Suwannee Democrat

Local News

February 21, 2013

Whistleblower Bob Burton released from prosecution by the state

Jasper — Robert P. (Bob) Burton whose home was raided in January, 2011 by agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and then arrested five months later and charged with illegal wiretapping, was released from prosecution by the Third Circuit State Attorney’s Office via a Notice of Nolle Prosequi on Jan. 22, 2013, because the victim in the case had relocated and could not be found.

The raid

Burton’s troubles began at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 14, 2011 when FDLE officers, assisted by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, raided the home he shared with his wife Kathy Scott on suspicion of illegally taping a telephone conversation with a state legislative aide. No arrests were made at their 7676 S.W. 46 Ave. residence in Jasper at that time, but a camcorder, cell phone and laptop computer were seized by the FDLE.

Burton had made claims that he had information concerning illegal activities by high-ranking state officials in violation of Florida law; information which he reportedly taped during a phone conversation with Ryan Tyson, then chief of staff for state Sen. Charlie Dean, who was chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation. Burton then posted a video with that conversation on YouTube, which was later removed from the site by authorities.

Burton, a deadhead logger at the time, said he happened upon illegal activities by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, specifically the dumping of toxic waste into protected areas. His taped phone conversation with Tyson, he said, contained statements from Tyson implicating state officials.

Burton stated at the time, “We’re just trying to expose the crime. We put the name to the act.”

Burton and his wife say Agenda 21, a United Nations course of action to manage growth and the environment, is behind some of the illegal activities he has witnessed.

Scott, when asked if they had met with skepticism on their claim, replied, “They’ll believe it when their land is taken from them.”

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