Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mark Turner Rick Hamilton: Tipping the Scales of Justice in Pensacola?

Mark Turner's ongoing civil lawsuit against Pete Moore, the owner of Pete Moore Chevrolet, and the State of Florida's ongoing quest to put Turner in prison, has unbelievable twists and turns, with longtime friendships and business acquaintances left in the dust, seemingly with the scales of justice radically tipped in favor of Pensacola, Florida prosecutors. See links to background on the Mark Turner case after the video below.

 Tipping the Scales of Justice in Pensacola?

Perhaps one of the harshest outcomes for Mark Turner, besides the possibility of going to prison, is the destruction of his close friendship with Rick Hamilton. Hamilton is the General Manager of Pete Moore Chevrolet. In Trial Volume 2, Hamilton testified to the business relationship and the "close" personal relationship between the two.

In this post I want to talk about how Rick Hamilton's various sworn testimonies differed over time, and I'm asking a couple of questions.

Here are the differing testimonies shown below, summarized:

(A) In a November 2007 deposition, Hamilton said he was not aware that Turner signed a mortgage with Moore for $220,000 until a few days later when Moore told him about it. Yet, in a sworn affidavit, dated June 1, 2009, Hamilton says he was "present when negotiations were had concerning the $220,000 mortgage...."

(B) In March 2008 trial testimony, Beroset [Turner attorney] asked Hamilton: "Were you part of any negotiations when Mr. Guttmann negotiated or at least obtained a mortgage and note from Mark Turner, to pay Pete Moore approximately $146,000 and you $63,000 total? Hamilton said he was not.

(C) In the November 2007 deposition, Hamilton said Moore told him that he [Hamilton] would be paid the money Turner owed him, when Moore was paid, because the amount of the note to Moore included the $63,000 Turner owed Hamilton. Does this mean that  Moore was responsible for paying Hamilton, once Moore was paid?

(D) In the November 2007 deposition, Hamilton said he never received any payment from Moore. 

Here are my questions:
(1) Was Rick Hamilton untruthful? You'll see in the questioning below that Hamilton says several times that he was unaware of the amount of money Mark Turner owed to Pete Moore, and was unaware of the amount of the note, yet in the Affidavit he states the figure as $220,000. He says in various testimony that he was not present when the negotiations were in process, and in the affidavit, he said he was present.

(2) If this testimony is untruthful, what else was untruthful in the trial and what can Mark Turner do about it now?

(3) Why did Rick Hamilton's own testimony do an 360 about face? Could it be because in the beginning of the trial, Rick and Mark were still close friends, and things looked a bit different at that time, or is there a way one or the other of these testimonies are more helpful to Pete Moore Chevrolet?

(4) Why did Rick Hamilton send Mark's brother, David Turner a 1099 for $69,000? When Rick Hamilton sent the 1099 to David Turner, can we theorize it was Hamilton's way of getting the money owed him from Mark? In other words, send someone a 1099 and you write it off of your own taxes - or least some of it? If $63,000 was owed, and the 1099 was sent for $69,000, maybe the extra $6,000 softens what cannot be written off? AND...Perhaps some revenge by a friend [Hamilton] on behalf of his friend [Mark] - because, maybe, these two were still maintaining their friendship at this time? Did the 1099 in essence, payoff the debt to Rick Hamilton? There is a possible action by David Turner that could have prompted the 1099. More on that in another post. 

(5) Where is the line drawn separating civil charges and  criminal charges. Who makes the determination.

Actual testimony follows. If the text is red, I'm inserting something that, hopefully, clarifies what was said.

Here are the people involved in questioning and testimony as shown below:
Jim Chase - Mark Turner's Civil Attorney
Rick Hamilton - Pete Moore Chevrolet, Inc. General Manager and Witness for Prosecution
Barry or John Beroset - Mark Turner Criminal Attorney's
Pinkerton - Mark Turner's Wife's Criminal Attorney
Russ Edgar - Florida Special Prosecutor
Mike Guttman - Pete Moore Attorney and Witness for the Prosecution

In Rick Hamilton's Civil Deposition on December 7, 2005, beginning at page 64, line 11:

[Chase] You were present when there were discussions about the promissory note and mortgage; is that true?

[Hamilton] No, sir, I don't believe so.

Skipping ahead in Rick Hamilton's Civil Deposition on December 7, 2005 to page 65, line 4:

[Chase] Do you know how much was paid by Mark Turner eventually when that note was paid off?

