Belvin Perry, Jr. is running as a Democrat nominee for Orange County State Attorney. He will be on the primary ballot on August 18.Perry is the target of a recent “hit mail” campaign. The mailer, paid for by New York and George Soros-funded political activists, falsely alleges:
“While serving as a judge, he reviewed a long list of allegations against Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh: Sexual and racial harassment, manipulating finances, covering up unethical and illegal activities and more.” The mailer continues: “In spite of these claims and multiple witnesses, Belvin Perry gave Rick Singh a free pass…”
The mailer’s claims are unfair and factually incorrect on three levels:
1. Perry was not a judgeat the time he reviewed the allegations against Singh. He was retained as a private attorney to do an independent investigation of complaints by Laverne McGee and Aisha Hassan. His report is dated March 27, 2018. He retired as a judge in 2014. The mailer clearly implies judicial review, impugning his judicial temperament. Instead, Perry conducted a detailed investigation with findings supported by the facts.
2. The long list of allegations against Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh were neither corroborated nor proved. Perry’s report was that “after examining the allegations, taking statements and reviewing documents in the matter (he) could not find the existence of a hostile work environment…nor illegal activity as alleged.”
In the course of the investigation, Perry interviewed the complainants, Rick Singh, and his staff of 12. Everyone gave sworn statements–with the exception of the complainants who requested that their statements not be under oath. The follow-up SA report also noted that one complainant, McGee, invoked her right to remain silent during questioning by their investigator.
So, Perry found that none of the witness statements supported, corroborated or upheld the charges of the complainants.
3. Rick Singh did not get a “free pass.” Perry found there was not a hostile environment created Singh and that the other allegations could not be substantiated by clear convincing evidence. Perry also found no evidencethat any official documents were altered for the purpose of the audit in question. Nor was there evidence any improper expenditures were made with the knowledge they were intentionally improper.
Perry’s findings upheld
A memorandum report by Assistant State Attorneys Melissa Clark and Andrew J. Urbank, corroborated and upheld Perry’s findings. They found there was no evidence to establish criminal activity beyond a reasonable doubt, reaching the same conclusions of investigator Belvin Perry. In the end, according to the Orlando Sentinel, Rick Singh was exonerated as Florida prosecutors announced they would not file criminal charges “after a lengthy review of a state investigation into his conduct in office.”
Digging up old dirt
The mailer, which resembles a supermarket National Enquirer gossip and entertainment piece, also resurrects a 1999 scandal where Perry had a love affair with a court employee. Perry’s former lover was fired from her courthouse job, but won a $65,000 settlement in 1999. Perry, who denied influencing his former lover’s firing said, “I have said it not once but a thousand times, I deeply regret this incident. I apologize profusely.”
Voters apparently forgave him and considered his reputation and performance (as reported by the Orlando Sentinel) as a “leader among Florida’s judges (whose) innovations and cost-cutting programs have saved taxpayers money (while putting away) some of Orlando’s most notorious criminals.”