governor, or a potential White House run in 2024.
The website also reported that it isn’t just the job applications that got Tony into hot water with investigators.
The sheriff’s name is on a list of 76 members of law enforcement in the Sunshine state who are facing cases that question their moral character for offenses that transpired between March of 2002 and February of 2019.
“Florida Bulldog has learned that the CJS&T action is the result of a complaint filed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Inspector Keith Riddick. Riddick investigated Tony for a variety of suspected crimes rooted in lies the sheriff has told over the years.
In July 2021, Riddick wrote a 20-page report recommending that Tony by prosecuted for, among other things, felony perjury for making a false statement when applying for a replacement Florida driver’s license.
The two-year FDLE probe found that Tony lied repeatedly about his past when applying for law-enforcement jobs and training, including keeping secret his 1993 arrest for murder in Philadelphia when he was 14. Tony, who was later acquitted in juvenile court, declined to be interviewed by FDLE agents.”
While many of the offenses being looked at by the panel are beyond the statute of limitations for prosecution, they still lend credence to his moral character and his continued fitness to serve in a capacity that requires trustworthiness, integrity and high moral character.
One of the events in question occurred less than one month after being appointed sheriff.
In 2019, as well as the previous date in 2002, Tony allegedly lied on his state application to renew a driver’s license.
When asked, in both instances, if his “driving privilege [had] ever been revoked, suspended or denied in any state?” Tony answered “no.”
The truth of the matter is that his Pennsylvania license had been suspended on more than one occasion.
A two-year probe into Tony’s character was led by FDLE’s Keith Riddick, whose recommended that charges of felony perjury be brought against the sheriff.
Tony has said very little on the matter. Whether it was the license applications or the failure to disclose the arrest and trial for murder, Tony refused to be interviewed by Riddick’s team. What remains to be seen is exactly what the panel or the full commission choose to do.
Another potentially damning document has also surfaced.
In January 2020, Tony signed an FDLE affidavit that swearing, under oath that he had never had a criminal record sealed or expunged.
Four months later, he revealed in an email interview with the Florida Bulldog, that he had “shot and killed Hector ‘Chino’ Rodriguez on a sidewalk on May 4, 1993.
The affidavit that he signed states that “intentional omission” or “false execution…shall constitute a misdemeanor of the second degree and disqualify the officer for employment as an officer.”
Law Enforcement Today will continue to follow this case, which should be decided in August, and provide updates.
For more on Sheriff Gregory Tony and the battle he is facing, we invite you to
Florida Department of Law Enforcement: Democrat sheriff lied multiple times on official documents
BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Current Democratic Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony has been involved in an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for the past year and a half.
That investigation has concluded and FLDE is reporting that the Sheriff lied multiple times in the past on official documents.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) began their investigation while Sheriff Tony was running for election in 2020 and news broke of his arrest for murder in 1993 when he was 14 years old.
He was arrested and tried for shooting a man several times but was acquitted. The courts ordered the case to be sealed and expunged.
While it is true the Sheriff was arrested and acquitted for murder, according to FDLE, it is also true that he lied on his applications to become a police officer when he never mentioned it.
FDLE also noted that they have probable cause to believe that Sheriff Tony not only lied about being arrested, but committed several others as well.
FDLE noted that Tony lied numerous times on his application to become a police officer in Coral Springs before being appointed as the Broward Sheriff. Those that were noted by FDLE are when he answered no to the following questions:
“Have you ever participated in any undetected crimes?
“Have you ever handled hallucinogens?
“List the time and dates you have personally used hallucinogens.
“Have you ever handled any other illegal drugs (Ecstasy, prescriptions, etc.)?
“List all moving violations you have had in the last seven years.
“Have you ever been arrested?
“Have you ever been arrested, received a notice to appear, been charged, convicted, pleaded Nollo Contedere, or pleaded guilty to any criminal violation?”
Although FDLE has found cause that Tony committed a crime when he lied on those official documents, including when he ran for Sheriff, they are unable to move forward with prosecution because the statute of limitations has expired.
In a memo, FDLE Agent Keith Riddick wrote:
“Although it appears that Tony knowingly and willfully [mislead] public servants in the performance of their official duties by making false statements in writing on his official applications (regarding his traffic citation, drug use, and arrest history)…a criminal prosecution of these actions would be negated.”
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who appointed Tony as Broward Sheriff after suspending then terminating the last one, has not made a public decision on his future as Sheriff.