[Hamilton]  No, sir.

[Chase] Did you receive any amount of the payoff?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

In Rick Hamilton's criminal deposition on November 8, 2007, beginning on page 31, line 1:

[Beroset] So you did have a conversation with Mark Turner about this installment loan to the effect that he said that the dollars were not right?

[Hamilton] That's what he told me, that the dollars weren't right.

[Beroset] Are you aware of the fact that Pete Moore got a mortgage on Mark Turner's house and on his lot?

[Hamilton] I wasn't aware until Mark told me.

(Hamilton later SWEARS he was present when a $220,000 mortgage was negotiated!)

[Beroset] Do you know where the proceeds of that money went on the mortgage, personally?

I believe Beroset is asking about the $205,000.00 payment Turner made to Mike Guttman when his mortgaged property sold.

[Hamilton] I don't know, sir.

[Beroset] Did you receive any money as a result of the repayment of portions of the installment loan by Mark Turner?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

[Beroset] You have not received anything?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

Skipping forward in the November 8, 2007 criminal deposition, beginning on page 44, line 1:

[Pinkerton] Mr. Hamilton, just one area I'm confused on. Prior to the meeting that took place between David Turner, Mark Turner, yourself, Pete Moore and Mr. Guttman, cars have been provided to Mark Turner for sale; correct?

[Hamilton] Yes, sir.

[Pinkerton] After that meeting, you testified a moment ago that Pete Moore said that you would get paid back. What money was he referring to that would be paid back to you?

[Hamilton] Prior to the meeting?

[Pinkerton] No, after the meeting.

[Hamilton] After the meeting and I left the office and a few days after that, Pete let me know that they signed a note.

[Pinkerton] "They" meaning?

[Hamilton] With Mark to get his money back.

[Pinkerton] Okay.

[Hamilton] That my money was included, but I would be paid last.

[Pinkerton] What money was he referring to?

[Hamilton] The $70,000 that Mark owed me.


In trial testimony dated  March 10, 14, 17, and 20th, 2008, Trial Volume 2, page 306, beginning line 10:

[Edgar] Did you come to some arrangement in an effort to try to recover this money that was taken?

[Guttmann] Yeah. There was a note done for the money that was owed Mr. Moore and the money that was owed Mr. Hamilton, and we kind of merged that together that together so the apportionment between that would between Mr. Moore and Mr. Hamilton.

Skip forward to trial testimony dated  March 10, 14, 17, and 20th, 2008, Trial Volume 2, page 367, beginning line 9:

[Edgar] Did Mr. Moore tell you if you were included in the note when this first came down?

[Hamilton] Yes.

[Edgar] Did you understand when you would be paid

[Hamilton] No, sir.

[Edgar] And you weren't?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

Skip forward to trial testimony dated March 10, 14, 17, and 20th, 2008 - Trial Volume 2, page 390-301, beginning at line 23.

[Beroset] And is it your recollection on the first occasion when Mark said he was having trouble paying Pete Moore that he owed Pete Moore about $146,000 and you $63,000? Do you recall this?

[Hamilton] I don't know what he owed Pete Moore for sure, but I know he owed quite a bit of money. So, yes, that sounds right, sir.

[Beroset] and he owed you about $63,000?

[Hamilton] Yes, sir.

[Beroset] Did you ever receive any of the money that was paid to Pete Moore Chevrolet for that obligation to you?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

[Beroset] Were you part of any negotiations when Mr. Guttmann negotiated or at least obtained a mortgage and note from Mr. Turner, Mark Turner, to pay Pete Moore approximately $146,000 and you $63,000 total?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

[Beroset] Were you aware that that happened?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

[Beroset] and you never received any of that money?

[Hamilton] No, sir.


In a June 1, 2009 State of Florida, County of Escambia AFFIDAVIT Hamilton SWEARS:

(1) Hamilton swears that he was "present when negotiations were had concerning the $220,000 mortgage to Pete Moore..."

(2) Hamilton swears that the money Turner owed to him ($63,000 or $70,000 according to the deposition) was included in the $220,000 mortgage held my Moore.

(3) Hamilton swears that the MORTGAGE WAS PAID OFF, he was "unaware of said payoff." He says no one from Pete Moore, including Moore ever told him the mortgage was paid off.

