The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, hired Coral Gables-based Bolton Investigations Inc. to investigate safety and security issues.

Teamsters’ probe reveals possible issues with outsourcing Collier schools’ custodians

The bids haven’t come in yet and the contract hasn’t been awarded, but the group that represents 250 Collier County custodians wants the school district to rethink its decision to inquire about outsourcing jobs.

They say it isn’t safe.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has a local chapter that represents Collier’s custodians, hired Coral Gables-based Bolton Investigations Inc. about two weeks ago to investigate safety and security issues as they relate to previous operations and employment practices of GCA Services Group.

GCA Services Group is the company that offered to provide an estimate of how outsourcing custodial services could save the Collier County school district money. The company came back with an estimate that showed the district could save more than $3 million by outsourcing its custodial services. Once Collier Superintendent Dennis Thompson saw that, he asked district officials to send out a request for proposals.

Earlier this month, the district had a pre-bid meeting for those companies interested in bidding on the district’s contract for custodial services. Thirty companies from Florida and elsewhere came to the meeting, including GCA Services.

David White, communications director for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said the investigation is ongoing, though he did not say if the union was looking at all of the companies.

Randy Pines, chief negotiator for Teamsters Local 79, said GCA was chosen by the Teamsters because they were “given a head start.”

“We want people to stand up and take notice,” he said. “We want to lift the veil of secrecy that is being made in regards to this particular decision.”

The report by Bolton Investigations, which was performed by retired Coral Gables police Lt. Pablo Garcia, only focuses on GCA. The report’s preliminary findings focus on three incidents between Oct. 31, 2006 and April 2008:

 A GCA Services employee working at Huntingdon High School in Huntingdon, Tenn., was accused of raping a 16-year-old student in a closet during school hours. The employee, after he was arrested, was found to have a criminal record with charges of aggravated battery, assault and theft of property.

 A GCA Services employee and registered sex offender, who was working as a custodian at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Rhome, Texas, was found dead in a school locker room. The employee, who had been convicted of indecent exposure in 2006, was found with his pants down and a bag over his head. Investigators determined the cause of death was accidental asphyxiation. The employee passed a background check because he used an alias.

 A custodian hired by the company working at La Coste Elementary School in La Coste, Texas, consented to a search of his home when questioned about a new laptop computer, a Palm Pilot and a stereo reported stolen from the elementary school where he worked. Police recovered those items, along with other campus property, including office supplies, stools, glitter, crayons, paper towels and boxes of tissue. A background check revealed the employee had a 1996 burglary arrest.

“The above stated cases relating to GCA Services’ employment practices indicate the need for concern and careful examination of any decision to contract out services that involve intimate contact with children in schools,” according to the report. “Further research is needed with regard to turnover rates, labor supply and competitive wages, training programs and personnel policies.”

Sarah Poteet, the mother of a Palmetto Ridge High School student, said money shouldn’t matter when it comes to protecting her child.

“Our custodians know our kids, the parents and the teachers. They are part of the educational system,” she said. “They say it takes a village. Our village is bring torn apart.”

Thompson said GCA shouldn’t be faulted for the employees, it should be the school districts, for hiring those employees.

“When a company provides outsourcing services, they send you a list of employees and the district conducts the drug tests and the fingerprinting,” he said. “It is the district who determines who is eligible to work in the schools, not the outsourcing company.”

Thompson said Collier County has cases of employee misconduct and cited his firing of former Barron Collier High School Principal Ron Miller as an example.

Florida law requires that contractual personnel who are permitted access on school grounds must meet stringent screening requirements. Those convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude “shall not be employed, engaged to provide services or serve in any position requiring direct contact with students.”

Employees hired by the district must submit to a background and security check required by Florida law and the district’s request for proposals. The district can deny someone employment if they have been convicted of an offense listed in section 435.04 of the Florida Statutes. Those offenses include murder, battery and sexual misconduct.

However, state law allows each district to make a case-by-case determination if the act or acts revealed in a background check disqualifies an individual from employment with the district.

Thompson has said that, should the district decide to outsource its custodial services, many of the district’s current employees could be rehired by the new company.

“I know it is an emotional issue and there is a potential for some employees to lose their jobs,” he said. “But this is a case where the union is publicly making their case to discredit the process.”

Thompson challenged the union’s assertion that the district refused to meet with union officials, saying no one from the Teamsters has contacted him to meet and discuss the outsourcing issue.

Bids are expected to be submitted this afternoon, Thompson said. They will be opened Tuesday and evaluated by a committee that consists of Chief Operations Officer Michele LaBute, principals from elementary, middle and high schools and the district’s director of purchasing. Thompson said if the committee believes there is a cost savings, it will make a recommendation to him.

