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Something limped in yesterday from Stephen Freer of the now infamous Tugboat Tilly, presently sitting on the bottom of Key West’s shipping channel:
Stephen Freer on Tugboat Tilly
above, Tilly 4 days before she sunk; below, sunk Tilly
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2014 09:00:49 -0400
This Test email came through, my earlier offer still stands for you to write me a story about all of this Tilly business, starting from the beginning (where you came into the Tilly story) and going to the end (where you are now with the Tilly story). Please write it in a way any 3-rd grade should be able to follow. Many people today seem to read at that level. Thanks. Sloan
This came back:
Subject: Will do! But i need a few square feet! Know of any?
Then this came:
Sloan, i would happily depart this treacherous rock today,
but i must conduct the multi-million lawsuit and restore TugTilly.
However, it is very dangerous to be in this policestate without
a few private square feet.
Can you think of a backyard where i might be safe from the police?
Begin forwarded message:
From: Stephen Freer <email@example.com>
Date: March 21, 2014 10:53:25 AM EDT
To: “Editor@TheBluePaper.com” <Editor@TheBluePaper.com>
Arnaud Girard summons storm troopers to imprison Stephen Freer.
The crime?…taking refuge during heavy rainstorm of March 6,
in the wide- open-doors building at Elizabeth and Eaton, currently
The charge?…a ” felony” —trespassing at a construction site.
Two weeks later, March 20, the Court rules “no action” —the charge is dropped.
Freer used the two weeks to investigate the operation at the Monroe County Jail
and will be publishing ” The Book ” !
You want a piece of this, Arnaud, or do you want to remain the ” nazi ” villain ?
I replied, not seeing the forward to Arnaud and the Blue Paper:
Hi, Steve –
See my just-sent reply to your Test email.
At this time, I don’t see you are in any more danger from the Key West police than any other homeless person living outside and not staying nights at KOTS.
I feel the Blue Paper has put a lot of heat on the county government, the Coast Guard and the people who sold you the boat and helped, or made, you move it. I think you probably have some peculiar although not entirely friendly sympathy among the populace.
I just wish the Tilly had gone down in the middle of the channel, which would have stop cruise ships from entering Key West until the Tilly was removed by somebody, if ever removed, given all the dodging of derelict vessels responsibility now underway at flank speed.
I know of no one who will give you shelter on their land. I rent a room in a home and cannot help you. After the flap over you staying at Arnaud and Naja’s home being redone on the corner of Elizabeth and Eaton Streets, I don’t see them wanting to get you out of the roving homeless harassment police detail’s sights. What’s your side of that part of your story?
Having practiced law in Alabama, based on all I have read so far in the Blue Paper, and from my faint recollections of the snippets you first sent to me, I can’t say I think you have a multi-million dollar lawsuit against anyone other than perhaps yourself, assuming you had no large boat or seafaring experience. But I say that not having heard your entire story from beginning to end, from you. A story I would have asked you to write down, if you had come to me for help when I practiced law.
Then came photos, some with text, some not, some upside down, some right side up:
Mark Woods, dock master, at right, attaching outboard motors on Tilly?
Marina thought this would qualify Tug as being self-propelled. Mark Woods removed all of this later.
Mark woods towing Tilly
Engine room perfect pristine
Leased dock 2K / month-Jan 25. They commandeered/abducted boat Feb 21,
against my wishes , against my will. Diesel mechanics were scheduled to give
Tilly complete check-up that weekend. Dock master Mark Woods informed me
emphatically, repeatedly, that police were on their way to evict me from the marina and
the boat would be seized and sold for scrap. Since the marina had brought police several times to evict guests and mechanics, I was fearful. They also had summoned Coast Guard several times, claiming Tilly was leaking oil and taking on water. CG found no evidence for these allegations.
Woods said he was towing Tug to mooring field by Fleming Key.
I sat in the boat, offering no resistance, as they pulled it away from the dock.
Tilly still had 3 days in her contract. The marina had initiated the court eviction process,
yet the marina unlawfully dragged my boat away.
Woods said his boat was overheating. He swam over to Tilly, attached the tow rope to the anchor and cut it loose. He asked for water to cool his motor, taking all I had.
I asked to come aboard his boat and return to shore. He said, throw over your backpack and swim over. I sensed malice and declined. They left.
An hour plus later, SeaTow in New York called, saying they had received an anonymous
tip that my number needed help. However, without a credit card, they wouldn’t get involved.
It is my understanding of the law that the last agent of propulsion is responsible
for abandoning a vessel that lacks autonomous power.
SI Marina Village, worth about $200 million, has the legal obligation to raise TugTilly
and restore it and replace all my ruined possessions.
I still had not yet seen the forwarded email to Arnaud and the Blue Paper when I replied three different times this morning:
I replied to:
“Mark Woods, dock master, at right, attaching outboard motors on Tilly?
“Marina thought this would qualify Tug as being self-propelled. Mark Woods removed all of this later.”
And you believed that? Seriously? Not a sincere question.
I replied to:
“Engine room perfect pristine”
So, did you crank up the engine, did you have a marine mechanic check out the engine? Did you even know how to crank up the engine?
I replied to text narrative:
Steve, this is not what I asked you to write up. Twice now, I asked you to write what happened, starting at the beginning and going to the end. And, I asked for your side of the story about your being arrested for trespass at Arnaud and Naja’s house on Elizabeth and Eaton Streets. I, and on behalf of others who might read our correspondence, am investigating you in the way that I would have investigated buying the Tilly, if I had been interested in her. I imagine my readers would investigate you and the Tilly similarly, if they were in my position. So far, the investigation is not going well for you. So far, I can’t imagine anyone who reads and sees what you have provided to me, and who saw and read what the Blue Paper reported on you and the Tilly, would care to get involved with you. Sloan
This came back:
Is there something toxic in the water you people are drinking?
The mendacity, malice, pure evil of this corrupt rock is breathtaking!
The Fascist mind-set reflected in your writing, for example.
Investigation…? Don’t bother me.
Me to Freer:
Bother you? I did not start this correspondence. Apologies, I only just now noticed your forward to Arnaud and the Blue Paper. It appears you had no permission to be on Arnaud and Naja’s job site, and from the police incident report, reproduced below, it seems you behaved beautifully when the Key West police arrived:
Key West Police Department Date Report Prepared
Date 03/06/2014 20:51
Case # 01-14-001098
On Thursday, March 6, 2014 at approximately 2030 hours, I (Ofc. Stutz) was dispatched to 630 Eaton St. for a report of a subject trespassing on a posted construction site. On arrival, I met with the owner of the property, Arnaud Girard D Albissin, who told me there was a male subject sleeping inside the building. Girard D Albissin stated he woke the subject and asked him to leave the property but the subject refused. Girard D Albissin stated the subject did not have permission to be on the property.
I observed the building was surrounded by construction materials and tools, which were easily visible as you approached the residence. At the door of the residence, I observed a plastic white container marked as follows,” WARNING Designated construction site. Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Inside the box were permit and construction documents. Approximately 5 feet from the sign, I observed a white male, later identified as Stephen Freer, laying on a cot surrounded by his personal belongings.
I spoke to Freer and identified myself as a Police Officer. Freer stated he did not care and was trying
to sleep. I advised Freer he was committing a felony by continuing to trespass on the construction site, even after he was given the opportunity to leave by the owner. Freer stated, “Go to hell pig!” and remained in his sleeping bag. Ofc. Helfner, Ofc. Kouri and Sgt. Biskup then arrived on scene. I asked
Freer to get out of his sleeping bag and get dressed. Freer complied, but while doing so stated “Why don’t you leave me alone you Nazi’s, you fucking swine, I was just trying to sleep.
