TOLD YOU SO, PART 2 


;At the risk of sounding ;petulant, we told you so. We told you so, we told you so, we told you so. Nah nah nah nah nah, nah.

;;All this breathless coverage of Lou Pearlman's crumbling empire you've been reading in the Orlando Sentinel of late? Old news, amigos. We told you three years ago that Pearlman was a corpulent pusbag who would rip off anybody and anything within reach of his scaly appendages. But did you listen? No, you did not. And now a court-appointed receiver has taken control of a chunk of Pearlman's "empire" and a lot of people are out millions of dollars; including taxpayers, who, through the city, gave him $1.5 million in incentives. Suckers.

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;Way back at the dawn of time — Oct. 17, 2002, to be exact — we noted that Pearlman's purchase of an online model-scouting agency was "questionable" [see "Lou's next move"; also see "The name game," May 8, 2003]. We even took you inside the operation, which worked remarkably like a boiler room.

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;Slightly less ancient was our column about Pearlman's ;amateur-hour fashion mag, industry, which he was going to franchise and make a bajillion dollars on [Nov. 14, 2002]. Didn't happen.

;;We had a lot of fun back in the day with Pearlman's plans to redevelop Church Street [see "Bye, bye, bye Lou," Feb. 20, 2003; "We're waiting," July 24, 2003; "Lights! Cameras! Inaction!" Oct. 2, 2003; "Kill the deal," Jan. 15, 2004; and "Vargo gets it," Feb. 5, 2004]. Perhaps you recall the glorious days of yore when then-mayor Glenda Hood couldn't hop into bed fast enough with Fat Lou — ew, horrible mental image there, sorry — and Orlando's Downtown Development Board actually believed that Pearlman had 500 employees, that he'd move them all downtown and that we'd be treated (!) to a show called O-Town to Motown on a regular basis. If you've been to Church Street lately, you know there's still precious little reason to go to Church Street.

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;In fact, we've written the Pearlman saga so much and so often that we've already used the obvious headline for this column; see "We told you so," Nov. 24, 2005.

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;So I'll say it one last time, then I'll shut up: told you so.

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;***

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;And now for something I like to call, with apologies to Dickens, "A Tale of Two Investigations." Oddly enough, both involve those stalwart guardians of Central Florida's virtue, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation.

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;Case No. 1 involves Paul Winsett, an Orange County Sheriff's Office corporal assigned to the MBI's vice squad. You may remember Winsett for his contribution to the $193,000 investigation that resulted in a handful of minor violations at Rachel's Gentlemen's Club back in 2000; he was the one videotaped rubbing a dancer's thigh and mentioning to a fellow agent, "I'm going to end up fucking this girl. If not here, somewhere else."

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;These days, it seems Winsett has developed a fondness for taking pictures of his unit — and I don't mean his squad car — with his department-issued cell phone and sending them to two women. One lives in Michigan, and one lives here. The Michigan woman found out she wasn't the exclusive recipient of the shots and threatened to go to Winsett's boss; he beat her to the punch and turned himself in. Even though the Michigan woman told sheriff's department investigators she felt threatened by Winsett for going public, he got a slap on the wrist: an administrative charge of unbecoming conduct and 32 hours of suspension without pay.

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;Case No. 2 involves two Orlando cops — James Carlies Jr. and James McGriff — who were accused of fondling dancers and exposing themselves while on an undercover investigation of OBT strip club Cleo's in 2004 ["Operation Overexposed," Sept. 22, 2005]. An OPD investigation concluded — big surprise — the cops had done nothing wrong. In December the Citizens Police Review Board asked that the case be reopened anyway and that everyone involved take a polygraph, just to be sure. Even though the CPRB has no real authority and can only make recommendations, Orlando Police Chief Michael McCoy agreed with the board's findings.

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;The city, however, thinks boys will be boys; why reopen this old case? "In order for officers to conduct an undercover investigation they have to do certain things," writes assistant city attorney Shannon Gridley Hetz in a Jan. 30 memo explaining why more polygraphs would be a waste of time. "To use an age-old phrase: To catch a thief, you have to be a thief."

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;Or an MBI agent.

slug@orlandoweekly.com

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