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June 23, 2024

Shelby County – Orlando, FL Hotel Reservation On Public Credit Card – Public Or Private Purpose? – UPDATED

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 21, 2024

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

Former Shelby County State’s Attorney Nichole Kroncke established an American Express Amazon Prime Business card for the Office of Shelby County State’s Attorney. While this article will focus on redactions of certain charges, other points of interest include the taxpayers paying for memberships to Amazon Business Prime for three users and a large number of Reward Points accumulated (19,363) that the public will be unable to benefit from.  Considering this was a public credit card for the Office of State’s Attorney we find it very strange that the $179.00 option for three users was charged to the taxpayers versus using the free option that offers 1 user which is all you need for the office.

The last statement submitted to the county clerk contained 4 lines of redactions and an accompanying letter regarding what appears to be related to three of those redactions.  With 4 lines redacted and an explanation for only three purchases, it raises a red flag.

“Please be advised that ASA Jay Scott and I will pay our own ARDC annual dues since our last day will be January 31, 2023. In addition, I attended the State’s Attorney’s Conference in December. Due to my upcoming resignation, I will pay for the lodging for that conference.”

Public credit card charges are not exempt from disclosure, even if paid by a public official.  The fact these items were redacted and paid for from personal funds rather than public raises the question, were these public or private transactions?

All requests to obtain an unredacted copy have resulted in a claim they are unable to provide the requested records due to an ongoing investigation.  A poorly redacted version does offer insight into three of the four charges. Poorly redacted because the information can be read by simply magnifying the image. (Click here to download the PDF copy)

  • In the first line redacted we are unable to identify the letters behind the redactions.
  • The next two lines were for payments to the Illinois Supreme Court for $385.00 each, which would coincide with a claim of them being ARDC dues.
  • However, the fourth redaction is one that got our attention as it indicates a hotel reservation charge in Orlando, Florida for $370.70 in November of 2022.

Since her letter indicated she attended a State’s Attorney Conference in December, we began our search for such events in December of 2022 in Orlando Florida, and the surrounding area.

To date, we have been unable to identify any “State’s Attorney Conference” held in or around Orlando, Florida in either November or December of 2022.  In light of all the great researchers across the internet, we are asking for your assistance in identifying a State’s Attorney Conference or any other type of prosecutor conference that was held in the Orlando, FL area in December of 2022. If you locate such conference information please forward it to us.  If there was none, the question should shift to why was there a charge to a public credit card for a hotel reservation in Orlando, FL.

At this point, we can only wonder if this particular hotel charge and the unexplained first-line redaction are part of the criminal investigation that prevented the release of these records. Considering these records are part of an active investigation, at some point those records will become public and when that happens we will update with a new article.

UPDATED: After the request for assistance it appears both valuable and not so valuable information is being pushed across social media.  What we know at this point, no one has provided us any solid information regarding a “State’s Attorney Conference” in the Orlando, FL area for the time in question.

We do note, that the redacted line where it has ” Hotel Reservations LOH” and then a phone number of 718-919-0525 is NEITHER hotelreservations.com or reservations.com.  It is being alleged that the reservation company “hotelreservations.com” is based out of Orlando, Florida, however, there is no such company. There is a reservations.com that is based out of Orlando but that has nothing to do with the entry on the credit card statement.

The LOH stands for lotsofhotels.com which was a reservation outlet but they were not based out of Orlando, Florida.  The phone number is a New York area code and is no longer active.

Lots of Hotels websites is no longer available and is now part of Webbeds (www.lotsofhotels.com).   Webbeds does not show up as a Flordia-based corporation either.

We do agree a charge location is commonly listed on credit card statements based on where the charge was made.  Since we have been unable to link any Florida-based operation for Lots of Hotels business and they do not appear on the Florida Secretary of State database we are still at a loss as to why Orlando, FL is the entry.

Regardless, redactions of public credit card purchases made by public officials are improper.  The fact it was paid with personal funds may indicate her awareness that the purchase is no longer a public purpose although at the time of the charge it could have been had she not resigned.

For those that have insinuated no such investigation is taking place, we ask that you read this article that should clear up such a misconception. While we do not know the details yet, we do understand further search warrants have been requested by the ISP related to this matter but we do not know if they have been granted or not. Search warrants are typically sealed during the investigation but will become a public record at some point.

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5 Comments
  • Jack Tarleton
    Posted at 16:12h, 21 May Reply

    Well, I started searching criminal law seminars and criminal law conferences, Orlando, FL, December 2022 and came up with a CLE (continuing legal education) institute hosted by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers on December 8, 2022 which would probably provide some useful legal education to meet an attorney’s CLE requirements. Not exactly a state’s attorney conference, but potentially job related. Not saying that’s the one, but without more transparency, that’s the only thing I saw that fits the bill.

  • Kirk Allen & John Kraft
    Posted at 18:21h, 21 May Reply

    Jack Tarleton, do you have a link for what you found? I recall seeing that one but like you said, not a SA conference.

    I found another law enforcement seminar – FDLE hosts Florida Crimes Against Children Conference in Orlando December 12, 2022 -https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/News/2022/December/FDLE-hosts-Florida-Crimes-Against-Children-Confere

    Neither one seem to be even close to an SA conference.

  • Jack Tarleton
    Posted at 19:17h, 21 May Reply

    Gentlemen: I found this link on the search, but when I follow the link, it seems to be expired.

    NACDL LIVE Event Calendar
    National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    https://www.nacdl.org › … › NACDL’s CLE Institute®
    December 08, 2022. Login to Save to Binder … LOCATION: Drury Plaza Hotel Disney Springs, Orlando, FL … NACDL. This is a sponsored ad. MyCase …

    https://www.nacdl.org/content/meetings?page=1&term=*&sort=asc&activefilter=NACDL&nodeclassid=5507

    Correct, though. They are not SA conferences, and I think the one you found in your other article is the one she had to have said she attended.

  • Nick Lee Cohan
    Posted at 11:13h, 22 May Reply

    Its so sad there is no transparency these days from elected officials, but it seems like no one cares these days and are just fed up with politics. I thank Edgar County Watchdogs for being there to expose these issues and call them to the publics attention. I do take comfort that during the revolt from England only 3% were in favor of seperating and creating our own country– Ben Franklin stated “we have a Republic if we can keep it” it is not looking like we are doing well— Pray!!!!

  • Droopy: Master Sergeant
    Posted at 19:20h, 22 May Reply

    Another elected official who is above the law.

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