I provided Girard D Albissin with a case number for this incident and advised him a copy of the report would be available at the Key West Police Department, Records Section.
I placed Freer into custody for violation of the following Florida State Statute:
F.S.S. 810.09(2)(d)(1)Trespass on property other than structure or conveyance:
Freer did trespass on a construction site that was legally posted and identified in substantially the following manner:
“THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED CONSTRUCTION SITE AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY.”
I photographed the sign posted and the adjacent area where Freer was located and entered the photographs into Key West Police Property and Evidence.
I placed Freer into my patrol car and transported him to Monroe County Jail without incident.
Freer’s bags and personal items were entered into Key West Police Property and Evidence as prisoner
End of Narrative: 1
3 of 3
I’d have to see a transcript of the judge’s findings/order for myself to understand why you were release from jail.
As for toxic, so far from your and my correspondence yesterday and today, I am left feeling even more strongly that anyone who engages you does so at his/her own risk.
I can understand why you were a total failure as a lawyer with your fascist proclivities.
I wrote back:
I hardly hold you totally at fault: it appears the Tilly never should have been sold or delivered to you; nor should you have been made to move it in its run down condition; nor should it have been moved; nor was the outboard attached to a wooden structure built on the rear of the Tilly sufficient safe, propulsion. I don’t know if “contributory negligence” applies to a purchaser of a vessel, who does not have the vessel checked out before buying it. and who has no operating experience with such a vessel. I imagine there very well might be a good lawsuit by one or more local, state or federal agencies for damages against you and others who caused and/or contributed to the Tilly now sitting at the bottom of Key West’s shipping channel. I personally will be ticked off to learn you have a cause of action for damages. In all events, as directed in a dream before dawn today, starring Naja Girard, in case anyone, including a plaintiff lawyer, wishes to reach you, Stephen, I am publishing all of our correspondence from yesterday and today, including your email address and phone number.
A perhaps distantly-related editorial in today’s Key West Citizen – www.keysnews.com – I added pic:
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Binge drinking stats worth consideration
Key West audiences enjoyed a fine performance recently by the Broadway star Mandy Patinkin. He is a larger-than-life performer, and one of those gifted singer-actors able to fill an entire stage and evening. However, probably most of the audience will remember best his comments about the drug-induced death of his friend, the fine actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Patinkin learned of this loss as he arrived in Florida. He spoke passionately to the audience that he wished he had done more with Hoffman to convince him that life has its challenges, its sorrows and disappointments, and that we all need to learn to absorb them and learn from them rather than seek alcohol and drugs to numb our pains and anxieties.
We should expect unhappy events and relationship problems, and work to cope with them rather than check out of the situation with the help of various chemicals. There is a lot to be said for human endurance of the painful and difficult, and moving on to better times without the enormous risks posed by dependence on alcohol and drugs.
The Monroe County Health Department surveys many aspects of the health of our citizens. The 2013 report points out that our county registers up to four times more active alcoholic beverage licenses than that of three other Florida counties with similar populations.
Heavy or binge drinking is more prevalent in all ages, and for both sexes, than state averages. Interestingly, bing drinking for the age group 18-44 at 19.5 percent is close to the state average of 20.9 percent.
However, the fact that some 24.6 percent of Keys women self-report heavy alcohol consumption is in marked contrast to the state average of 10.5 percent. This relatively high level of imbibing by women drives the increased consumption levels in older age groups as well. The impact on the children of these women can only be conjectured.
It is not the role of the newspaper world to preach about alcohol intake, especially since the profession has had a long cultural relationship with enjoying a few after deadlines. And Key West has a long history with bars and the concomitant good times expected in a tropical resort town.
Nevertheless, the outlying alcohol consumption levels for our residents, coupled with Patinkin’s wisdom, are to be pondered.
Our residents climb behind the wheel of a car at a rate of more than 4 percent after consuming too many alcoholic beverages; the comparable state rate is 1.9 percent, and our alcohol-related vehicle crashes reflect this intake.