 Text of sworn affidavit:


BEFORE ME, personally appeared RICHARD HAMILTON, and after being duly sworn states:

1. That your affiant is Richard Hamilton.

2. That affiant is the General Manager of Pete Moore Chevrolet.

3. That Affiant was present when negotiations were had concerning the $220,000 mortgage to Pete Moore Chevrolet from the Turners and Auto Gallery.

4. That Auto Gallery owed Affiant money and Affiant is aware that this sum was included in the $220,000 mortgage to Pete Moore Chevrolet.

5. Affiant assigned the debt of Auto Gallery which was owed to Affiant to Pete Moore Chevrolet.

6. Affiant acknowledges that when the mortgage was paid off, I was unaware of said payoff. Pete Moore Chevrolet or its agents did not discuss receiving payment with Affiant as there was no reason for Pete Moore Chevrolet or its agents to do so.

Signed by Richard Hamilton

SWORN to and subscribed before me this the 1st day of June, 2009. Under Oath.

The box for "Personally known" is checked by the notary V. Rooziwicz, so I assume the signature is that of Richard Hamilton.


In Rick Hamilton's civil deposition on December 7, 2005, beginning on page 54, line 14:

[Chase] Did you send a 1099 to David Turner for 2003 for $65,000?

[Hamilton] Yes, sir.

[Chase] What was that for?

[Hamilton] That was for the cars that I didn't get paid back on.

In Rick Hamilton's civil deposition on December 7, 2005 beginning on page 73, line 19:

[Chase] What did you see or hear that made you believe that Mark did not own the business?

[Hamilton] I don't know. He was -- David being there, [at the meeting where the mortgage/note was started] it was his business, if I remember correctly.

[Chase] Did you see any documents --

[Hamilton] No, sir.

[Chase] --that would lead you to believe that David owned the business?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

[Chase] Okay. Was a representation made verbally to you that David owned the business at that meeting?

[Hamilton] No, sir.

[Chase] Okay. So what made you think that Mark was not the owner?

[Hamilton] My belief that David said it was my business.


 Trial Vol. 8 - beginning on page 1454, line 19 Randall Sansom identifies himself as as a CPA for David Turner.

[Beroset] During the period of time from 2000 -- or the tax years 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, did David Turner file any records that would indicate that he is a corporate owner or filing any subchapter S corporations?

[Sansom] There were no schedule K-1s that I received or prepared where Mr. Turner was the owner of an S corporation.

[Beroset] Okay. Do you have any indication in the tax returns that you prepared during the years of 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 that he was the owner of a corporation called Ato Gallery of Pensacola, Inc.?

[Sansom] There's nothing on any of these four returns that indicate that.

[Beroset]Are you familiar with what his gross income was over those period of years?

[Sansom] Based upon the information that was prepared -- provided to me, I do have a gross income for a sole proprietorship that he had.

[Beroset] Can you tell us what the gross income was for the sole proprietorship?

[Sansom] For all four years?

[Beroset] Yes.

[Sansom] he turns the numbers around and then corrects as follows: 2001 was $98,953. 2002 wass $148,953. And 2003, $180,504.

[Beroset] What was the net for each year?

[Sansom] The net income for 2000 was $23,445. 2001, $27,729. 2002, it was $51,106. 2003, there was a loss of $20,912.

[Beroset] Anywhere on any of those returns is there anything to reflect any gross income of $3 million or $2 million gross income for any of those returns?

[Sansom] No, sir. They're the numbers that I stated earlier.

[Beroset] Let me just ask you one other question. Is there any mention at all of any Auto Gallery of Pensacola, whether it's incorporated or not?

[Sansom] Not on the tax return, there's no mention of Auto Gallery.

Turner was not convicted of stealing his brother's business and, you can see the above testimony makes it clear that David Turner never paid taxes on the business. The judge also makes it clear that Mark Turner could not be convicted of stealing the business.

So at the end of the trial, and before the Restitution Hearing, (1) Hamilton claimed he was never paid the $63,000 owed him, Moore's comptroller, Roxanne Sawyer, said the company books showed that Turner owed $106,000, and Pete Moore said Turner owed $146,000 but didn't know why the note was made for $220,000. It seems from Ms. Sawyer's testimony,  the $205,000 never showed on Moore's books. More coming following the money.

The video below is of a party held at the Turner's waterfront home, before a hurricane devastated it. You will see Rick Hamilton and attorney Greg Smith, who previously represented Mark Turner and members of his family, but now is representing Pete Moore.

Mark Turner - Rick Hamilton Friendship

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton