FKAA Chairman Dean Plays Cat and Mouse

dean photo

by Naja and Arnaud Girard…….

The documents often begin with: “I, J. Robert Dean do solemnly swear” and thereafter the facts seem to change and contradict each other depending on what Dean needs to do to stay in power.

On Wednesday Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority [FKAA] Board Chairman Bob Dean provided Supervisor of Elections, Joyce Griffin, with a new sworn affidavit.

In response to those who accuse Dean of unlawfully sitting on the FKAA Board and of not being a Key West resident, Dean now swears under oath that his small Key West apartment at 417 Bahama Street, not his luxury home on Key Haven, has “always” been his primary residence.

Thanks to new information, we can now try to put together a timeline showing the ascendancy of what many believe to be the most secretive and powerful man in Key West: James Robert Dean, literally Key West’s undertaker, Chairman of the FKAA Board of Directors, and leader of Key West’s Housing Authority, having jurisdiction over more than a billion dollars in assets.


It’s 1998. Bob Dean is Chairman of the FKAA Board of Directors. At this point he represents District 1 [Lower Keys]. All of his documentation shows that he lives with his wife at 14 W Cypress Terrace in Key Haven. His Homestead exemption is listed at the Key Haven home, he votes in County elections but not City of Key West elections and he is a registered Democrat appointed to the FKAA board by a Democratic Governor.

In January 1999, Jeb Bush becomes Florida’s new Governor. Bush, a Republican, doesn’t reappoint Dean. He loses his seat on the FKAA board in March of 2001.

In 2005 a seat on the FKAA board will come open, but it is the District 3 [Key West] seat. At this point Dean has changed his party affiliation to Republican, but he is a Key Haven resident.

Dean applies for the seat. He changes his voter registration address to 417 Bahama Street in Key West and 37 days later, on January 5, 2005, Governor Bush appoints Dean as the District 3 [Key West] representative to the FKAA Board.

By 2008 FKAA is embroiled in accusations of nepotism and corruption. In August 2008, a citizen complains to then State Attorney Dennis Ward, claiming Dean is illegally voting in City elections and that he shouldn’t be sitting on the FKAA Board as the District 3 representative since he lives in Key Haven, not at 417 Bahama Street in Key West as he claims.

Water consumption records for the Bahama Street apartment clearly show repeated periods of several months at a time with zero water consumption. For instance beginning in August 2008 (when the citizen complaint came in) all the way through April of 2010 there was only one month during which any water was consumed at all: That was June 2009 when 100 gallons of water were used. [Typically household water consumption is 100 gallons/DAY per person.]

State Attorney Ward asked Chris Weber to investigate. “Apparently Chris didn’t bother looking at water consumption,” said Ward in a telephone interview this week with The Blue Paper.

The 2009 State Attorney investigation of Bob Dean’s residency produced a one-page document. The “investigation” relied on verbal assurances by Dean and then Supervisor of Elections, Harry Sawyer that Dean lived at 417 Bahama Street.

Three weeks ago, when we interviewed Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin, who was the assistant to Sawyer at the time, she said, “The only thing we did back then was ask Mr. Dean, ‘Do you live there?’ and he said yes he did, and that’s all we did.”

It’s July 1, 2011. Water consumption at 417 Bahama Street still doesn’t resemble normal household usage. (Zero gallons on the previous monthly reading.) Dean pays utilities for the Bahama Street building, but even though there is a mailbox at the front door, all of the bills are directed either to his Funeral Home office on Simonton Street or his home in Key Haven.

It’s July 7, 2011 and Bob Dean needs to renew his driver’s license. (Giving false information to the Department of Motor Vehicles in a driver’s license application is a felony of the third degree.) On his renewal application, Dean swears to the DMV that his principal address is 14 W Cypress Terrace, Key Haven.

It’s September 2015. New accusations of corruption at FKAA bring back the issue of Dean’s residency and his right to the seat on the FKAA board. This time Chris Weber, now Chief Investigator at the State Attorney’s Office, decides to actually investigate the matter himself. He notes that Dean’s homestead exemption is attached to his Key Haven home, that Dean’s mail goes to his Key Haven address. He finds there are very few personal items in the small apartment, and that for his business licenses, driver’s license, car registrations, title warranty, mortgage documents, and home phone service Dean uses the Key Haven address.

Chris Weber wrote in his September 16, 2015 investigative report: “When asked how many nights he has spent at 417 Bahama St. during the last six months, he said, ‘maybe six nights.’”

