“How did you world ever get involved with a man like him. Wherever that man goes, trouble follows. He is con man’s man com man, no question about it.” U.S District Judge Lazzara on Michael Barfield



Michael Barfield’s latest Sunshine Law violation against supporters of Sarasota City Commissioner Susan Chapman is but another example of this former “Jailhouse Lawyer” mission to do the “dirty work” of his new political associates, who operate in the shadows “Out of the Sunshine


For example, Sarasota County Commissioners, Joe Barbetta and his hand picked successor to him on the Sarasota County Commission, Sarasota City Commissioner Paul Caraguilo have been conspiring in various “Out of the Sunshine Back Room” meetings to destroy the credibility of Chapman.


How do I know that? Simply, I have been at those meetings.


For example, at one of those meetings last October attended by a select few chosen by Caragiulo, which was to put together the political strategy to have a Elected Mayor for the City of Sarasota, one of the those selected to attend by Caragiulo was Barfield.


Among items discussed at that meeting was how to diminish the opposition to the Elected Mayor, which included politically disparaging one of the opponents of the Elected Mayor, Sarasota City Commissioner Chapman.


One of the items passed around by Caragiulo on his IPAD was a picture he put together with Chapman on a John Deere tractor. The intend of Caragiulo was to duplicate the infamous picture of former Democratic Presidential candidate, Michael Dukakis driving a tank, which made Dukakis look like a fool. Caragiulo’s intend of placing Chapman on a tractor was to identify Chapman to look the fool and responsible for the $20 million over budgeted and two year delay in the sewage transfer station on Osprey Avenue.


Two months later at a meeting at Jessie Biter’s HUB offices in Downtown Sarasota to discuss the language and put the final touches of the proposal for a Elected Mayor in the City of Sarasota, sat Barfield, along with Barbetta and Caragiulo. By the way, Caragiulo was placed at the entrance of the HUB facility making sure no uninvited guest intruded on this “Out of the Sunshine” meeting.


A Sarasota Herald Tribune reporter, Ian Cummings became aware of the meeting at the HUB. However when Cummings asked to attend, he was informed by another attendee of this “Out of the Sunshine Back Room Meeting,” Dianne Hamilton that it was a closed meeting. Hamilton informed Cummings he would be informed about the meeting later.


Unfortunately for Barbetta, Caraguilo, Barfield and Hamilton, who wished to keep the closed door meeting “Out of the Sunshine,” the Publisher of THE SARASOTA PHOENIX was at the meeting. By the way, Hamilton in her various articles, which she writes for SRQ Magazine has not to this date written about this “Close Door Out of the Sunshine” meeting, unlike this writer for THE SARASOTA PHOENIX.


It has been quite apparent that Barbetta, Caraguilo and, Hamilton have found their ideal “Attack Dog” to smear Chapman and create havoc at Sarasota City Hall in one of Florida’s most notorious “Jail House Lawyers,” Michael Barfield.


For example, in one of Barfield’s most shameful and disgraceful example of being a “Hired Gun“ to smear the reputation of responsible public officials was when, for $50,000 Barfield attempted to smear the reputation of a U.S Federal Judge and U.S Federal Attorney.


Case in point, back in 1997 when Barfield was run out of Palm Beach County after being arrested for the 23rd time and convicted for his 66th felony on fraud charges and being under house arrest in Sarasota and place on two year probation, Barfield was hired by a Lee County developer, Carl Bailey. Barfield was hired to get Bailey a new trial.



Barfield, who along with two other individuals made up a story that U.S Federal District Judge Lee Gagliardi and Assistant U.S Federal Attorney, Kathleen Haley met “Out of the Sunshine” to discuss a upcoming trial they were involved in a Tampa Federal Court room.


I’m not making it up that the 52 year old Barfield after being run out of Palm Beach County and put under house arrest in his new home in Sarasota and placed on two years of probation, continued his criminal activity that began when he was a 17 year old youth in Pensacola, Florida.


For example, Barfield was arrested and convicted for grand theft in Palm Beach County for stealing from a client who hired Barfield to collect $7,500 from her ex husband. Police said Barfield shortchanged the woman, then threatened her when she was going to complain to prosecutors. A article in the West Palm Beach Post stated the women asked Barfield why he withheld the money from her and Barfield answered, he needed the money for his rent, as he sped away in his Mercedes.


Before his arrest for grand theft, Barfield was involved in numerous encounters with Palm Beach police and prosecutors, which included a campaign smear attack against Palm Beach County States Attorney, Barry Krischer.


Barfield along with a few other political opponents of Krischer attempted to use a law suit filed by a fired ex secretary of Krischer to end Krischer’s political career. The law suit, which accused Krischer of sexual harassment, was filed by a attorney recruited by Barfield and filed a week before Krischer was elected as the Palm Beach County States Attorney. The law suit was dropped after the election.


