FLORIDA PANHANDLE, June 10, 2005 -- Experienced federal investigators, acting
independently, have discovered a covert funding channel used by the 2000 and 2004
Bush-Cheney campaigns and the administrations of Jeb Bush in Florida and Bob Taft
in Ohio to illegally funnel foreign and other questionable money into Republican
Ever since the brutal death of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
investigator Ray Lemme in July 2003, the focus of investigators in Florida and
Georgia has been on the political scandal Lemme was uncovering. After his official
investigation of contract fraud, money laundering, illegal immigration, and
election fraud was shut down on orders of Jeb Bush, Lemme continued to investigate
the use of FDOT to launder cash for the Bush Brothers and their allies. Lemme's
focus was on the use of the Florida turnpike system to launder cash for the
Jeb and George W. Bush campaigns. It was an investigation that would ultimately
lead to Lemme's body being discovered in a motel room bath tub in Valdosta,
Georgia. A two-state police cover up of Lemme's death, threats directed at Florida
and Georgia investigators, and a virtual media blackout indicates that the GOP
administrations of Jeb Bush and Georgia's Sonny Perdue wanted the Lemme story
to go away -- and fast.
The reason for the cover-up of Lemme's reported "suicide" is simple.
Investigators have now discovered that foreign cash, including Chinese, Saudi,
and Nigerian money, was laundered via the biggest state-run cash cow in Florida
-- the Florida Turnpike system. Because most of the transactions involving Florida's
toll roads involve cash and huge amounts of it, it was easy for foreign and
other questionable money to be laundered via FDOT.
Lemme had reportedly become aware of the use of FDOT to commit criminal acts.
Valdosta, where Lemme went to meet a still unknown source, is a key center for
international organized criminal activity, including illegal foreign worker
smuggling, involving close political allies of George W. and Jeb Bush.
Flashback: From Dec. 6. 2004 article "Texas to Florida: White House-linked
clandestine operation paid for "vote switching" software," Wayne
Yang's [Yang Enterprises] questionable billing activities with its Florida
DOT contract came to the attention of Ray C. Lemme, a seasoned senior investigator
with the Florida DOT Inspector General's Office and a combat veteran of the
Vietnam War. Lemme had a lot of evidence to suspect that Yang was overbilling
the DOT for "millions." After discovering Yang's dirty laundry, Curtis
went to work for the DOT. Mavis Georgalis, the DOT's contracting officer for
the Yang contract, was also aware of improprieties with the contract. As a result
of pressure from the Florida State House, both Curtis and Georgalis were eventually
fired by the DOT because of their complaints about the Yang contract. Someone
was obviously trying to send Curtis a message when, on August 14, 2002, he discovered
that someone poisoned his pet Pomeranian dog, Emily. Lemme was forced to stop
his official investigation of Yang for similar reasons. However, he decided
to continue an "unofficial" investigation of Yang and its practices
on the side. It was a fateful decision.
According to DOT employees familiar with the Yang case, Lemme was aware that
it was Jeb Bush who personally shut down his investigation of Yang. Lemme also
leaked details concerning his investigation to the Daytona Beach News Journal.
The investigator had previously requested a full audit of the Yang contract
with the DOT, a request that was denied. Lemme also became aware of something
else outside the framework of the DOT contract—that Yang had been involved
in producing a prototype vote switching program for use with touch screen voting
machines and that Tom Feeney was in on the scam. The last time Clint Curtis
spoke to Lemme, he remembers the silver haired investigator excited about where
his case was leading. Lemme told Curtis that the cover up of Yang was coming
from "as high up as I could imagine" and that he had "proof"
that was "shocking."
On Sunday, June 29, 2003, evidence indicates that Lemme drove from Tallahassee
to Valdosta, Georgia, the home of Moody Air Force Base. A motel receipt indicated
that Lemme checked in at the Knight's Inn off Interstate 75 at 6:49 p.m. Lemme's
wife said that her husband left home for work on Monday, June 30, at 5:15 a.m.,
an hour earlier than usual. According to a Leon County Sheriff's report, Lemme's
wife said she received a voice message after she returned home at 6:45 p.m.
on Monday. The message was from her husband's supervisor, Bob Clift, who informed
her that earlier in the day, at 6:15 a.m., Lemme called into work, left a message,
and said he would not be coming to work that day. Clift said he was checking
up on Ray Lemme. Mrs. Lemme called Clift and told him that her husband was not
at home. Mrs. Lemme told police that her husband was working on a "big
case." Mrs. Lemme filed a missing person report with the Leon County, Sheriff's
Office. Clift later determined that Ray Lemme made his earlier call to work
at 6:15 a.m., one hour after he supposedly left his home for work, from a pay
phone at the junction of Interstate 10 and Highway 1 in Jefferson County, Florida.
Shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 1, the maid assigned to clean Lemme's
room—132—received no answer when she knocked. The door was locked.
There was no response when the maid called the room's telephone. The hotel manager
then called the police.
The following is from the Valdosta Police Detective Report filed by Detective
Craig Spencer and dated July 1, 2003: "On July 1, 2003 at approximately
1330 hours, I received a page advising me to be en route to Knights Inn at 2110
West Hill Avenue in reference to an unattended death." When Spencer and
other police officers and detectives arrived at the motel, the manager told
them that the occupant of Room 132, Ray Lemme, was to have checked out by 11a.m.
The officers yelled through the slightly ajar door but received no answer and
they discovered the upper swing latch was locked. The officers used a special
tool provided by the motel to open the swing latch lock. Spencer said that one
of the officers entered the room and found a suicide note and then proceeded
to the bathroom where Lemme was found dead in the bathtub. Police also discovered
that the inside of Lemmes's left elbow—the cubital tunnel—was slashed.
There were spurts of blood on the wall but no blood found on the floor. A belt
possibly used as a tourniquet and a double- edged straight razor blade were
found on the side of the tub. A bath towel was unfolded and neatly placed on
the floor next to the tub.
Later on July 1, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory in Moultrie
informed the Valdosta Police that based on the "suicide" details,
no autopsy would be performed on Lemme. Unlike Florida, Georgia does not perform
mandatory autopsies. A doctor, with 25 years' clinical experience, who was interviewed
for this story, claimed that the circumstances of Lemme's death appeared to
him to be a classic "mob hit." If the Leon County Sheriff missing
person report is to be believed, it is clear that someone other than Lemme checked
into the Valdosta motel on Sunday evening using his name. Clearly, the Leon
County Sheriff's report contains a number of details that directly conflict
with facts found in the Valdosta Police report. In addition, the Lowndes County,
Georgia, Coroner's report fails to indicate an estimated time of death based
on a full medical examination—it surmised that the time of death was the
same time as indicated on the suicide note: 8:10 a.m. on July 1.
An empty manila folder and a blank legal pad notebook were found on the hotel
room's desk along with an undated and unsigned suicide note written on lined
paper, which lacked any identifiable fingerprints, from Lemme's day planner.
The note merely contained the time 8:10 a.m. with the following notation: "I
love my family (family underlined once) with all my heart. I am sorry. I am
depressed and in pain. Mary Ann (Lemme's wife), I love you." ("I love
you" underlined twice). It was certainly not indicative of a person who
was ecstatic that he was finally going to nail a long investigation that involved
vote rigging, overbilling, and fraud abetted by the very top political leadership
in Tallahassee. Interestingly, the last number on Lemme's pager (an 850 960-XXXX)
ended with the number "911." It is also interesting that Lemme's watch,
when discovered by the police, was stopped at 12:34 p.m. on June 30–a
possible indication that Lemme was trying to convey the time of a possible in
extremis situation. Also, Lemme's Florida driver's license was in his room while
his wallet was in the glove box of his car, which was parked in front of the
room. Two motel receipts were found in Lemme's room by the police. One was a
check-in receipt dated June 29 and timed at 6:44 p.m. The other was a receipt,
without a notation of check-in or check-out, dated June 30 and timed at 6:54
a.m. A witness told police that Lemme's car was parked in front of his room
on the afternoon of June 30.
Sergeant Eugene Bell of the Valdosta Police Department interviewed a 39-year
old female guest who was staying in Room 236 over the weekend. She and her daughter
noticed three men standing in the parking lot across from Lemme's room at 8
a.m. on the morning of July 1. The behavior of the men made the guest suspicious
enough that the woman initially believed the men were engaged in a drug deal.
According to the police report, the camera used to photograph the crime scene
was later discovered to have a defect in the flash memory card. The defect resulted
in no usable photographs being submitted with the official police report.
