Sheriff says someone at careersource forged his signature gas monkey monster truck hellcat


"If they’re going to do it with the sheriff, where do they stop?" Gualtieri said in an interview Thursday. "They have no ethics, morals, sense of right and wrong. We’ll look at it, whether it’s criminal. If they’re willing to do it with me, then they have no boundaries."

The signatures appear to show Gualtieri signing off on two new hires under a pair of CareerSource programs that would reimburse the Sheriff’s Office for part of their salaries while they were being trained on the job. But Gualtieri said he has never seen the forms and that his signature appears to have been copied from another document.

The sheriff said he was not immediately sure if the faked signatures are illegal, but expressed his concern in a letter Thursday to CareerSource lawyer Charles Harris. He forwarded a copy of the letter to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Office of Inspector General.

Both CareerSource Pinellas and its sister agency, CareerSource Tampa Bay, are under federal, state and local investigation into whether they inflated the number of people they helped find jobs. Also in question is whether the agencies received state incentive money based on exaggerated figures. The U.S. Department of Labor and state DEO are among those investigating.

Harris could not be reached for comment late Thursday. The programs are nonprofits that have received millions in taxpayer dollars to put people to work. They are led by president and CEO Edward Peachey, who could not be reached for comment.

He said he was out of the state on the date one of the documents was signed. The date that the other form was signed in his name was a holiday. Jones, the other Sheriff’s Office employee whose name appears on several of the forms, was at her father’s funeral on the day one was signed, Gualtieri said.

Harris sent the documents to him with a list of ten employees who CareerSource records indicated had been deemed eligible for "On the Job Training" or "Paid Work Experience" programs. He asked whether the Sheriff’s Office had agreed to employ the new workers, among them two detention deputies, two child protection investigators and an administrative assistant.

He was placed on administrative leave without pay last week amid the investigations in Hillsborough. He was suspended with pay in Pinellas, but under a unilateral order from the CareerSource board chairman — a move that other board members say may not have been legal. That chairman, Aundre Green, has since been removed from the CareerSource Pinellas board by county commissioners.

Gualtieri ended his department’s contract with CareerSource last month, saying the center had taken credit for placing 624 employees at the Sheriff’s Office, even thought he could not find any record of the agency recommending a candidate. He said the jobs program seemed to be involved in a "scam."

Several people who CareerSource reported it helped place into jobs have told the Times they never received assistance from the agency. Multiple employers have said that CareerSource requested copies of their full hiring lists — including people who did not get the centers’ help.

"It’s pretty amazing that somebody would have the audacity to forge the sheriff’s signature," said Gerard, a board member of CareerSource Pinellas and a member of the ad-hoc committee. "I don’t think we will be ‘clearing this thing up’ at our ad-hoc committee meeting tomorrow."