“We have done everything in a fair, clear cut and transparent manner,” Thompson said. “I am obligated to ensure that we are spending taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively.”

Thompson said the district has a duty to keep children safe and it will be up to the district to decide who it hires, should it decide to outsource.

Pines said he believes the district needs to take more time, enlist the help of a blue ribbon commission and assess the impact outsourcing would have in the community. He said the union would like to sit down with the district to discuss ways the district could save money while allowing the 250 custodians to keep their jobs and benefits. Pines would not elaborate on his plan.

“We don’t believe that $3 million figure,” he said. “We believe an independent, blue ribbon commission should look at the numbers and determine the real cost savings.”

Thompson said the $3 million figure was an estimate and it will be up to the district’s panel to look at the bids and determine if there is a significant cost savings to the district.

Officials from GCA Services Group were unavailable for comment Thursday.




Bolton Investigations working in Curacao to recover stolen gold

WILLEMSTAD, CURACAO — De Amerikaanse privédetective David Bolton was onlangs op het eiland voor een onderzoek naar een goudroof, gepleegd op afgelopen 29 april uit een wagen van FedEx. Ook maakte hij gisteravond in het nieuws via Telecuraçao bekend dat hij in opdracht van de eigenaar van de vijf gestolen goudstaven een beloning van 25.000 dollar uitlooft voor de gouden tip die leidt naar de (gedeeltelijk) terugvondst van de goudstaven, of naar de bij de overval betrokken verdachten.

De politie heeft eerder geen informatie gegeven over deze roof en distantieert zich inmiddels ook van de beloning die Bolton uitgeloofd heeft. De detective is ook naar het politiekorps geweest om informatie te vergaren en heeft kennis gegeven van de beloning. Het KPC volgt echter een procedure bij het uitloven van beloningen en dit werd hem ook duidelijk gemaakt. De politie roept iedereen dus op om er rekening mee te houden dat het KPC geen beloning zal uitloven aan tipgevers over deze roof. Dit onderzoek staat los van dat van Bolton. Volgens Bolton zouden drie mannen betrokken zijn geweest bij de goudroof en hebben meerdere tassen meegenomen. Van zijn cliënt zijn er vijf goudstaven met een waarde van 175.000 gulden – met bestemming Miami – uit de wagen gestolen, die onderweg was naar Hato. Uit de informatie die hij in de Verenigde Staten (VS) heeft kunnen vergaren blijkt verder dat er meerdere goudstaven werden gestolen. De totale waarde hiervan was ruim 600.000 dollar, aldus Bolton. Hij voegt daaraan toe dat de gestolen goudstaven van zijn cliënt niet 100 procent maar 49 procent goud bevatten, waardoor de kleur van die staven makkelijk te onderscheiden zal zijn.

Iedereen die informatie heeft over deze roof kan Bolton mailen naar boltonpi@ of hem in de VS bellen via telefoonnummer 3054470888.



Raonel Valdez is a fugitive wanted for a $2.8 million gold heist in Coral Gables, Fla.(Photo: Bolton Investigations Inc.)

Story Highlights

  • Raonel Valdez is charged with stealing $2.8 million in gold at gunpoint from a courier in Florida
  • He was arrested in Belize after a manhunt that spanned 4 countries, and is awaiting extradition to the U.S.
  • U.S. immigration officials have so far said they will not allow him to re-enter the county to face trial

A fugitive charged with pulling off a $2.8 million gold heist could soon be set free because U.S. immigration officials have blocked attempts to return him to the United States to be put on trial.

Raonel Valdez was arrested two months ago in Belize, capping an international manhunt that spanned four countries. He has been locked up there ever since, awaiting extradition to the United States.

But investigators have so far been unable to bring him back because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has told police it will not allow Valdez, a Cuban national, to enter this country, which is a necessary — and usually perfunctory — step in returning a fugitive from overseas, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the case.

That could leave Belizean officials with little choice but to free him.

“It will happen any day,” said David Bolton, a private investigator who was among those tracking Valdez. “We searched for this guy in four countries. Letting him go is just going to facilitate more of this kind of crime.”

Homeland security officials indicated late Thursday that their position on Valdez was not final. A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Barbara Gonzalez, said the agency was reviewing a request that he be allowed to return to the United States and had “not yet made a decision.”

The heist in 2012 was among Florida’s biggest and most brazen.

Police and prosecutors charged that Valdez and two other men spent months stalking a courier for a company that buys gold in Bolivia and resells it to South Florida refineries. In October 2012, the three finally cornered the courier inside the elevator of his Coral Gables, Fla., apartment building. The courier told police that one of the men aimed a handgun at him, then shoved him against the back wall of the elevator and told him in Spanish that “we only came for the gold.” The others seized two suitcases packed with 110 pounds of gold flakes and fled.