Later, veteran GAO and FBI investigative specialist John Caylor discovered
that the Valdosta Police story about a defective digital camera memory stick
and the purported lack of crime scene photos of Lemme's motel room was a ruse.
Caylor was able to obtain the crime scene photos of Lemme from the Valdosta
Police. Lemme's body, found in Room 132 of the Knights Inn bath tub, clearly
shows that he was brutally beaten and strangled prior to his death -- reported
by police to have been from a self-inflicted razor cut to his arm.
It is unlikely that Lemme, who told former FDOT and Yang programmer Clint Curtis
that he was on the verge of cracking a huge case that went straight "to
the top," would have traveled to a state like Georgia, where autopsies
are not mandatory, to commit suicide. Moreover, Lemme drove a bee line route
to Valdosta, an indication that he was anxious to meet with his "source."
Lemme had been informed that a Chinese sub-contract programmer for Yang named
Henry Ni, who had been busted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers
for illegally transferring missile parts to China, had been given the social
security number of an Iowa resident. Although Ni had only been in the United
States for five years, his social security number from Iowa had been issued
to another individual twenty-four years earlier. Valdosta is a center for illegal
smuggling and it was this nexus of illegal alien smuggling and money laundering
that attracted Lemme to the city.
After Lemme's death, Valdosta criminal activities and bribes paid to Florida
politicians became the subject of a grand jury investigation run by the US Attorney
for Northwest Florida Greg Miller. Miller's investigation reportedly dovetailed
with Lemme's probe of money laundering involving FDOT and Florida turnpike receipts.
The Chairman of the Florida Transportation Commission who has control of FDOT
and the turnpike system is Earl Durden, a major GOP player in Florida who is
close to both Jeb and George W. Bush. Durden was appointed to the Transportation
Commission post by Jeb Bush. When Miller's investigation of money laundering
was leaked, it was George W. Bush who personally flew to Florida from Washington
to close down the entire probe.
The six Florida Panhandle counties west of Tallahassee and the border counties
of Georgia and Alabama have long been centers of illicit Bush activities dating
back to the Iran-contra and savings and loan failures. Lowndes County, where
Valdosta is located, is a major center for Bush-connected criminal activity.
Now comes word that "Coin Gate" in Ohio is tied to the same criminal
elements in the GOP that were responsible for turnpike toll money laundering
in Florida. Durden's counterpart in Ohio, Tommy Noe, a Bush "Pioneer"
contributor who Gov. Taft appointed to the Ohio Turnpike Commission, is in the
center of a major scandal involving missing state funds invested in rare coins
and baseball cards. Shortly after the Toledo Blade began reporting on the Ohio
coin scandal, Noe resigned from the turnpike commission.
An additional investigation of missing Ohio state revenue is focused on millions
of state dollars invested in a hedge fund. Federal investigators are investigating
charges that Noe laundered some of the missing $12 million from the state's
coin fund into the Bush 2004 campaign. Mr. Bush has returned a mere $4000 from
Noe's contributions. Ohio and Florida were the scenes of major election fraud
in 2004. It now appears that both states laundered hundreds of millions of dollars
to engage in massive fraud involving all sectors of state government, from election
officials and Secretaries of State to state auditors and attorneys general.
Ohio and Florida have the highest turnpike toll rates in the nation coupled
with the least oversight. Both states, rife with political corruption fostered
by the patrician Republican Taft and Bush families, are now the center of coin
gate scandals tied to political chicanery and money laundering.
Manhattan's veteran District Attorney Robert Morgenthau is on the verge of
penetrating a major conduit for foreign money into the Bush family network and
the American political system that parallels the campaign finance scandals in
Ohio and Florida. Morgenthau's investigation of the notorious Sam and Charlie
Wyly brothers of Texas, the billionaires who spearheaded the Swift Boat disinformation
campaign against John Kerry and a similar distortion effort against John McCain
in 2000, is focused on a Wyly-controlled Isle of Man off-shore account tied
to the Bank of America. In 1989, George H. W. Bush dispatched a Houston attorney
to the Isle of Man to take charge of the secret Bush accounts. One of the accounts
was Five Star Trust, a multi-billion dollar account used by the Bushes as a
covert off-shore money tranche for their political and business purposes.