Part of Barfield guilty plea to the grand theft charge was that he agreed to stay clear of Palm Beach County and only return to the County with written court approval. Barfield, as mentioned above was to serve his two year house arrest in his new home in Sarasota and was also placed on two years of probation.


Thomas Bakkedahl, the Martin County prosecutor who handled Barfield grand theft case because of Barfield’s conflicts with Palm Beach law enforcement officials stated, “He (Barfield) is basically a menace in Palm Beach County.” Bakkedahl continued, “the banishment seemed to be in the best interests of the citizens of Palm Beach County.”


It apparently did not take long for the 52 year old Barfield to continue his criminal activity, as mentioned before started back when he was a 17 year old youth in Pensacola. Barfield must have time being on house arrest in Sarasota to research what public officials reputation he could attempt to smear.


As mentioned above, Barfield was hired by a Lee County Developer, Carl Bailey to prepare his defense on federal charges, which he and two Cape Coral Hospital administrators bilked the hospital for about $42 million. Bailey hired Barfield in the hopes that his money laundering and embezzlement case would not go to trial.


According to court records Barfield hired Dana Corum and her partner in Panther Investigations Inc, Deana Scaapaccino to work out details of a false meeting that Scapaccino claimed to have witnessed between Judge Gagliardi and U.S Attorney Haley. Both Gagliardi and Haley were assigned Bailey’s criminal case. The meeting was alleged to discuss aspects of Bailey’s case “Outside the Sunshine.”


Sound familiar to Barfield’s present Sunshine law violations in Sarasota allegations?


As the allegation of the meeting were presented by Bailey’s attorneys in a U.S Federal Courthouse in Tampa in 1997, Gagliardi and Haley listened in horror as they were accused of having an improper meeting.


Barfield’s scheme was successful. Such a rendezvous would have violated ethical guidelines. The case was put on hold in 1997, while the prosecution and defense awaited the outcome of a FBI investigation.


Two years later, as the FBI determined that the alleged meeting never took place, Haley watched in the same Tampa Federal Courthouse, as the man who hatched the lie was sent to prison for ten years after pleading guilty to conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury and wire fraud charges.



Unfortunately Judge Gagliardi went to his grave without being cleared of the lies maliciously spread by Barfield, which smeared his long and distinguished career. Judge Gagliardi died of cancer a year before his reputation was taken out of the gutter, where Barfield had placed it.


According to an FBI affidavit, Barfield fabricated a story with Corum and Scapaccino assistance. The trio lied that the judge and persecutor discussed the case in private at Plum’s Cafe near Ft. Myers in 1997, and exchanged documents. In addition, Barfield helped the private investigator, Scapaccino, draft an affidavit detailing the fabricated “Out of the Sunshine” meeting.


The scheme hatched by Barfield, which included making false statements to federal agents and submitting phony documents to a grand jury, was designed to have Gagliardi removed from the Cape Coral embezzlement case.


As is Barfield ‘s history in attempting to flee after being caught for committing crimes, he runs. After Barfield became aware of the indictment against him and the charges pending, Barfield fled to Tennessee. Once before running from arrest and imprisonment, Barfield was caught attempting to flee to France. Why France when asked by a reporter. Barfield stated, “French women.”

(By the way, Barfield has a documented history of being an established “Con Man,” who uses women to manipulate his various “SCAMS”).

After being apprehended and returned to Tampa, a magistrate ordered Barfield held without bond. Barfield once in custody began throwing his co conspirators “under the bus,” as he usually does when caught.” For example to lower his sentence Barfield testified against Corum, who received 6 years for her part in the conspiracy. Scaapaccino, who join Barfield in “Ratting Out ” Corum, received 15 months.



In sentencing Corum, U.S District Judge Richard Lazzara agreed with Corum’s that Barfield was responsible for the plot. Nevertheless, Judge Lazzara sentenced Corum to 6 years giving this reason: “Judge Gagliardi was an outstanding person, an outstanding jurist, Kathleen Haley has devoted her life to government. What has been done to these people is unconscionable.” Judge Lazzara finished his admonition of Corum concerning Barfield:


“How did you world ever get involved with a man like him. Wherever that man goes, trouble follows. He is con man’s man com man, no question about it.”


After the “Con Man’s Con Man” was released from his third incarceration in one of the numerous Florida State prisons, spending years behind bars for his 68 felony convictions and his 25 arrests, he has parachuted back into Sarasota in continuing to be:



Phone calls for Barfield to comment on aspects of this article and other aspects of his background have not been returned.


In Part II

More about Barfield before and after he arrived back in Sarasota and his new found political associates in the area, who operate “Outside the Sunshine.”





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