Under the unlikely name of “Calzone Pizza,” this operation is one of the Clearwater police’s darkest secrets, a case study in rogue operations by maverick cops.
     Given the circumstances, one might have expected the Clearwater Police Department to have kept such an individual under intense scrutiny. Instead, Clearwater police officers, led by Deputy Chief Paul Maser, acted as his chauffeurs and escorts. They chatted, laughed and joked with the man in question.

     The officers in this “honor guard” drove unmarked vehicles.

     A check of public records revealed that all three cars were owned by a company known as “Calzone Pizza.” Calzone was registered to P.O. Box 952, Clearwater— “attention Ray Emmons,” a longtime senior Clearwater police intelligence officer.

     Further probing found that Calzone Pizza has not filed any papers with the Florida Department of State, as required by law.

     Sources have indicated that there is even more to the Calzone connection. A researcher [whose identity is withheld here in the interest of shielding him from further harassment] went to the county tax office to check public records on the Calzone Pizza vehicles. After he left the tax office, he received a call from a rather nervous tax office clerk. The clerk explained that a police officer had shown up right after the researcher’s visit and that she needed him to return to the tax office immediately.

     After the researcher arrived at the county tax office, a man in street clothes who had been hovering nearby identified himself as a police officer – but refused to provide his name. With no apparent provocation, he stated that he didn’t like the researcher’s attitude, and even started to read him his rights under the Miranda act. When asked if he was being arrested, the policeman curtly replied, “Not now. Later,” —which he further punctuated as the researcher left the tax office with, “You are going to be arrested. Soon.”

     Outside, the researcher recognized another Clearwater Police officer. And as he drove off, this second officer, in street clothes, followed him – in one of the unmarked Calzone Pizza cars.

     This scenario grew yet more bizarre when a friend of the researcher’s, who works for the police department, subsequently reported that he was questioned by an officer concerning what he knew about the researcher – commenting that he was “ruining 13 years of hard work.”

     And what were these “13 years of hard work”?

     While Freedom doesn’t have all of the answers yet, we have learned through court documents that, as far back as 1983, Calzone Pizza, Chief Klein and Lt. Ray Emmons were paying for travel and accommodations for hired witnesses to journey from Boston and Los Angeles to Clearwater – first class.

     The witnesses? Those featured in the hearings which led to the unconstitutional Charitable Solicitation Ordinance. That ordinance was condemned by the U.S. District Court, U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court as “patently offensive” and cost the city millions.

     Why was the department using a covert police operation to pay for testimony in what was supposed to be a public hearing? That and other questions remain unanswered. The department and its chief, Sid Klein, aren’t talking.

Secret Clearwater Police Slush Fund Revealed continued...

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