On September 17, 2015 State Attorney Catherine Vogel challenges Dean’s right to vote in Key West elections.

On September 18, 2015, Dean goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles and changes his driver’s license address to 417 Bahama Street.

dean dl changed sept 18 2015 to key west

On September 25, 2015 Dean’s attorney, Michael Halpern, informs the FKAA Board that if it is decided that his client is indeed prohibited from voting in Key West then he should resign from the board.

On Friday October 2, 2015, despite a clear warning by the State Attorney and the risk of prosecution, Dean votes in the City election.

On October 7, 2015 Dean transmits an affidavit to the Supervisor of Elections in which Dean swears under oath that,

“Since 2004, it has always been my intention, belief and desire that my permanent, legal residence is at 417 Bahama Street, Key West, Florida. I have never intentionally taken any actions to vacate this property as my primary, legal residence, nor have I intentionally taken any actions to establish primary legal residence elsewhere.”

He also swears that in 2009 he attempted to remove himself from receiving homestead exemption at the Key Haven home but that the effort was unsuccessful. This claim is contradicted by the property appraiser’s office:

“Our office does not have any record(s) of Mr. James Robert Dean attempting to remove himself from the homestead exemption he has with his wife Donna Dean at 14 W. Cypress Terrace in Key Haven in 2009 to the present that I am able to locate.”

                                     — Randy Pekarik, Investigator – Real Estate Department, MCPA, 10/8/15

Aside from compensation for attendance in the amount of $430 per meeting, FKAA Board members receive healthcare benefits for themselves and their immediate families. If Dean is voting illegally, is he doing so in order to retain those benefits? (Willfully voting outside one’s district is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.)

This morning, Friday October 9th at 10:00 am in the office of the Supervisor of Elections, 530 Whitehead Street, #101, the Key West Canvassing Board will review State Attorney Catherine Vogel’s challenge to Mr. Dean’s right to vote in Key West elections.

Keep an eye out for an updated breaking news story later this morning… [Working on story and video now…]


The Blue Paper once again thanks Colby Fisher for his help with research for this article.


See the State Attorneys documents here:

investigative report 2015, 2009 and 2015 challenge

supporting documents

2015-SA-00189-A-K – Property Appraiser Inv Reports 2011 and 2009 – Redacted


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9 thoughts on “FKAA Chairman Dean Plays Cat and Mouse

  1. It is really strange that Dean would go to such lengths to hold on to his seat. Either those are some really amazing benefits or something else is going on. I wonder what his financial disclosure forms look like.

  2. For me, Margie, probably not strange given this is Key West turf where the weird turn pro, or, more seriously, bubba politics are in a world of their own. Convoluted keeps coming to me. And contrived. And disingenuous. And crafty. I mean, Michael Halpern is legally advising Dean, and Halpern is one smart lawyer. I told Arnaud and Naja several times lately, for me, this is high comedy, entertaining. I told them I hoped Dean did vote in the city elections, to continue the fun.

