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"I really believe the connections to that insurance company owned by Dugger and the visiting park canteens will lead to some real dirty deeds - like Rolex watches given to Clark and his brother at Taylor CI." ~An Employee

DOC: Clerical error led to hiring lapse

Sun staff writers

TRENTON - The state Department of Corrections is blaming a clerical error for what some suspected was preferential treatment in the hiring of the brother of a top prison official.

That official, Allen Clark, 40, resigned his $94,000-a-year post as a regional director for the prison system in August. The FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating the department's upper echelons, apparently focusing on steroid use by prison employees and possible embezzlement schemes.

Clark's brother, Rick Clark, 30, of Trenton, a sheriff's deputy, was hired March 25 as an inspector at Taylor Correctional Institution. Rick Clark got the $37,166-a-year position in March despite not being certified as a correctional officer. He also had no prison work experience, although his new job authorized him to investigate other correctional officers for allegations of offenses such as use of force or alleged misconduct.

Three officers, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, said it appeared to them that Clark was hired over other more experienced individuals because he was Allen Clark's brother. Allen Clark is a longtime friend of DOC Secretary James Crosby and had quickly moved up the career ladder with Crosby serving as his mentor.

Ten weeks after starting work as an investigator, Rick Clark was demoted to an entry level, $27,888-a-year corrections officer job.

"It was a human error on both ends of the deal - clerical errors," said department spokesman Robby Cunningham. Asked if Allen Clark's position in the department influenced Rick Clark's hiring, Cunningham said, "Based on what I know, it had nothing to do with it. This was an unfortunate error - some bad timing."

Rick Clark, a 1993 Trenton High School graduate, previously worked for the Gilchrist County sheriff. Clark, who is a cousin of Sheriff David Turner's wife, Patsy, was hired in October 1999 as a 911 dispatcher after working as a patient-care assistant at Shands at the University of Florida in Gainesville for about three years.

The department's employment records show Clark continued to work as a dispatcher while attending law enforcement classes. After being certified by the state as a law enforcement officer, Clark applied for and was given a court bailiff deputy job in October 2002. In August 2004, Clark was transferred to the patrol division, where he worked as a deputy until March 15. His performance reviews in the department were favorable.

Corrections officials said that when Clark filled out an application with the department, he listed his six years of employment at Gilchrist County but there was no breakdown of how many years he had spent as a certified law enforcement officer. Prison regulations required him to have 4 more months of practical experience as a certified officer to be eligible for the investigator job.

Last week, Clark took the state test to become a certified correctional officer. The results are expected within the next two weeks.

Exactly how the situation was discovered was not clear, but Cunningham said Rick Clark was demoted because of his lack of experience and has arranged to pay back the extra salary.

Rick Clark did not respond to requests for comment on his situation.

The FBI and FDLE have declined to explain the investigation into Rick Clark's brother, Allen Clark.

But during an FDLE investigation into a fight instigated by Allen Clark in April with a former DOC worker, investigators told the victim that Clark and his superiors were part of a much larger investigation being led by a statewide prosecutor. They said they were eager to remove Allen Clark from his job and cited his violence and intimidation of others.

The victim in the fight at a Tallahassee softball party declined to press charges despite the FDLE investigators' pleas, saying he was afraid that Clark would transfer his wife from her DOC position to a post far away from their Panhandle home.

Karen Voyles can be reached at (352) 486-5058 or


An 'unfortunate error'

Gainesville Sun Editorial
October 01. 2005 6:01AM

In Response to:
DOC: Clerical error led to hiring lapse

Oh, so that's it.

It turned out to be "clerical errors" that led to the brother of a top Department of Corrections official getting a $37,166-a-year prison inspector job, a position that he seems to have been wholly unqualified to hold.

It was a "human error," you see, that Rick Clark - a one-time patient-care assistant turned 911 dispatcher turned court bailiff turned (very briefly) Gilchrist County deputy - was given responsibility for sniffing out abuse and misconduct at Taylor Correctional Institute.

