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Sheriff’s Office Ordered to Turn Over 2.3 Million in Special Reserve Fund, Holcomb Defends Sheriff’s Reputation

BROOKSVILLE – If you were expecting fireworks during today’s Board of County Commissioners meeting over allegations that Sheriff Al Nienhuis was hiding federal inmate funds, you were sorely disappointed. The good news is that what could have led to a major investigation by state officials, quietly came to a close, after the Sheriff’s Office agreed to return the special reserve funds back to the BOCC.

During the brief meeting, Sheriff’s Office Attorney Joel Fritton told board members that the money was turned over but, “where it went, I’m not sure.” Fritton also suggested that it was an accounting issue and not criminal, as many had suggested. Commissioner Jeff Holcomb echoed Fritton’s sentiments by stating, “The issue that has kept me up at night is this current board of commissioners disrespecting the Sheriff – a Constitutional Officer who is well respected in this county.” Holcomb goes onto to say that the board has called the Sheriff a “Liar, a law breaker and that he’s not doing what’s right for the County.”

Commissioner Steve Champion sparred with Holcomb over the contentious history involving the budget debacle but in the end, they all agreed that mistakes were made and that they money should be returned.

A motion by Commissioner Champion requesting the Sheriff’s Office to turn over approximately $2.3 million was approved and was ordered to be transferred by close of business on July 14th of this year.

A second motion to force a monthly federal revenue to be immediately deposited to the county was placed on hold until further discussion could be held on the matter.

Sheriff Nienhuis provided the following statement after the meeting: “I’m glad to see that the BOCC realizes this is an accounting issue that should have been handled by staff.

I look forward to working with the County Commission to meet the most immediate needs at the jail, both daily operational needs as well as repairs and improvements that are desperately needed for safety and security.

Our citizens can take comfort in knowing that this Sheriff has, and always will, have their best interest at heart.”

Allegations by former Maj. James Terry were not mentioned during today’s hearing.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Deputy County Attorney John Jouben agreed with HCSO Attorney Joel Fritton that this issue was an accounting matter and not criminal in nature.

It should also be noted that the $2.3 million is revenue collected over the course of two years.

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  • Now all they have to be concerned about is what the BOCC will use the money for. We’ve got sidewalks to everywhere! Maybe a Sky bridge to join the small islands together out from Bayport?

    Friday, 14 July 2017, 1:55 pm
  • Oh good! Maybe the Commissioners can take some fact finding trips now to learn how to remove their body hair or protect the public from toe fungus.

    Thursday, 13 July 2017, 12:04 pm
  • “The good news is that what could have led to a major investigation by state officials, quietly came to a close, after the Sheriff’s Office agreed to return the special reserve funds back to the BOCC. “Wow. Such a eggrecious Behavior by this Sheriff. I really would have liked to have seen an investigation. That man is as crooked as the day is long. Mr Holcombe I respect you and I thank you for serving this country but you are wrong in saying that my Nuthouse is respected in this community. You’d be lucky to find 50% of the people who respect him.

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 5:45 pm
  • He knew what he was doing but nothing will happen to the sheriff at the end of the September you should have $0 in the account

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 12:53 pm
  • Don’t be so trusting of Steve. Once people started frowning on new gun range he is so feverishly trying to put in, the issue with the sheriff appeared, gun range forgotten by the general public. Your own font Tom, in the first paragraph ” after the Sheriff’s Office agreed to return the special reserve funds back to the BOCC.”

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 10:36 am
  • Sadly there is clearly a pattern and power struggle here between the Board and the Sheriff and the loser, you guessed it, the people of the county AGAIN. These funds are indeed federal and for the jail and the support services regarding the prisoners it’s paid for. The county has no business with this and should not be reallocating these funds,

    Things like what they did with taking the smoothly running emergency management operations away from the Sheriff as a reason to break political chops at the expense and now great risk of the people is wrong. Pretty sure we need the sheriff in a major emergency or storm and I hope they are professional enough to do everything they can for the people’s sake.

    The county seems to put the actual county last and it shows and funds for one thing seem to not be spent for their intended purpose. Last year three major features that enhance the county were damaged or destroyed, two by a storm and one by vandalism. The nice sunset viewing platform at Pine Island, the Bayport fishing pier and the observation tower at Linda Peterson Park. Were these major tourist items not insured? Why has there been zero effort to repair or replace these? Quite the opposite, as two of them still stand there as giant signs of dysfunction and liability that scream to decent people to not want to visit or live here. It’s been a year and that’s really sad and disgusting. Where’s the money? Where did it go? On the observation tower are they waiting a year plus later to catch some scum vagrant vandal and think he will pay for it? Fix the damn thing with the insurance money! Wake up County and stop trying to make this place a slum!!!!

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 10:15 am
  • What . They will give the average joe 6 months in jail for a joint but this man gets away with embezzling 2.3 million and they just told him ” now you put that back”. And they are puzzled why our criminal system doesnt work.

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 9:44 am
  • Gee I wonder if the IRS would take that excuse next year I’ll tell them it was just an accounting error and I didn’t hide the money I made from them…

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 8:52 am
    • Love it…

      Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 12:03 pm
  • I just want to know when the last time they used the books behind them or do they just look cool and sophisticated collecting dust?

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 7:52 am
  • Wow,a commish that buys crack for hookers so why not a sherriff that steals millions i mean why not we got a gov stole billions.anyone who believes it was a over sight is a idiot.the money was moved to a hidden account.good ol boys win again we the people are just stupid sitting here being not a politician or law enforcement,but curious what is the penalty if a reg citizan stole 2.3 million picked upa hooker and smoked crack with her?oh and fired a officer with a spotless record for blowing the whistle

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 7:39 am
  • Again, just again it slipped away. This should have been looked at by FDLE to truly determine an accounting issue or criminal misconduct. The good ole boys managed to slip this one under the carpet. Right On

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 4:25 am
  • What a bunch of SCUMBAGS !!
    Talk about ” good ol’ boy ” networking!!
    Sooo, all the people in the county who get arrested for stealing just take the sheriffs lead ” it was an accounting error!”
    What a bunch of crap! This kneehigh guy needs to be in JAIL with the rest of the thiefs!! & states attorney??? WHAT A JOKE!! Another one to remember @ election time!!

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 4:15 am
  • He has nothing to hide!!!

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 3:31 am
    • 2.3 million dollars in case you missed that part

      Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 12:05 pm
    • Pipe down grandma……..nobody pulled yer chain.

      Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 1:04 pm
  • and lastly. headline says ordered but article says sheriff agreed to turn money over. sensationlize much??

    Tuesday, 11 July 2017, 8:19 pm
  • “Let me make this perfectly clear…………….I am NOT a crook…….”

    Tuesday, 11 July 2017, 8:19 pm
    • All of Hernando county enforcement..judges..etc..are too a point..either you help cover shit up..or don’t speak just as don’t speak

      Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 12:40 pm
    • That’s a joke

      Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 12:43 pm
  • the money is revenue from federal inmates that cannot be used just anywhere. it’s out aside for jail repairs because the jail is still requiring work all the time. a big deal was made by the 3 stories ( champion, dukes and slick nick) and the disgruntled James Terry of the infamous Terry family.

    Auditors suggested the sheriff put in a reserve account and he did. the stooges just want to control it all. it was said no crime was committed and that no money was spent.

    I watched the meeting and they weren’t ordered to do anything. it was agreed in a motion where the money goes.

    Tuesday, 11 July 2017, 8:16 pm

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