Pensacola, Florida
Thursday August 21st 2014

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Outtakes 7/11/13

Can’t Make This Up

My friends in other parts of the country often write about this paper’s reporting. They wonder how could such a small place have so many weird political characters and antics that seem more like characters in an Elmore Leonard novel than real people.

My reply is we can’t make this stuff up.

The city administrator, a Harvard graduate, lawyer and retired Marine lieutenant colonel, hands off an envelope with confidential city documents concerning a complaint against his enemy, the former chief of staff, to former City Councilwoman Maren Deweese. Reportedly the envelope was addressed to me and delivered to her while she was celebrating her birthday at World of Beer.

It gets goofier. The complaint was printed from the city administrator’s office computer and had his name at the top. Though he later denied he had anything to do with the confidential document being released, having his name on the header clearly pointed him out as the culprit.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s public information officer apparently released to several of the mayor’s critics a Feb. 4 memo regarding an employee’s transfer and alleged dating relationship between the chief of staff and another employee. He appeared to have gotten the records using a fake identity—heatherc115@yahoo.com.

We found through a public records request on the morning of the state attorney’s office’s report that one of the IP addresses used by heatherc115@yahoo.com matched the same address that the PIO had used with other fake identities to earlier bash the chief of staff and city council.  We learned that the PIO was on yahoo.com when heatherc115.com sent one of her emails to the city.

Adding to the bizarre nature of all of this, Councilman Larry Johnson’s girlfriend is Heather Coleman. It appears the PIO used her name to cover up his misdeeds.

Then we have the strange case of Rachel Terry, who often criticized on various community blogs and websites Councilwoman Sherri Myers and other female community leaders, such as Diane Mack, Lara McKnight, Georgia Blackmon and Barbara Mayall. According to her Facebook page, she was active, had a large family and even enjoyed dining at Jackson’s Steakhouse.

We checked her IP address. Rachel Terry is Sam Hall, former city council president. The photos were from a hiking magazine. Remarkably the only council member that Rachel Terry ever praised was Sam Hall.

No, I can’t make this up. Maybe Walker Holmes, our fictional reporter, needs to take a look into this. The only problem is the truth is much stranger than any fiction.