After receiving a faxed letter from Congressman Tom Feeney's (R-FL) attorneys last week threatening legal action, The Seminole Chronicle has now received a second such letter, this time from the attorneys of Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI).
The language in both letters to The Chronicle is remarkably similar, and in some cases, virtually identical suggesting a collusion between the two different parties in an attempt to silence the local weekly in Feeney's hometown from reporting on the growing "vote-rigging" scandal.
The certified letter, with the signature of Michael A. O'Quinn of "Fowler and O'Quinn, P.A.", (though confirmed by The BRAD BLOG to have in fact been signed in his name by his paralegal, Rebecca Saylor, who has told us that "Michael O'Quinn is currently on a boat in the Bahamas" and will not be back to work until January 3rd) asks Feeney's hometown newsweekly, to "place your liability insurance carrier on notice of YEI's intentions in this regard" and requests that they "forward to the undersigned promptly the name of said insurer, the policy number of said liability policy, and the coverage limits thereunder."
The YEI attorney, Michael O'Quinn is a large campaign contributor, along with Dr. and Mrs. Yang, to Feeney, and served as Feeney's law partner for many years until 2002. "Fowler and O'Quinn, P.A." was previously known as "Fowler, Barice, Feeney and O'Quinn, P.A."
This is the second legal threat to The Chronicle since they published their initial story on the sworn affidavit and sworn public testimony by software programmer Clint Curtis.
Curtis's affidavit and testimony charged that Feeney conspired with YEI to create a "vote-rigging software prototype" in 2000 when Curtis was employeed by the firm and Feeney was their corporate counsel and registered lobbyist even while he was a member of, and then Speaker of the Florida Legislature.
The BRAD BLOG originally broke the news of Curtis' affidavit on December 6th.
Both the Feeney attorney letter from John P. Horan, and the YEI attorney letter from Michael A. O'Quinn refer to the charges by Curtis as having been "fully investigated by the State of Florida Commission on Ethics" and state identically that "The Commission found that 'there was no probable cause' to believe the assertions and dismissed each complaint."
In our response to the original letter from the Feeney attorney, we pointed out that 6 of the 8 members of that "State of Florida Commission on Ethics" were appointed by and/or had close ties to either Tom Feeney or Feeney's former running-mate for Florida governor, Jeb Bush.
As we mentioned, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported in a series of articles on the matter in 2002 that the commission's investigation --- in apparent violation of state law --- never interviewed the original investigator of the claims or the two key witnesses making the claims (Clint Curtis and Mavis Georgalis) before releasing their findings of "no probable cause".
Also in apparent violation of state law, the commission did not bother to examine public documents and email which seemed to directly contradict statements made by Feeney, who was reported to have been interviewed by the commission.
It must also be pointed out that the scope of the "Florida Commission on Ethics" investigation into the charges against Feeney did not even include the "vote-rigging" charges being alleged by Curtis and upon which The Chronicle's story reported.
It was, however, the virtually identical language in both letters that immediately caught our eye, strongly suggesting the direct coordination of this latest legal strategy between Feeney and YEI in a joint and concert effort to suppress reporting of the growing scandal.
Given the years-long tenure of Feeney as YEI's corporate attorney and his personal relationship to his old law partners at his old law firm who still represent YEI, such an attempt to work in concert between the two parties is not difficult to imagine.
That, despite Feeney's recent claims to MSNBC that "his only connection to Yang Enterprises was as an attorney prior to 2002."
As we've previously noted, the 2004 "Tom Feeney for Congress" campaign headquarters are located, even today, inside the YEI Building at 1420 Alafaya Trail, Oviedo, Florida 32765.
Here is a side-by-side look at the virtually identical language in each of the letters sent over the past week to The Seminole Chronicle by attorneys claiming to represent the two different clients...