The Fox and Midway drive-in theaters this week in 1966 were screening the first Jacksonville showing of "Rasputin - The Mad Monk." The horror film was part of a triple feature along with "The Reptile" and "The Evil of Frankenstein."

50 years ago: Motions to dismiss charges against city officials denied

By: 
Nov. 14, 2016

Motions to dismiss perjury and grand larceny charges brought by the Duval County grand jury against three city officials were rejected by the Circuit Court.

Judges William Harvey, A. Lloyd Layton and Hans Tanzler Jr. offered no detailed reasons for rejecting the motions.

The officials involved were City Council members Cecil Lowe and W.O. Mattox Jr. and former city Recreation Department Director George Robinson Sr.

Lowe and Mattox were accused of engaging in a scheme with Robinson to buy personal items from Finkelstein’s, a sporting goods store, and have them charged to the recreation department.

In addition, all three were charged with lying to the jury about the alleged fraudulent accounts.

The defendants were among eight city officials indicted by the grand jury that had adjourned the week prior.

A new jury was seated and then directed to continue the investigation of city and county policies and performance.

The orders denying the motions cleared the way for appeals, which defense attorneys indicated would go “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.”

Attorneys Walter Arnold, Walter Shea, M.H. Myerson and Stephen Stratford advanced the theory that suspects subpoenaed by a grand jury had to be told by the prosecution they had the right to be counseled by a lawyer.

Since their clients didn’t get that advice before they were questioned by the jury, the attorneys contended their constitutional rights were violated and they gained immunity from prosecution.

On that point, the judges said it appeared to them each defendant “properly waived his immunity.”

• The Duval County Legislative Delegation adopted a resolution in favor of public officials voluntarily removing themselves from office if they were indicted by the grand jury and refused to testify without waiving immunity or if they invoked Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.

The resolution was offered by freshman state Rep. Ted Alvarez.

It was inspired by research conducted in Tallahassee by another freshman representative, Lew Brantley.

He had polled both houses to gauge support for a special legislative session to enact a law that would provide for suspension of city officials who were indicted by a grand jury.

The resolution would carry no authority, but would express the delegation’s sentiment toward a number of indicted Jacksonville officials who continued to hold office.

• The Mayor’s Committee on Water Pollution Control made its first recommendations, including that all residents of Jacksonville, all industrial and business leaders, all elected officials and others who were interested in the continuing development of the area, should be made aware of the “serious problem” of water pollution.

The committee also said the city should proceed without delay in removing “gross pollution” in major tributaries of the St. Johns River, such as McCoys Creek, by adequate collection and pumping of sewage to treatment facilities.

• Three people who worked at a newsstand in Five Points were arrested and charged with sale and possession of obscene materials.

Detectives said several people had purchased copies of “nudist magazines” and paperback books from Roy’s Five Points News Center at 1060 Park St.

They were offended by the contents and then complained to the State Attorney’s Office, which issued the warrants.

• The Duval County Civil Service Board deferred a decision on whether to approve personnel changes that would cost about $47,000 a year to establish a central purchasing department for county government.

The Board of County Commissioners was seeking expansion of the Purchasing Department so it could control all purchases by the board and other county agencies that operated under separate elected officials.

An analysis of county finances previously conducted by the state Auditor’s Office was critical of the lack of central purchasing.

• U.S. Rep. Charles Bennett received a standing ovation from the Southside Woman’s Club when he called for swift enactment of a proposed government-supported anti-missile program.

He said it was more important than President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty because it was supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and would save the lives of 70 million Americans at strategic points in the U.S. in the event of a missile attack.

Bennett, senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, was addressing the club about the preservation of natural resources and proposed new national parks in the Florida Keys and along the Suwanee River.

The latter, he said, would produce for the state $20 million annually in tourist business.

He voiced his support for the defense program during the question-and-answer period after his presentation.

• “Voices from Home,” a Red Cross national holiday project that sent taped voices to military personnel stationed overseas, began at the Jacksonville chapter and would continue through Dec. 15.

Elizabeth Pierce, project coordinator, said the package included a 15-minute recording of family voices and a picture.

She said there was no charge for the service, but requested families make an appointment for the recording.

• County Commissioner Bob Harris said he’d do all he could to get police to halt drinking by teenagers or others outside a dance hall in Arlington.

Harris said he had received 27 complaints from neighbors and parents complaining about illegal drinking at “The Hangout” at 7224 Merrill Road.

Appearing before the commission on behalf of the management of the venue, Jim Adams said the business was leased for weekend dances with a policy that strictly prohibited alcoholic beverages inside the building.

He said signs were posted to inform customers about the policy and at least one off-duty police officer was present at each dance to ensure “nothing went wrong” inside the hall.

• Jacksonville University was elected to membership in the College Entrance Examination Board, a national association of 707 public and independent colleges and universities and 232 secondary schools, headquartered in New York City.

Freshmen applying for admission to JU would be required to submit scores from the Scholastic Aptitude Test portion of the College Board examinations.

“The university is honored to be admitted to this select group of colleges, which includes most of the best institutions of higher learning in the nation,” said JU President Robert Spiro.

• Some vintage NFL from this week in 1966: Detroit Lions placekicker Garo Yepremian set a league record with six field goals against the Minnesota Vikings.

He was a left-footed, soccer-style kicker from Cyprus who had seen an American football for the first time five weeks earlier when he was signed by Detroit.

The record Yepremian broke was held by four players. The first to boot five three-pointers in a game was Ernie Nevers in 1926 for the Duluth Eskimos.

The Lions also intercepted five of Fran Tarkenton’s passes to win the game 32-31.