Patinkin has a point; we who love the Keys should work to man and woman up and deal with life’s vicissitudes with grace, and think about this in the context of how much we drink.
— The Citizen
A prominent Key West citizen, on important city government boards, once told several people, including me, that he was a binge drinker.
At a candidate forum in 2009, after then Mayor Morgan McPherson
lamented how hard it was on him to spend so much time on mayor stuff, which took him away from his family, I asked him, if he was not reelected, would he then spend less time in bars and more time with his family? The room went dead silent. Morgan paused, thought, said, “Sometimes a man needs a drink.”
Before that, one of Morgan’s and other Key West Conch movers and shakers buddies, Louie La Torre, left a drinking afternoon and night and headed up US 1 to where he lived and then turned around and headed back down US 1 on the wrong side of the road and head-on-ed a car driven by a woman who was rendered a life-long cripple with permanent brain damage. At Louie’s criminal trial, Morgan and other movers and shakers testified that Louie did not seem intoxicated to them. It took a long time for the local justice to put La Torre in prison, and his sentence was paltry in relation to what he did to the woman driving the other car on her side of the road.
Booze is Key West narcotic of choice, and drinking it is Key West’s national pastime. Drinking booze drives the Key West economy. Only if you are homeless are you punished legally for drinking booze in public. All other boozers get free passes, as long as they don’t get into a fight, and get caught, or get into a vehicle and drive somewhere, and get caught.
I continue to ponder if there is a correlation between Key West reportedly having more bars per capita, and more churches per capita, than any other city anywhere on this planet. My pondering might be facetious.
Yesterday evening, I saw County Judge Mark Jones
at former State Attorney Dennis Ward’s
St. Patrick’s Day party. I told Mark that I’d heard he had drawn an opponent, Don Barrett, whom I had liked when he worked for Dennis, before going into private practice. But it had really bothered me to hear recently that Don is being backed by Key West Conchs (people born here), because he had presided over the prosecution of former Superintendent of Schools Randy Acevedo, who had pleaded guilty to covering up his wife Monica’s theft of several hundred thousand dollars of School District money. Monica had worked for the School District and had pretty much answered to Randy. Monica got 8 years in prison after a jury convicted her some time after Randy pleaded out and got probation.
Randy was a Conch, and a close friend of Morgan McPherson, whose parents are Conchs, but Morgan was born elsewhere and then his parents moved back to Key West and Morgan grew up in this area and was viewed as a Conch by Conchs.
It’s my impression, shared by others, that some Key West Conchs, or maybe a lot, view themselves as entitled to different treatment under the law from everyone else. Key West Conchs rallied together and cast enough votes in 2012 to defeat Dennis Ward in his bid for reelection that year. The Conchs did that because Dennis had prosecuted the Acevedos. Especially, he had prosecuted Randy Acevedo.
Yesterday, a woman friend asked me about swimming in the water around Key West.
I said, not advised, local divers know if you have nick or scratch and go into the water, you can easily catch MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant form of staph bacteria. I said physicians down here will tell you MRSA is pandemic in Key West, and in the Keys. There are strep and other bacteria which also behave like MRSA, a flesh-eating bacteria which is fatal if not treated, and is very difficult to treat because of its resistance to antibiotics. Some pretty flesh-eating bacteria pictures in various stages of progression, which I kinda doubt you ever will see in any Key West or Florida Keys tourist brochures or ads.
Maybe I might ask Mayor Craig Cates about that at a candidate forum this year.
My oldest first Bashinsky cousin Leo sent today:
Bash-Thought I’d send you zinger you could use in a debate sometime.
“Unfortunately, if I were to agree with my opponent, we’d both be wrong.”
On a slightly more fun topic, in yesterday’s Key West Citizen was an article about next year’s Fantasy Fest inviting art entries for that frolic. Here’s my entry, she hangs from the top left-hand point.
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West