Suwannee Democrat

February 21, 2013

Whistleblower Bob Burton released from prosecution by the state

Joyce Marie Taylor
Suwannee Democrat

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.”



The arrest

Five months after the initial raid, Burton was arrested without incident. The arrest came on Sunday, June 5, at 3:07 p.m. on a warrant issued by the FDLE and Burton was charged with one count of unlawful interception of communication and one count of unlawful disclosure of communication. He was held at the Hamilton County Jail on a $50,000 bond. He bonded out a few days later and awaited trial. Then, on Saturday, June 25, a handful of supporters rallied around Burton outside former Third Circuit State Attorney Skip Jarvis's office in Live Oak.

The Libertarian Party of Florida, who sponsored the event, said Jarvis had been “relentless in prosecuting Burton on wiretapping charges.” Due to pending prosecution on the case at the time, Jarvis refrained from comment.



Release from prosecution

Fast forward to Jan. 22, 2013. Records show that Assistant State Attorney Karen D. Hatton of the Third Judicial Circuit filed a Notice of Nolle Prosequi with the Hamilton County Clerk’s Office for the 2011 wiretapping case against Burton ending his two plus year ordeal. The notice stated that the Office of the State Attorney, to best serve justice, declined to prosecute Burton because “The victim has relocated and cannot be found.”



County commission meeting

Burton was on the agenda at the Feb. 19, meeting of the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners.

He stated, “Most of y’all know us, my wife and I, as carpenters, but actually we have worked at international trade and building factories and plants all over the world developing businesses.”

Burton continued, saying, “What we do has to do with land use and environmental law.”

What he and his group are trying to present, Burton said, has to do with the merger of industry and the state, public/private partnerships, regional government, consolidation and inter-governmental workings, all of which he says are illegal doctorates.

Burton said the state’s lawsuit against him was being used to subdue people like him from exposing the international and multi-national corporations who are behind these illegal doctorates.

Various news sources reported last year on a study done by a nonprofit organization called Integrity Florida, who claim Florida is the most politically corrupt state in the country.

Burton said he is concerned about bid rigging at the county level. He and his small team of people, he added, would like to show the commissioners who they are, what they do, who they’re exposing and who they’re associated with, as well as what their intentions are.

“How un-American, unconstitutional it is, how unlawful, having to do particularly with Florida Statutes, Chapter 876, which will include your oath and all the way to treason against the state, moving part of the people from part of the state, and that sort of thing,” he said.

Burton said he wants to give the commissioners the information and let each one of them decide if they want to continue taking part in a regional form of government rather than our constitutional form of government.

“At that point we can work from there to decide who we work with to re-establish businesses in this community,” Burton said. “What I’m talking about has to do with why Jasper is a ghost town, why every town is a ghost town and why our country is going bankrupt. We believe we can bring economic growth to Hamilton County without having to reach into the pockets of our grandchildren.”

Burton said he knows most of the commissioners, other than their duties with the county, and that if they knew all that was going on they would do the right thing for everyone.

“Next time we come in, I’ll come in with a team and some documents for all of you to look at,” Burton said. “But we’re free. They folded the case against me. We’ll be getting our information back. That will help a lot.”