(Editor’s Note: Attempts were made to contact Mr. Phillip “Griff” Griffits, Jr., at his place of business, and by telephone; as well as calls made to his attorney Doug Sale, Esq. Neither were available for comment with regard to this article.)
PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL – Mr. Phillip W. Griffitts, Sr., father of TDC/CVB Tourism Board Chairman Mr. Phillip W. “Griff” Griffitts, Jr, (below) is President of the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration Association, Inc. according to the 990EZ federal tax return filed on March 12, 2015.
TDC/CVB CHAIRMAN MR. PHILLIP W. “GRIFF” GRIFFITTS, JR. (Center)
On Jan. 12, 2016, TDC/CVB Tourism Board Chairman Mr. Phillip W. “Griff” Griffitts, Jr. voted to approve a $25,000.00 funding request made by Gulf Coast horse show organizer Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan to the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration Association, Inc.
Did Mr. “Griff” Griffitts, Jr. know that his father, Mr. Phillip W. Griffitts, Sr., was the Horse Show organization President when he cast his vote?
Did Mr. Phillip W. Griffitts, Sr. know he was Horse Show organization President?
These questions must be answered, and Mr. Phillip W. “Griff” Griffitts, Jr. must answer them for three reasons:
- He is TDC/CVB Tourism Board Chairman.
- He is Bay County Commissioner running for re-election.
- Confidence in government depends on transparency and full disclosure.
Tourism Board Chairman “Griff” Griffitts, Jr. is also an important person because it has now become clear that the Tourism Board did not have all the relevant facts when it voted to approve giving $25,000.00 Tourism Tax money to Ms. “Sister” Milligan to market and promote the “Big Lick” Horse Show scheduled for the Frank Brown Park on April 21-23, 2016. According to a March 1, 2016, email from TDC/CVB CEO Mr. Dan Rowe , to Clant M. Seay (Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty), the Tourism Board Chairman Mr. Phillip W. “Griff” Griffitts, Jr. has the “Say So” IF the Citizens Campaign representative will be allowed a place on the Agenda for the Board’s public meeting set for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, for the purpose of providing important facts for the Board to consider (that the Board members did not have before them on Jan. 12, 2016) when they voted to approve the $25,000.00 funding request by Ms Milligan to use tourism tax money to “market and promote” her “Big Lick” horse show.
To not allow the Citizens Campaign to present the relevant facts would be to cast a cloud of suspicion how this important Tourism Board operates. The position of the Citizens Campaign is the Tourism Board and its Executive Director Mr. Dan Rowe and Chamber of Commerce Chairperson Ms. Jayna Leach did not have all of the facts when Ms. Milligan made her $25,000.00 funding request on Jan. 12, 2015.
What Chairman Mr. “Griff” Griffitts, Jr. decides about whether to allow this matter to be put on the TDC/CVB Tourism Board Agenda for the 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 8 meeting, and allowing it to be fully discussed, and then voted upon by the Board members, will go a long way in showing if transparent and ethical government is alive and well in Panama City Beach, Bay County, Florida.
To date, Ms.”Sister” Milligan has not received any of the $25,000.00.
The singular question is:
- If the nine member TDC/CVB Tourism Board had before it on Jan. 12, 2016, the important facts which Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan failed to disclose, and some of which have subsequently become public, would the TDC/CVB Tourism Board have approved Ms. Milligan’s request for $25,000.00 to be used to market and promote the “Big Lick” horse show?
Presently, 18 of Florida’s 27 U. S. Representatives have publicy declared the “Big Lick” to be unabashed Animal Cruelty. The following Florida representatives have publicly endorsed the PAST Act (Prevent All Soring Tactics) legislation which was introduced by Florida U. S. Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL).
FLORIDA PAST Act – U.S. REPRESENTATIVES (18 of 27 – 67% Of Delegation)
- Ted Yoho (R-FL) Gainesville
- Corrine Brown (D-FL) Jacksonville
- Dennis Ross (R-FL) Lakeland
- Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) Kendall
- Liena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Miami
- Kathy Castor (D-FL) Tampa
- Gwen Graham (D-FL) Tallahassee
- Patrick Murphy (D-FL) Jupiter
- Alcee Hastings (D-FL) Altamonte Springs
- Fredrica Wilson (D-FL) Miami Gardens
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) Weston – Ft. Lauderdale
- Richard Nugent (R-FL) Spring Hill
- Bill Posey (R-FL) Rockledge
- David Jolly (R-FL) Indian Shores
- Alan Grayson (D-FL) Orlando
- Lois Frankel (D-FL) West Palm Beach
- Theodore Deutch (D-FL) Miami
- Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) Miami
U. S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) co-sponsors PAST Act
U. S. Senator Mario Ruby (R-FL) – co-sponsored PAST Act in 2014
The PAST ACT will abolish the “Big Lick” forever by making it illegal. It will remove the 8 lb lead filled Stacks, and eliminate the use of chains in the show ring to hit the sore skin above the horse’s hoof, in order to create the “Big Lick”.
2013 FEDERAL TAX RETURN – GULF COAST CHARITY CELEBRATION ASSOC., INC.
2015 FLORIDA NON-PROFIT CORPORATION ANNUAL REPORT
FEB. 29, 2016 AGENDA REQUEST BY CITIZENS CAMPAIGN TO TOURISM BOARD
The Horse Show Controversy story broke in PCB on Feb. 12, 2016, following the Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty non-agenda appearance at the PCB City Council meeting.
And then again on Feb. 25, 2016, when Mr. Seay was placed on the City Council Agenda, and expressed concern over the $25,000.00 being provided to Ms. Milligan to market and promote a Horse Show which has a direct association with Big Lick Animal Cruelty which includes serious alleged Horse Protection Act violation allegations against Ms. Mr. Milligan, and an eight month federal suspension of Walking Horse Trainers President Mr. Bill Young who appeared before the Feb. 25, 2016 PCB City Council meeting.
Mr. Seay said, “We don’t believe the Tourism Board had the facts necessary before in (Jan. 12, 2016) to make a sound decision on giving the $25,000.00 to Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan to promote a “Big Lick” Horse show built on Animal Cruelty.
“BIG LICK” EXHIBITOR MS. MARTHA “SISTER” BLACKMON-MILLIGAN
WALKING HORSE TRAINERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT MR. BILL YOUNG
CITIZENS CAMPAIGN AGAINST BIG LICK ANIMAL CRUELTY – FEB. 25, 2016
On Thursday, March 3, 2016, the following Ad appeared on the Panama City News Herald newspaper website. It was paid for by the Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty.
According to public records, Mr. Griffitts, Sr. was President of the Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show organization for 2003 – 2005, incl, and first listed as an Officer/ Director on the 2005 Annual Report filed with the Florida Secretary of State.
Mr. Griffitts, Sr. was serving as PCB Mayor in 2005 when Ms. Milligan’s organization contributed $50,000.00 of “permanent improvements” to the Frank Brown Park in 2005.
It is unknown if either Mr. Phillip W. Griffitts, Sr. former 18 year Mayor of Panama City Beach, Florida, or his son Mr. Phillip W. “Griff” Griffitts, Jr., even know that Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan or Mr. Todd Fisher are using former PCB Mayor Mr. Phillip W. Griffits, Sr.’s name on the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration Association, Inc., 2015 Annual Report or 2013 Federal Tax Return. Mr. Griffitts name is listed as President on the 2013 Federal 990 Tax Return which is the most recent available online. It was filed on March 12, 2015.
One thing is for sure.
The Panama City Beach citizenry is about to know very soon how its TDC/CVB Tourism Board conducts business with regard to all of this at the monthly meeting set for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at the Panama City Beach City Hall Council Room.
Almost 9,000 persons have now signed Change.Org Petitions asking the TDC/CVB Tourism Board to not allow Ms. Martha “Sister” Milligan to use one thin dime of Tourism Tax money to promote the endemic “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty associated with the 2016 Gulf Coast Charity Trainers Horse Show.
America, the World, and Panama City Beach all will watch to see what Mr. Phillip W. “Griff” Griffitts, Jr., and his eight fellow board members, are going to do regarding withholding the payment of the $25,000.00 to Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan to market and promote a “Big Lick” Horse Show which has a track record of egregious animal cruelty.
- Mr. Phillip W. Griffitts, Jr email@example.com
- Mr. Andy Phillips firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mayor Gayle Oberst email@example.com
- Mr. Rick Russell firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. David Chapman email@example.com
- Mr. Buddy Wilkes firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Yonnie Patronis email@example.com
- Mr. Gary Walsingham firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Mike Thomas email@example.com
- Mr. Dan Rowe, CEO firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Doug Sale, Attorney email@example.com
QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED:
- Did PWG, Jr. know when he voted to give $25,000.00 tourism tax money to “Sister” Milligan that his father, Phillip W. Griffitts, Sr., was President of Gulf Coast Charity Celebration Association, Inc.?
- Did PWG, Sr. know he was President of the “Big Lick” Horse Show?
- Will the TDC/CVB Tourism Board place the image and reputation of Panama City Beach/Bay County, Florida above whatever personal ties or obligations that may be owed for whatever reason to Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan, and allow full, complete public disclosure of the relevant facts regarding this issue, and then vote to not allow the $25,000.00 of Tourism Tax money to be used by Ms. “Sister” Milligan to market and promote a “Big Lick” horse show which 18 of 27 Flordia U. S. Representatives consider to be unabashed animal cruelty,