Palm Beach News

Palm Beach County Inspector General Investigating Release of Secret Police Information

The Palm Beach County Inspector General's Office says that it is looking into the leaking of confidential police information release by West Palm Beach onto the city's website earlier this month. On Wednesday morning, Inspector General John Carey announced that he is also looking into allegations that city spokesman Elliot Cohen worked another job, as a communications consultant, while working on city time. 

The sensitive information, which showed emails detailing criminal investigations, including drug sting targets and information on undercover officers and informants, had been posted on the city's website for three days during the week of September 13. After the information was taken down, Mayor Jeri Muoio released a statement that implied Cohen had posted the emails before they could be redacted. 

The reason for the posting was due to a media public information request. But the move was apparently botched with the release of sensitive information that put cases and lives in possible danger. As a result of the release, authorities were forced to move two informants to a safe house in Orlando.

The mayor's office quickly went into cleanup mode, with Muoio calling a news conference and putting the blame of the release on herself.

“Elliott simply passes on the documents he receives from the departments,” Muoio said at the time. “In this case, it appears the departments did not have the opportunity to review the information before it was released; as a result, it is essential that we review our process to see if any changes need to be made."

But the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association wasn't buying it and, in a release, said Cohen should step down from his position as the city's communication's director. 

Cohen no longer works as West Palm Beach's spokesman but continues to be employed by the city. However, on Wednesday, Inspector General John Carey said he is looking into allegations that Cohen worked a second job as a communications consultant while on city time.

According to a Gossip Extra report, Cohen says he had been cleared to take $150-an-hour jobs apart from his job with West Palm Beach. But, the paperwork fails to mention that Cohen received permission to work for Redevelopment Management Associates, a private Pompano Beach-based company. The report says Cohen worked the job under his middle name.

Some of the investigations that appeared in the documents involved the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Agency.  

The Inspector General's Office have given city officials until October 25 to submit a full report on exactly what happened when the information leaked online.

Messages left for Cohen by New Times have remained unreturned. 
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph