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Gov. Scott's top investigator quietly releases prison report after months of delay

Florida’s chief inspector general Melinda Miguel on Friday quietly released the findings of an internal affairs investigation involving allegations of misconduct against five inspectors with the Florida Department of Corrections.

The inspectors, who filed a whistleblower suit against the state and FDOC in August, were accused of acting without authority when they executed a search warrant involving a female corrections officer who was accused of having sex with an inmate at Franklin Correctional Institution last year. The officer was later fired, but threatened to sue the agency, claiming that she was wrongly accused. 

Miguel, who reports to Gov. Rick Scott, waited until after the election to release its results, although sources close to the investigation said it was completed months earlier. The report concluded that the inspectors, whom Miguel had refused to give whistleblower protection, committed no wrongdoing and that the warrant was lawfully signed by a judge.

Scott spokesman John Tupps said the report "was completed on Nov. 26, 2014, and transmitted to all appropriate parties, including the Miami Herald."

The inspectors contended that the probe was bogus,  launched by their boss, Jeffrey Beasley, in an effort to intimidate them after they had discovered, during the course of the sexual allegations at the prison, that the inspector general’s office had covered up the circumstances surrounding the 2010 death of a 27-year-old inmate, Randall Jordan-Aparo. That death is now under investigation by the FBI.

Miguel had refused to give the DOC investigators whistle-blower protection in March after they told her that Beasley was pressuring them not to charge anyone in the Jordan-Aparo case. She also refused to give whistle-blower protection to a DOC probation officer who, in 2011, told her about suspicious aspects of Jordan-Aparo’s death. That officer, Cristina Bullins, was subsequently fired, though the department said that was over taking unapproved leave time.

Miguel has come under fire after she received an anonymous letter warning her of the suspicious death of Aparo and Darren Rainey at Miami Correctional. Rather than conducting the investigation herself, she turned the letter over to the DOC’s inspector general’s office, which conducted a cursory review. A summary of the DOC report notes some “staff violations’’ in connection with Jordan-Aparo’s death, and states that Miami-Dade police were handling Rainey’s case.

--- Julie K. Brown