Despite the fact that he had virtually no corrections experience and little investigative or law-enforcement experience.

"This was an unfortunate error," explained DOC spokesman Robby Cunningham, "some bad timing."

Well, we certainly agree with the bad timing part.

After all, Clark's older brother, Alan Clark, had himself enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks - from correctional officer to regional director - despite a spotty personnel record involving questionable conduct ranging from off-the-job brawling to allegations of improper use of funds and equipment.

And so far as we can see, Alan Clark had only one thing going for him as he clawed his way to the top: A long friendship with his "mentor," Corrections Secretary James Crosby.

We say he "had" that going for him because Clark the elder is no longer regional director. He abruptly resigned his position recently, just as Floridians learned that the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating the DOC for reasons that remain unclear at this writing.

So no question, this is really bad timing for allegations of nepotism at the DOT to rear its ugly head.

Which brings us back to Rick Clark, the kid brother.

Clark the younger has been demoted to a $27,888-a-year job as a corrections officer. This is due, no doubt, to the DOC's timely discovery of the "clerical errors" that led to his erroneous hiring in the first place.

Certainly it had nothing to do with the fact that, since his big brother jumped ship in the wake of a corruption investigation, the running of the DOC is now coming under more intense scrutiny, not only from law enforcement but from the news media.

So let's get this straight once and for all.

"Based on what I know," spokesman Cunningham told The Sun this week, Rick Clark's kinship to Alan Clark "had nothing to do with" the brother being employed at a job for which he had absolutely no qualifications.

Of course, one might reason that if nepotism and favoritism really were going on at DOC, the department's official spokesman would be the last to know it. The one employee who has regular contact with the press is, after all, the one employee who most needs to maintain deniability.

Even so, we are relieved to learn that, based on what the DOC's mouthpiece knows, cronyism is not rampant at the Department of Corrections.

That it's not who you know at DOC that matters. It's what you know.

Which raises another interesting question: Exactly what did the brothers Clark know that made them so inexplicably invaluable to the Department of Corrections?

No doubt, Gov. Jeb Bush is going to want to ask his DOC chief, James Crosby, that very question.

The Assistant Warden and Clark's Kid Brother Rick

We need to go after a guy name John Griffis.  He was the Asst. Warden at Taylor when all the crap went down over there.  He even let Clark's brother, Rick (the one hired as an inspector at Taylor), live in the state house he, John, was supposed to live in.  When all this hit he quickly moved out.  This is against the rules as well.

Griffis will say he stayed in the house, but he didn't. That's why Clark was hired at Taylor, so he would have a house, which he was not entitled to and so Griffis could look out for him.

QUESTION:  If anyone knows about Assistant Warden John Griffis allowing Clark's brother to live in his state house at Taylor" please contact me, Kay Lee?   

John Griffis,  Asst. Warden at Taylor CI was involved with the employees' club paying softball players, like Shipley and he hired several to work OPS in construction so they could play softball.  Griffis is real tight with Crosby and Clark.  He is reportedly real dirty. 

When we get the cell phone records from Taylor, we will pay close attention to his. 


1.  Is John Griffis related to the ex-FSP murdering guard from Valdes fame, Little Jason Griffis?

2.  Where does John Griffis work now?

Baker CI - He just transferred to Baker a few months ago.

3.  What is OPS construction?

When there is new construction (new prison/bldgs being built) the FDOC usually hires temporary employees, like electricians and carpenters, to augment their permanent staff.  Once the construction is completed they are let go. 

These people are suppose to be skilled tradesman - unless you just want to hire some softball players. 

NOTE:  Ask for a list of OPS employees at Taylor over the past 2 years.  Once this is received, ask for their timesheets.  Then ask for Taylor's softball team roster and see how many of them just happen to be OPS.  Some of them may not have timesheets, because they never worked, but they were issued id cards.

QUESTION: How does a classification officer became an assistant warden? Is it possible his wife is Crosby's niece?