Lee’s note: Here’s a gun-related investigative story I’ve been reporting, which will run in Thursday’s Herald-Tribune.
The story reveals how for years money raised from the sale of spent brass collected at the state-owned Cecil M. Webb shooting range went to two state employees and a felon, rather than to a youth hunting charity as range officials falsely claimed.
This isn’t merely an allegation. We saw it for ourselves when we watched the delivery of $1,000 worth of brass — a purchase we were invited to record.
This story is likely bigger than just the Webb range, since FWC has admitted it had no real policy in place regarding the tons of brass that accumulate at its nine ranges, just a legal opinion that said state employees weren’t supposed to profit from the public’s brass.
I have to thank the H-T’s photo director Mike Lang for all his hard work.
I also have to thank Jordan Williams and Chris Senterfitt, owners of Amendment II Armory. They really stepped up.
Without Chris and Jordan, the brass scheme would likely still be active, and Florida’s young hunters would still be deprived of their due.
I will continue to follow this story, so if any of you have additional information, please contact me at (941) 284-8553 or email@example.com
Here’s the story:
State gun range officials pocketed funds meant for charity
Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 10:12 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 12:59 p.m.
CHARLOTTE COUNTY – The signs on the 55-gallon drums at the Cecil M. Webb Shooting Range say: “Brass recycled in these bins will help fund the Florida Youth Hunt Program.”
But that’s a lie.
Money from the brass is pocketed by two state employees and a felon.
The Webb range, operated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is the busiest public shooting operation in the state, hosting as many as 300 shooters per day, 362 days a year.
Those 100,000-plus customers create a veritable river of spent brass — very valuable spent brass — and Webb is just one of nine ranges in Florida operated by the commission.
A Herald-Tribune investigation has found that instead of going to charity, the money from the recycled brass goes to three men: Glenn Nickell, Webb’s chief range safety officer; his boss, John Weatherholt, who until this week oversaw Webb and two other commission ranges from an office in Lakeland; and Glenn Demoss, an ex-con who does side jobs for Nickell.
Weatherholt resigned after the Herald-Tribune began asking questions.
Weatherholt and Nickell, aided by Demoss, have been selling the brass to a half-dozen metal recyclers throughout Florida and the southern Georgia city of Valdosta. They used to share a small portion of the proceeds with the range staff, but that practice ended years ago after a range staffer told a commission official what was happening.
After word of that practice got out, a commission attorney sent a three-page email to Weatherholt and Nickell — a legal opinion shared with the other ranges — telling them that once a piece of brass hit the ground, it became state property.
Click here to read the rest of the story.