Rather, Governor DeSantis has promised that there will be a deep dive into anything Tony has done while in law enforcement. When asked about the investigation on February 1st, Governor DeSantis said:
“We’re going to review everything…in the coming days.”
FDLE will send its investigative report to the Florida Commission on Ethics for review. If, after review, the Ethics Commission finds probable cause the case would be slated for a full hearing before an administrative law judge.
If that judge were to find probable cause that Tony did commit law and ethics violations, regardless if he can be prosecuted, he could face discipline ranging from a recommendation Governor DeSantis remove him up to a $10,000 fine per allegation.
Tony’s troubles started when ousted Broward Sheriff Scott Israel decided to run against him for the position in 2020. A political committee that was raising campaign money on Israel’s behalf hired a private investigator, Mike Fisten, who found the information.
When Fisten concluded his investigation, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel as well as the Broward State Attorney’s Office. The Broward State Attorneys Office then forwarded the complaint over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate.
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I had a criminal record sealed or expunged.
Unfortunately for Tony, that apparently was a lie.
According to a report in Florida Bulldog this past May, Tony signed the FDLE affidavit in which he declared under oath he never “had a criminal record sealed or expunged.”
That report came after a Bulldog story from four days earlier reporting Tony, as a 14-year-old living in Philadelphia, shot and killed a man in 1993.
Now it has been revealed that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a confidential executive order whereby he transferred the FDLE’s case against Tony to the State Attorney’s Office in Fort Myers.
His decision to do so was based on the apparent reluctance of Broward County State Attorney Harold Pryor’s apparent reluctance to file felony and other charges against Tony, which was recommended by FDLE.
In the 1993 case, Tony claimed he killed the man in self-defense and was acquitted in juvenile court, where records of the case were sealed, according to a Philadelphia police report obtained by the outlet.
Tony’s account of the shooting was disputed by the victim’s girlfriend, who said he was unarmed and the shooting came about after an argument between he and Tony.
Just one year ago, a political rival filed a civil lawsuit against Tony claiming that as a convicted felon, Tony was ineligible to run for office. FDLE inspector Keith Riddick confirmed an investigation was taking place, however at the time, the accusation went unproven and the case was dismissed.
Riddick acknowledged that FDLE had an active investigation into the allegations Tony had possibly falsified required affidavits concerning “his sworn law enforcement status and/or falsified official law enforcement employment applications. The status of FDLE’s investigation remains ongoing as to Plaintiff’s allegations as well as other undisclosed matters that will remain confidential.”
Riddick’s affidavit continued that the FDLE was waiting on subpoenas directed “to certain Government Agencies with the State of Pennsylvania requesting disclosure of official court records, law enforcement agency files and criminal arrest records pertaining to Gregory Tony. Said subpoenas were issued by the Broward County State Attorney’s Office.”
The initial investigation started under former Broward State Attorney Michael Satz, who decided not to run for reelection. It was then handed off to Pryor when he assumed the office this past January.
Months went by without action on FDLE’s recommendation that Tony face prosecution, which led the FDLE to enter complaints with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who forwarded the complaints to DeSantis, according to sources.
DeSantis had appointed Tony as sheriff in January 2019, and then ordered the case be transferred to State Attorney Amira Fox, who oversees Florida’s 20th judicial district which encompasses Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. In turn, Fox has assigned the matter to Assistant State Attorney Anthony Kunasek, head of the office’s special prosecution unit.
Florida Bulldog reached out to Kunasek, who said he could not provide any information at this time.
A spokesperson for Pryor, Paula McMahon also refused to provide additional details, referring the outlet to the governor’s office she wrote in response to an emailed question about the governor’s possible explanation for transferring the case.
McMahon said, “In other words, if any such records existed they would be confidential.”
Lying on his FDLE application isn’t the only problem plaguing Tony.
In April, Florida Bulldog reported he is under investigation by the FBI under allegations of bid rigging, fraud and kickbacks relative to the Broward Sheriff’s Office purchase of bleeding control stations from North American Rescue, a South Carolina company where Tony worked prior to becoming sheriff.
At least three sources confirmed the existence of the FBI investigation after the FBI interviewed them about the case.
However a source familiar with the FBI probe said it was stalled due to “internal interference,” believed to be from the FBI’s special agent in charge, George Piro, however no additional details were available.
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