Police caught up with Valdez two weeks later. They tied him to the crime, in part, by tracking a GPS bracelet he was wearing because of an unrelated arrest; the monitor put Valdez at the scene of the robbery and let investigators reconstruct how he had surveilled the courier, 51-year-old George Villegas. Villegas identified Valdez in court as one of the robbers.

“We have a good case,” said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office.

Valdez’s alleged accomplices have not been charged.

Not long after a Miami judge freed Valdez on $75,000 bond, he broke free of another GPS monitoring device and disappeared.

Investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service chased Valdez from Florida to the Bahamas and Mexico. He was arrested two months ago in Belize as he tried to cross the border to Guatemala using a Cuban passport; guards searched for his name on the Internet and quickly discovered that he was wanted in Florida, Bolton said.

Valdez cannot re-enter the country without authorization from the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration. So far, Bolton and two law enforcement officials said, the agency has turned down repeated requests to allow Valdez back into the United States to stand trial. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Extraditing Cuban citizens to the United States can be problematic because once they are in the country, it is difficult to ever return them to Cuba. But that hasn’t stopped officials from allowing other Cubans to enter the United States to face prosecution. In 2009, for example, federal prosecutors extradited another Cuban, Rodolfo Rodriguez Cabrera, from Latvia to face charges of producing counterfeit slot machines. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

A spokesman for the Marshals Service, Drew Wade, said the agency has asked immigration authorities to “approve parole of Valdez back into the United States to face justice in the alleged armed robbery case.” Wade said Marshals investigators “used many domestic and international investigative resources to locate” him. The Marshals Service helps extradite hundreds of fugitives from other countries each year.

Valdez’s status in Belize was unclear on Thursday. An official at the Belize Central Prison was unable to confirm that he was still in custody there. Officials at Belize’s embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

Griffith said Miami prosecutors had no information about Valdez’s status in Belize nor the attempts to return him to the United States.

“We got calls before saying he’s coming back, and guess what, he’s not back,” Griffith said. “Until the plane touches down at MIA (Miami International Airport), it’s all talk.”

A lawyer for Valdez, Alex Michaels, dismissed the government’s case as weak and “circumstantial.” Among the problems: The courier, Villegas, died not long after the robbery, and it is unclear whether prosecutors would be able to use his testimony from a 2012 bond hearing against Valdez if he ever goes on trial. “If (Valdez) comes back, he will win,” Michaels said.

Michaels said he had not been in contact with Valdez since he was arrested in Belize.

Extraditing Cuban citizens to the United States can be problematic because once they are in the country, it is difficult to ever return them to Cuba. But that hasn’t stopped officials from allowing other Cubans to enter the United States to face prosecution. In 2009, for example, federal prosecutors extradited another Cuban, Rodolfo Rodriguez Cabrera, from Latvia to face charges of producing counterfeit slot machines. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

Bolton Investigations identifies thief / New Developments In $478K Safe Heist at the Miami Beach Home of Sony Music Artist Prince Malik

Prince Malik Files Civil Lawsuit Against Man in the Surveillance Video Identified by Witnesses; Investigators Also Question How Defendant With Long Criminal History Was Given TWIC Security Clearance

MIAMI BEACH, Fla.Aug. 5, 2015 –  — Investigators said several witnesses have identified a man captured on surveillance video during a brazen safe burglary at the Miami Beach home of Sony Music recording artist Prince Malik. Since the break in at the condo on May 9, the entertainer has pleaded for the public’s help in the rigorous search for the safe and its contents, which are valued at more than $478,000. Shortly after the local media outlets aired video showing the thief entering and exiting the building, investigators said several people identified the man in the images as Kenneth Emanuel Welcome, AKA Kenny Brooks Jr., AKA Akkillez. Welcome has a lengthy arrest record that includes charges of burglary, violent crimes and prostitution. “An interesting item was uncovered during the course of our investigation,” said David Bolton of Bolton Investigations. “We have determined that Welcome somehow qualified for and was issued a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). TWIC is a security measure that ensures individuals who pose a threat do not gain unescorted access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime and aviation transportation systems.” Prince Malik has filed a lawsuit against Welcome in Miami Dade County Circuit Court that seeks damages in excess of $478,000.00. “We are once again making an appeal to the public to share any details that they may have in this case,” said Prince Malik. Prince Malik is offering a $50,000.00 reward for the arrest of the individual(s) involved and the return of his property, or a $25,000.00 “no questions asked” reward for information that leads to the arrest of the individual(s) involved. He has created a confidential tip line that should be used when submitting information: 305-562-0012.


