You may not expect Pasco County to have the most trusted politicians in the United States, but you will certainly be surprised to see two mayors appearing in the Pasco County arrest bookings within a month.
First, it Was Mayor Massad
Dale Massad was the Mayor of Port Richey until February 2019. While in office he was accused of practicing medicine without having a license. He was also investigated for insurance fraud. Although Massad once practiced legally his license was revoked in 1992 when he was found guilty of unprofessionalism in a case of a three-year-old child who died when Massad was treating him.
However, the police got a report that Massad continued practicing. Therefore, the police set up an undercover operation with people faking different ailments. Massad ignorantly treated them in his home. There were at least five people who can testify that Massad treated them for various medical issues in his home between late 2018 and early 2019. Having got enough evidence, the police got a warrant to arrest Massad and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team arrived at his home. Surprisingly, the Mayor went for his gun and shot at the deputies that came with the team. He was consequently arrested, charged to court suspended by the Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, and featured in the Pasco County mugshots.
Then it Was Acting Mayor Rowe
Twenty days after the arrest of Dale Massade, the deputy mayor Terrence Rowe who was appointed as the acting Mayor was also arrested for police intimidation and unlawful use of a two-way communication system to facilitate crime. During his brief period as an acting Mayor, Rowe had praised Massad and condemned the police for using too much force to arrest him. After his arrest, the state Governor equally suspended him making Port Richey lose two Mayors within 20 days.
But Sheriff Short Was More Notorious
The history of politicians and government officials committing crimes in Pasco County has dated back to the 1980s when John M. Short was the Sheriff. He was accused of various atrocities including targeting oppositions and people against his budget increase demand. In 1981, Short established operation Clean Up Pasco (CUP) in which he put some people on a special watch list for narcotics. Everyone on the list happened to be those that had opposed his bid for more funds. The operation ended without any police arrest.
It was also alleged that Short used an underage girl for investigation. The girl was to offer sex in exchange for drugs. More worrisome was the fact that the mother of the girl had no idea that her daughter was being used by the Sheriff whom the mother had turned to for assistance in finding and bringing her back home.
Sheriff Short was accused of favoring some staff and opposing some. Many staff filed fake police documents and were not investigated whereas some deputies were fired just because they took a coffee break that was not authorized.
An expert review concluded that Short destroyed vital evidence in two separate police investigations. He reported an obvious murder case as suicide and employed at least 53 staff that had criminal records.
After a series of investigations, the National Sheriff’s Association recommended changes in the management of the Pasco County Sheriff Department. Short, was suspended investigated, and indicted. Some of his staff were also indicted. A few days after his indictment, Florida State Governor, Bob Graham removed him from office.
Pasco Commissioner Chairman, Doyle, and Wife Also Indicted for Bribery
Sheriff Short was not the only government official that Governor Graham had to remove, so was the case of the Pasco County Commissioner chairman, Barry Doyle. The commission chairman was indicted on 21counts of bribery. He was accused of collecting bribes from a developer to influent project conditions, and from a contractor to approve his asphalt plant among many other instances. The total amount Doyle pocketed from the various bribes was over $40,000. He pleaded guilty to five of the charges against him. He was removed by the state Governor and sentenced to three years imprisonment.
In an unrelated case, Doyle’s wife also pleaded guilty to stealing over $14,000.