Bill Dillon's about to become a rich man at taxpayer expense, and we don't begrudge him a penny. If you spent 27 years in prison for a murder you didn't commit, you'd want some coin, too (see "Free Bill Dillon!," July 31).
On Nov. 14 Dillon got out on bail. On Dec. 10, the prosecutors announced they wouldn't seek a retrial (see Happytown™, Nov. 20). Since Florida awards $50,000 per year of wrongful incarceration — up to $2 million, because that's where "sorry about ruining your life" ends — Dillon will collect roughly $1.35 million.
Dillon says he also plans to sue Brevard County, and we kinda hope he ends up owning the place, or at least Cocoa Beach since he probably wouldn't want the rest. After all, Brevard prosecutors not only drew out the DNA testing, but they also mounted a dishonest case against him: a star witness who was screwing the lead detective, a fraud of a dog handler, a jailhouse snitch who got out of a rape charge for implicating Dillon, an "eyewitness" who was legally blind, etc. Get 'em, Bill.
So, ever wonder what's going through Joe Newscaster's mind while he's knocking on Cindy Anthony's door again? Well, if you're Central Florida News 13's Evrod Cassimy, it's the sweet percolations of sex-dripped New Jack awesomeness, that's what.
Cassimy seems to be using his fairly credible position at the barely credible network as a steppingstone, moonlighting in earnest with plaintive come-ons meant to steal your panties and make you revisit that dusty Al B. Sure collection you lost under your bed. When he's not singing songs (like his E-V-R-O-D—spelling first single, "Everything Evrod," backed with a little stereotype ditty called "Hypnotiq"), he's playing entrepreneur on his website, www.everythingevrod.com: selling autographed photos of himself, hawking his iTunes store, listing appearances and writing amazing message board posts like, "So I got to check out the behind the scenes action of Jeopardy! It was AMAZING! They are filming here in Madison `he moved here from Wisconsin in July` on Friday and I went a little early and did a story about the setup. Then THIS THURSDAY I have an exclusive sit down interview with Alex Trebek himself! I'm pretty damn pumped about it I tell you!" And we're pumped about you, Evrod!
Bill Lutz, the director of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, is stepping down at the end of the month after (a nonconsecutive) two decades as Central Florida's morality enforcer. Here's our tribute to his fine police career (cue Green Day's "Time of Your Life"):
l In the late 1980s, Lutz's MBI fouled up a gay prostitution sting by encouraging johns to have sex with the alleged hookers on video. Later, he decided the images were too "traumatic" for MBI agents to sit through and couldn't be shown to a jury. Case dismissed.
l In November 2002, two days before Thanksgiving, the MBI arrested three women who worked at Jerry's General Store and charged them with distributing obscenity, then went to extraordinary lengths to keep the women, one of whom was 75, locked up over the Thanksgiving weekend.
l Over six months in 2000, the MBI blew $193,000 pursuing racketeering charges against Rachel's Gentlemen's Club (ultimately, the club paid a $620,000 fine). During the investigation, MBI agents paid strippers $7,000 to make out and perform cunnilingus on each other, bragged about their erections and illegally videotaped suspects' conversations with their attorneys, which Lutz may have known about in advance.
l In 2004, after another six-month investigation, MBI agents raided Cleo's, a strip club on Orange Blossom Trail. According to several club dancers, the two undercover MBI agents groped strippers throughout the investigation.
l In 2007, MBI agents arrested three Orlando Weekly employees and charged this newspaper with racketeering for the make-believe crime of selling ads to pretend hookers, though neither Lutz nor anyone else at the MBI could figure out exactly what laws the salespeople broke. The charges were all dropped.
We hope you had the time of your life, Bill.
The perfect present for the sexually active guy or girl in your life? A gift certificate for products and services at Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, of course. Whether your thoughtfulness buys venereal disease testing ($60 teens, $90 adults), birth control ($390 for a vasectomy), morning-after pills ($35) or an abortion ($440), nothing says "I wanna stuff your stocking" like a surprise from PPGO. You can buy them online at www.ppgo.org or by phone, and PPGO will even mail your certificates out to your sweetie just in time to "celebrate" Christmas.
One of the best things about this election year was watching earnest little acronym ACORN tossed into the national limelight as public enemy No. 1 for the wingnut brigade. Those pesky community organizers were so in the tank for wanting poor people and minorities to vote that they broke rules, lied and were communists who would eat your kids if they were covered in barbecue sauce.
In the end our friends at ACORN became a better, stronger organization and the wingnuts were sent home crying.
According to an end-of-year wrap-up e-mail, in Florida alone the nonpartisan (wink!) group registered 152,000 voters over a span of just eight months, they knocked on 60,000 Central Florida doors four times (240,000 knocks) in their 10-day get-out-the-vote campaign, and they huffed and puffed and blew away the media charges that they were plotting a conspiracy when the truth was that they just don't pay very well.
Apparently the experience got them high, because they're already saying, "We assure you that ACORN has emerged stronger, better and more determined than ever to continue our work to empower those whose voices must be heard. We look forward to working with you as we already begin to prepare for the next election cycle."
What? This is going to happen again?
Oops! Last week, while rolling our eyes through Council Watch, we overlooked a Very Important Fact with regard to the budgeting shell game that is the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center. We reported that one particular agenda item that appeared to throw an additional $2.8 million onto the pecuniary arts fire was in fact a sign from God that the Pin-Drop Palladium™ was getting more expensive.
Well, a certain Rosie Stober, who was writing "on behalf of the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center," took e-mail issue with our assertion and set us straight: "The $2.8 million is a reallocation of funds that are already in the budget. These funds are being applied to the contract for design architect Barton Myers Associates' sub-consultant TPC/Artec from funds previously allocated for the contract with production architect HKS."
Sorry. We can get a little doomsday.