$400,000 in valuables stolen from Prince Malik’s Miami Beach home

Recording artist offers $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, return of property

By Amanda Batchelor – Senior Digital Editor

Posted: 6:26 PM, May 12, 2015Updated: 6:26 PM, May 12, 2015

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Recording artist Prince Malik, whose real name is Shahzad Nawaz, is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for breaking into his Miami Beach home last weekend, and the return of his stolen possessions.

The hip-hop artist reported the break-in at his apartment on 23rd Street and Collins Avenue where he lives part time.

According to a police report, a safe containing more that $400,000 in valuables was ripped from a closet wall and stolen. The safe included $20,000 in U.S. currency, a $300,000 diamond ring, gold chains, a Rolex and diamond earrings.

“Everything is here. Nothing was touched,” Nawaz told Local 10 News. “My iPad was sitting right there. Nothing was touched – just the safe.”

Police said a friend of Nawaz, Neil Hernandez, told officers that the men had returned to Nawaz’s apartment Saturday with three Russian women they had met at Miami Beach’s Mokai Lounge. He said they were in the apartment for about 15 minutes and then left.

A private investigator hired by Nawaz said the burglary may be related to a theft ring, where a group of thieves targeted wealthy residents in Bay Harbor Islands, Hillsborough Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

“We’re going to get you. It may be a matter a time, but we’re going to get you. We have a lot of good information, and Miami Beach has a very high success rate in crimes like this,” private investigator, David Bolton, said.

A representative for Prince Malik said he is offering a $25,000 reward with “no questions asked” for information that leads to an arrest, and a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest with his property recovered.

The Unsolved Murder of Coral Gables Police Officer Walter Stathers.

$100,000.00 reward offered by the City of Coral Gables, Florida for information relating to the homicide of Officer Walter Stathers.

Community input could change the course of this investigation. I encourage anyone with information to contact police or Bolton Investigations, Inc. regardless of how insignificant the details may seem. Homicide detectives have been working this case for decades, and a number of lines of inquiry have been investigated, however the community’s assistance is invaluable in helping to solve this case. Anyone with information regarding this murder is urged to contact the Coral Gables Police department at 305-442-1600 or Bolton Investigations,Inc. at 305-447-0888.

On the morning of Dec. 19, 1967, he was on his regular patrol. At 2:59 a.m., his final work sheet showed, he responded to a disturbance at 5740 San Vicente St. “Talked to the Hughes boy and another couple and asked them to keep it a little lower,” he wrote. Then Stathers spotted something. Requesting a K9 unit at 4:18 a.m., Stathers dispatched this: “Get me a dog car.” Stathers never gave his location. But Jim Harley, a fellow patrolman who would later serve as a Coral Gables police chief, and others rushed over, figuring he’d be outside the home of Anthony Abraham on South Alhambra Circle. Abraham, who owned a car dealership, had decorated his home with a huge holiday lights display. Stathers had guarded it while on patrol. “You knew if you went looking for Walt after 4 a.m., if there no other calls, he would be there keeping an eye out on it,” Harley said. First on the scene, Harley saw a set of headlights — the newspaper deliveryman was coming. Then he saw Stathers’ patrol car, across the street from Abraham’s house. The car was in drive, engine running, driver’s side door open. It had wildly crossed the lawn, crashing into the patio in the back of the Kaaber house, 700 S. Alhambra Circle. Harley found the 45-year-old burly cop, face down, on the wet lawn. “It was pretty obvious he has been shot in the back of the head. It came out through his forehead. He was dead. No life in his body,” Harley recalled. The homeowner, Bent Kaaber, remembered: “I heard a big crash, and I looked out the window, and when I looked, I happened to see a blue flash and later on, I realized what that was — it was actually when Walter got shot.” Kaaber’s live-in maid, Bertha Droquett, rushed to her window. She told police a tall, thin black man wearing black pants, a white shirt pedaled away on a 28-inch English-model bicycle with a chrome fender. Investigators speculated Stathers had surprised a prowler. Perhaps he had jumped out, forgetting to shift the gear into park. Or maybe he had arrested the man, put him in the car but had stumbled out during a brawl. Stathers’ arm was bruised, twisted back. His .357 Colt Trooper, black stripes set against the white handle, was missing. As the sun rose, officers hunted for the man on a bicycle but found nothing. Dade sheriff’s investigators, along with Miami police, launched a manhunt. More than 100 tips came in during the first few days. Former Coral Gables Maj. Richard Bannon, now retired, believes rivalries between Metro Dade and Miami police may have hurt the case. He believes there have been “strong suspects over the years, and they always come back to three or four people” from Coconut Grove. “This should not be unsolved,” he said.