An August 17, 2021 letter from the Brevard County State Attorney’s office to School Board Member Jennifer Jenkins revealed that District 53 State Representative Randy Fine is under criminal investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
On August 1, 2021, Jennifer Jenkins filed a sworn criminal Complaint with the State Attorney’s office alleging that Randy Fine was in violation of Florida Statute 836.115 “Cyberintimidation by Publication.”
Under this statute, “Personal Identification information” is defined as follows:
(f) “Personal identification information” means any name or number that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual, including any:
1. Name, postal or electronic mail address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, official state-issued or United States-issued driver’s license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number, Medicaid or food assistance account number, bank account number, credit or debit card number, or personal identification number or code assigned to the holder of a debit card by the issuer to permit authorized electronic use of such card;
2. Unique biometric data, such as fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation;
3. Unique electronic identification number, address, or routing code;
4. Medical records;
5. Telecommunication identifying information or access device; or
6. Other number or information that can be used to access a person’s financial resources.
On July 27-28, 2021, Jenkins alleges in her complaint that State Representative Randy Fine sent her a series of vulgar and threatening text messages to her personal cell phone in a response to a Facebook comment she made on one of his Official Facebook posts, which he later deleted and subsequently blocked her from his page.
On July 29, 2021, Representative Fine began the first of a series of Facebook posts on his Official Facebook page, publishing Jennifer Jenkins personal cell phone number, and instructing his over 36,000 followers to call her and harass her before the next scheduled school board meeting.
State Representative Fine’s above post, falsely informed his followers that there was to be a vote on mask mandates for the Brevard Public Schools that night. There was not. As a result of this post and 2 more following, including a live video, all of which he republished her personal phone number, Jenkins says she received phone calls from over 111 different phone numbers. Before her voicemail became full, she states that she received numerous threats and harassing messages left on her voicemail by individuals directed to call from Fine’s post.
Individuals began to complain on Representative Fine’s posts that her voicemail was full and they could no longer leave a message. He responded to them repeatedly with “you can text!” Not once did Representative Fine ever provide the public with Jennifer Jenkins’ actual office/public phone number for official business, nor her official email address.
At the actual School Board meeting that night, hundreds of individuals showed up to protest and speak believing that as was stated in Fine’s post, there was to be a vote on mask mandates that night, even though there was not. The crowd got so out of hand, law enforcement in attendance had to stop the meeting and physically escort the entire board out of the meeting. Several individuals also had to be physically removed by law enforcement for their behavior during the meeting that night. The news coverage of the spectacle made national news the following day, and was even featured on ABC’s World News Tonight.
Fine later tried defending his actions by stating her personal cell phone number was public because she used it BEFORE she was a public official during her campaign. However, according to the statute that the complaint is filed under, whether or not the information is public or private is irrelevant. The law speaks to the intent of publishing the information, and under the legal definition of “personal identification,” Fine could be in violation of the law for simply publishing her name alone, without even publishing the phone number in addition to it.
Just this past April, a group of protestors showed up outside of Jenkins’ private residence to confront her about her position on LGBTQ+ children’s rights. Fine mocked the protest, and the safety of her own children in a Facebook post, comparing the event to a BLM “mostly peaceful protest.”
Upon reviewing the criminal Complaint filed by Jenkins, the State Attorney’s office decided it had enough merit to refer it to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to initiate a criminal investigation.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Representative Fine has used these intimidation tactics.
In March of 2019, Fine did the same thing to Palm Bay Deputy Mayor Kenny Johnson, publishing his personal cell phone number on Facebook asking his followers to contact him directly for not supporting one of Fine’s resolutions, and subsequently calling him corrupt for it.
Almost none of the information Fine published in his Facebook post was accurate. Palm Bay Deputy Mayor Johnson received so many calls to his personal cell phone that he eventually had to change his number to stop the harassment. Palm Bay council members have official city cell phones, as well as email addresses designated for conducting official business, and for public records purposes. Again Representative Fine shared only Johnson’s personal cell phone number, shortly after sending him a threatening text messages stating “game on.”
Last year during Representative Fine’s primary election, he orchestrated a campaign mailer full of false information that went out to thousands of residents, publishing his opponents personal cell phone number with the instructions to call her and ask her why she “hates president Trump.”
These actions although unethical, were possibly legal prior to April of this year. However, as a result of legislation sponsored by Representative Fine himself this year, House Bill 1, this behavior is clearly illegal. House Bill 1 is where the new Florida Statute 836.115 “Cyberintimidation by Publication” came from. It was signed into law by Governor Desantis, and went into effect April 19, 2021. These types of intimidation tactics with false or misleading information have proven to be quite effective for State Representative Fine over the last few years, however now his same actions in July may lead to him being prosecuted and convicted under his own law.
Under Florida law, if an elected official is even CHARGED with a misdemeanor, they can be suspended from office pending the outcome of the case, and if found guilty, permanently removed from their position.
State Representative Fine’s intimidation tactics however don’t stop with social media or campaign mailers. According to a report from Satellite Beach Police Department, last week Fine showed up to the private residence of a private citizen and allegedly threatened him in person. The complaint states that Fine believed the individual to be responsible for placing yard signs around the community that read “Randy Fine is an Idiot.” Fine posted a photo of the sings on his Facebook page with the hashtag #hatersgonnahate.
The complaint reads in part: “On Monday, at about 4:30-45 pm, Randy Fine parked in front of my residence in his black, late model Tesla. I did not see him park, however I saw him standing in the street filming my house as I was mowing the lawn. I turned the lawnmower off and went into the street to ask him what he was doing. In the 5 minute angry conversation which ensued, he made those many threats directly to me, and accused me of harassing his children at their school, which is blatantly and completely false. He was upset that I had put a small number of handmade cardboard signs out on right-of-ways in Melbourne/Palm Bay area which said “Randy Fine is an idiot”.
The complainant went on to state that when he asked Fine why he was filming his residence Fine stated that “he was about to make him famous” and “I eat people like you for fuckin breakfast.” (sic)
According to the law enforcement agency, they are not investigating the matter any further at this time.
After the incident, Fine called Jennifer Jenkins on her personal cell phone, and admitted to her that he did indeed show up to the individuals house to confront him about the signs. It has also been stated that Fine bragged about the incident at his campaign fundraiser the following day to his supporters, and also posted about it on social media.
This is just one of several open criminal investigations into Representative Fine. We will be reporting on the others in the near future as they develop, to include him not living in the district he represents, and voting outside of the district he lives in.
Representative Fine may also be facing felony charges for his threats published yesterday in the Tampa Bay Times.