    But seriously, as a former practicing lawyer, if I were Halpern, I would tell Dean, privately: I might be able to win this case for you legally, and I might not be able to win it. But either way that goes, in the court of public opinion, in the community where you live, will I end up making you the laughing stock of your community? Will I end up causing you to be vilified for the rest of your life by who knows how many people who live here? Are you willing to live with that result? Is your wife willing to live with that result? Are your children willing to live with that result? And your grandchildren? What are people in this community thinking about your marriage, when you keep insisting your intent since 2004 has been for the Bahama Street property to be your legal residence? What kind of strain is this putting on your wife? On your children? On your grandchildren? The water bills indicate you don’t live at Bahama Street. Or you bathe and use the bathroom somewhere else. It does not appear the two prior State Attorneys made any investigation. It does not appear the Supervisor of Elections made any investigation. It appears they all relied on what you told them. That you lived at Bahama Street. Will people think you misled those Authorities? Will people think you and those Authorities were in cahoots? Will people think you knowingly lied in the sworn Affidavit I prepared for you to sign? Will people think you knowingly perjured yourself in that Affidavit? Will people give you the benefit of the doubt, say you are senile, have lost your mind, are out of touch with reality? Will people say you are crazy like a fox? Will people say you think you are above the law, live by your own laws? Will people say this is just another bubba event; bubbas have their own set of laws, which exempt them from the laws of the land? Will people wonder what is really going on here? Is money in some way at the root of it? Or is it just power? Or what is it? I mean, if it was your intent for Bahama Street to be your legal residence, would you not have lived there, and slept there, and bathed and used the toilet there? Ongoing? Or does “legal residence” mean something different to you, from where you actually live, sleep, bathe and use the toilet? Are you to prepared to be indicted by a grand jury and prosecuted by the State Attorney, and tried by a jury? Are you prepared for all the newspaper coverage that trial would generate? Are you not worried about being indicted and prosecuted? Do you think the current State Attorney, Catherine Vogel, will follow the lead of the two prior State Attorneys? Do you think if Vogel sides with you, she and you will be accused of being in cahoots? Do you care if that happens? Are you prepared to have local activists stake out the Bahama Street property, write down how many times they saw lights on in that apartment at night? How any times they saw your automobile, with the registration now showing that address as your legal residence, parked outside that apartment at 11 p.m. at night, and 7 p.m. in the morning? Ascertaining what is your electric and water usage per month in that apartment. And feeding that information monthly to the blue paper, and to Catherine Vogel, and to the FBI, if Vogel does nothing? You and I both know there are activists in Key West and Cudjoe Regional Sewer District, who are crazy, will do anything to get you, if they can. I myself heard one such activist ask, what’s the difference between Bob Dean shooting someone, and, when the cops come, Dean tells them he intended for the shooting to be legal, and Dean saying he intended for his Bahama Street residence to be his legal residence?

    All of these things I feel I must say to you, because, as your lawyer, it is my job, it is my duty, to represent you fully, even if it means disagreeing with you, even if it means making you mad at me, even if it causes you to fire me. Otherwise, I am not fully representing you, and that is legal malpractice in my book, even if other lawyers, or judges, or the Florida Bar says it is not legal malpractice.

    So, here’s the Affidavit you told me to draw up, which you execute under penalty of perjury, which, perjury, is a felony.

  3. Mr Dean suffers from a deadly combination of ego and inertia. Long term positions of power surrounded by sycophants result in corruption and perversion of that power. There is a tendency of these individuals to assume parameters and rules apply to others, not the powerful. Term limits would cure this and perhaps fines and/or jail time would discourage others in the future. Where is law enforcement?

    1. He does indeed suffer from overblown ego. I just found out that there is a well-water purification plant in Florida City named after him!!! J. Robert Dean Water Treatment Plant.
      That’s innappropriate for an authority to serve his own vanity while taking taxpayer pay. That’s not ‘serving the public’ that’s a big head.
      The man doesn’t know what propriety means.

  4. This whole episode tells us a great deal about many people, not just J Robert Dean. It particular it tells us about many of our other elected/appointed officials who seem to stand on the sidelines and act “powerless” to deal with this situation!

    While J Robert Dean continues to thumb his nose at the taxpayers and the legal system we also get to measure just how effective our other officials are. Here are some of the reasons they might be doing nothing:
    They are inept
    They are afraid he might have something done to them
    They are in cahoots with J Robert Dean or he “has something on them”
    They are part of the same bubba system and have taken the “bubba oath of loyalty to other bubbas”

    It does not matter which one you choose, the end result should be the same: They should be removed.

    We need to hold them accountable for their failure to act. If we see a person littering right in front of a police officer and the police officer does nothing where should we direct our efforts?

  5. This is nothing more than a legal shell game. Considering that commissioners on canvassing board are making decisions on their own constituents, maybe canvassing board members should NOT be elected officials that directly benefit from decisions they make (votes!), maybe the canvassing board should be elected by the voters. The canvassing board would then be made up of everyday citizens who would hopefully be more neutral. Not to be forgotten is that the 2 Commissioners on the canvassing board will be up for re-election next year, the outcome of their decisions today could effect their re-election next year!

  6. Cowards on the canvassing board ok’d his fraud in the face of overwhelming evidence and probable personal knowledge in Weekly’s case . . Cheri Smith had no choice but to make it unanimous since as city clerk she works for Weekly and Lopez. Seems the fix was in. State attorney next??

  7. Does anyone else think that all the politicians in Key West and all on Monroe County are secretly “cousins”? I am stunned. I wonder what Stephen Colbert would say about the situation? Maybe Mr. Dean should go on his show? The nation could get a real laugh at the canvasing board for allowing this to actually go on in this area. Maybe we can have this turned into a movie with cameos by all prominent comedians as the most outrageous comedy of the year, decade, or century?????

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