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Former head of Florida's prison system threatened employee to stop probe

Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- The former head of Florida's prison system threatened to review an employee's conduct if the employee did not get his father to call off an investigation into the state's scandal-ridden corrections department, according to a report released Tuesday.

Former Corrections Secretary James Crosby threatened to examine Bradley Tunnell's conduct at a brawl he was involved in if the investigation continued, Tunnell told investigators. Tunnell is the son of Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell.

Bradley Tunnell said the discussion occurred Aug. 22 at a popular capital bar, and the FDLE's investigation showed the drinks were charged to the bar owner's tab, a violation of ethics rules.

Crosby was forced to resign last month by Gov. Jeb Bush after he became part of an investigation into allegations of possible criminal activity among prison employees. The allegations include steroid abuse, sexual assaults and the arrest of an employee allegedly hired only to help a prison softball team.

Crosby was replaced by the state's veteran drug czar, former Army Col. James McDonough, who already has made several changes.

The younger Tunnell resigned last week after being demoted for his role in the brawl while in Jacksonville for a softball tournament.

Crosby did not return a phone message seeking comment left at his home.

The report was turned over to State Attorney Willie Meggs to decide whether to file charges.

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