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Tim Howard
12:00pm - 6:00pm

A LAWSUIT OVER A CONTRACT TO PROVIDE MEDICAL SERVICES AT THE SARASOTA COUNTY JAIL IS HEADED TO TRIAL.  PRISON HEALTH SYSTEMS CONTENDS THAT FORMER SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF BILL BALKWILL SHUT THEM OUT OF THE BIDDING PROCESS BECAUSE OF HIS CLOSE RELATIONSHIP TO EXECUTIVES AT ARMOR CORRECTIONAL HEALTH, WHO WAS AWARDED A THREE YEAR/$9 MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT THE DAY BALKWILL ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE.  ATTORNEYS FOR PRISON HEALTH SYSTEMS CLAIM THAT THEY SUBMITTED THREE BIDS FOR THE PROJECT THAT WERE ALL REJECTED BECAUSE BALKWILL WAS NEGOTIATING WITH ARMOR, WHICH VIOLATED THE COUNTY’S PROCUREMENT POLICY.  THEY ALSO CLAIM THAT THE CEO FOR ARMOR PAID FOR DINNERS FOR BALKWILL AND HIS WIFE, AND THEY TOOK HIM ON AN EXPENSIVE FISHING TRIP DURING THE NEGOTIATIONS.  DEFENSE ATTORNEYS SAY THE DINNERS AND FISHING TRIP ARE NORMAL, AND THEY SAY THAT PRISON HEALTH OFFICIALS DID THE SAME IN THE PAST.  THEY ALSO CLAIM THAT PRISON HEALTH HAD ISSUES WITH STAFF AND BILLING WHEN THEY WERE THE JAIL CONTRACTOR EARLIER IN THE DECADE.  EMAILS BETWEEN BALKWILL AND ARMOR CEO DOYLE MOORE WHICH SHOW THE TWO WERE TALKING ABOUT THE JAIL CONTRACT OUTSIDE OF THE BIDDING PROCESS WILL BE USED AS EVIDENCE, AND A JUDGE HAS RULED THAT PRISON HEALTH ATTORNEYS CAN TELL JURORS ABOUT THOUSANDS OF FILES THAT WERE DELETED BY BOTH BALKWILL AND MOORE WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE.  CRIMINAL CHARGES STILL MAY BE PENDING AGAINST BALKWILL FOR DELETION OF THOSE FILES.