From: Eric D. Stevenson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: rlarkin <email@example.com>
Cc: charles <firstname.lastname@example.org>; meganprattd9 <email@example.com>; sfmada <firstname.lastname@example.org>; drpcwu <email@example.com>; rotarypcwu <firstname.lastname@example.org>; gcwingate <email@example.com>; pcwu <firstname.lastname@example.org>; smyers <email@example.com>; aterhaar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sun, Jul 7, 2013 8:08 pm
Subject: Response to Pensacola News Journal Editorial
Dear Mr. Larkin:
As previously agreed, my client, John Asmar, has been patiently waiting to hear from Mayor Hayward with the expectation that the Mayor and John would jointly and mutually respond to the latest developments within City Hall. However, in response to the PNJ's editorial and due to the Mayor's failure to publicly address the matter and issue a statement exonerating John from any alleged wrongdoing, I am compelled to write this email with copies to the Mayor and the City Council.
First, allow me to point out that John resigned from city service in good standing. He has not violated or been found to be in violation of any Florida law, City Ordinance and/or policy governing his role as Chief of Staff. That cannot be said with regard to other Mayoral staff.
Second, John regrets that this matter has blown to these proportions, but he has repeatedly asked that the Mayor deal with the unlawful actions of the Mayor's City Administrator, William "Bill" H. Reynolds (Reynolds) and the Mayor's Press Secretary, Derek Cosson (Cosson). The Mayor's lack of action has made this issue more serious than it should have been and hurt several people, including John's family.
As John has previously advised the Mayor and you, Reynolds created a fraudulent memo that falsely accused John of harassing an employee. Reynolds never told John about the memo. Reynolds did not turn it over to Human Resources to investigate, and instead conspired with Cosson to leak the fraudulent memo to the public and the media.
Despite John's numerous requests for the Mayor to investigate both the memo and Reynolds, the Mayor did nothing. When an employee provided a signed affidavit disputing the contents of the memo, the Mayor transferred her as punishment.
When Reynolds' original memo did not sufficiently hurt John, Reynolds then conspired with others to coerce an employee to file a formal complaint. Within hours, Reynolds delivered it to the Mayor's political opponent. This complaint was never investigated and later withdrawn. The Mayor and you have told John and me on different occasions that the complaint had no merit. Yet it remains on the internet.
Third, the Mayor reneged on his commitment to hire John as a consultant without a change of payment terms, the Mayor's staff withheld public records that proved John's innocence, and the Mayor and his staff interfered with John's ability to rebuild John's law practice. The Mayor and his staff harassed and defamed John despite repeatedly telling John that the Mayor knew that Reynolds' memo misrepresented the facts.
When the local media discovered that Cosson had created fake identities to attack Council members and John on various blogs, forums and websites, the Mayor allowed Reynolds, Cosson and Tamara Fountain to blame John for Cosson's actions, even though the Mayor knew that it was not true.
According to my client's contract, the City of Pensacola owes my client $10,000.00 for my client's last month of service. The Mayor has not only refused to honor my client's contract, but has repeatedly tried to use that payment as a bargaining chip to keep John from speaking out about the misdeeds at City Hall.
While John has tried to clear his name, the Mayor's City staff has destroyed public records and videos that would have helped John's cause. Documents have been altered and unlawful redactions made to others records.
Last, as the City Council and citizens learn more of the facts over the next few days and weeks, they will see that John worked hard and was successful in implementing the City's new form of government while upholding the City Charter, the City's Code of Ordinances, especially those codes governing ethics and the City's policies and procedures.
The Mayor and his staff have painted John a villain, and the Mayor and his staff repeatedly have attacked John publicly and privately. In my opinion, these actions were taken for the "protection" of the perpetrators in question, for their own personal benefit and professional status, and to disparage the characters of any in opposition including John. Their actions also damaged the characters of other innocent employees involved in this matter.
Based upon the foregoing and with the intent to clear John's name, I have recommended to John to file formal ethics complaints against Reynolds, Cosson and possibly Tamara Fountain in the coming weeks. I am also exploring other legal remedies that John may wish to pursue.
Should the City Council choose to investigate Reynolds' actions; the leaking of exempt and confidential documents; Cosson's anonymous attacks on Council members and John; and the Mayor's/City's handling and lack of response to John's requests and complaints in accordance with City policies and state laws, I have recommended to John to cooperate fully.
Rest assured, John has every intention of clearing his name. The truth will be told.
Eric D. Stevenson
Sellers, Skievaski & Stevenson, LLP
919 N. 12th Avenue
Pensacola, FL 32501