Just days after Lisa Epstein came up short in her bid to win a term as Clerk of Courts in Palm Beach County, local media released a report (conveniently after the election) about criminal investigations into that office.
State prosecutors are investigating possible criminal wrongdoing involving three Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller employees responsible for maintaining and storing evidence from criminal trials.
Clerk Sharon Bock suspended the members of her office’s evidence department last month and referred the case to the Public Integrity Unit of the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office. Neither Bock nor prosecutors have released details of the suspected wrongdoing, though prosecutors have indicated that the problem potentially involves missing items [...]
Bock confirmed two weeks ago that the employees had been suspended and her office was conducting its own review, but Palm Beach County State Attorney Pete Antonacci said this week the case was under criminal investigation as well. The lead investigator on the case works for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, but is assigned to the state attorney’s public corruption division.
Antonacci said he expects the investigation will wrap up within two weeks. He declined to say whether the office expects to file charges, but did say that his office may recommend changes to how Bock manages the department depending on the outcome of the investigation.
Sharon Bock was Epstein’s opponent in the Clerk of Courts election.
It’s unclear whether the Palm Beach Post intentionally spiked this report until after the election. But the timing is incredibly suspect. And the Post endorsed Bock for the position.
Clearly this is information that could have had a bearing on the election. Under Bock’s care, the evidence unit ripped off valuables, according to this report. And Bock was late to investigate and didn’t disclose the nature of the investigation after the fact.
Bock won in a landslide and had lots of money and support on her side, so I’m not trying to say that this was determinative. But it’s just another example of how things can get tilted in favor of the establishment with relative ease, in this case simply by not releasing key information.