The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

May 5, 2014

Court martialed Army officer focus of Florida hiring controversy

LIVE OAK, Fla. — When William "Bill" Steele was appointed operations director of the Suwannee Valley Transit Authority in December 2011, he said he told his good friend and boss about his tarnished military record in Iraq.

Gwendolyn Pra, the agency's administrator, hired former Army Lt. Col. William "Bill" Steele anyway and did not share his past with her oversight board.

But an audit of the North Florida transit authority's financial records turned up the details of Steele's 2007 conviction by a militiary court for wrongful possession of classified materials, disobeying an order and having an inappropriate relationship with a female interpreter.

He was sentenced to two years at the military prison in Fort Levenworth, Kan., with time deducted for confinement during prosecution, and dismissed from the Army.

Steele was cleared of more serious charges of aiding the enemy during 2005 and 2006 when he served as the warden of the holding facility for security detainees at Camp Cropper in Baghdad.

Camp Cropper once held ousted Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein and several members of his Baath Party. Steele had been accused of allowing three juvenile prisoners to use his cellphone to make unauthorized, unmonitored calls to their parents.

"We confirmed that William H. Steele,  who was employed by the SVTA,  was the former U.S. Army officer by contacting the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth and comparing Social Security numbers, date of birth and a photograh of the inmate that had been in custody," said Robert E. Clift, inspector general for the Florida Department of Transportation.

Steele, 58, said he did not hide his military past from Pra, who he said he had known for 20 years, when they discusssed the job of operations director of the transit agency.

"She was fully informed as to my background," he said. "We spent many week discussing this to be sure we were no putting the agency at risk."

Text Only
Nation & World
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium