KISSIMMEE, Fla. — 9 Investigates is looking into why complaints made against an ex-cop-turned-felon, who is now working for a local HOA, were dismissed by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigative Reporter Karla Ray confronted Joseph Conover after neighbors inside Turnberry Reserve complained that he has been acting as though he is a security guard inside their community, despite a felony record tied to his time as a law enforcement officer in North Carolina.
The Sheriff’s Office was called out to the community just last week after a confrontation between Conover and a resident, but the case was closed out as a civil matter.
In another case that’s still open, Conover is named as the possible victim after someone allegedly parked in front of his vehicle and blocked him in to confront him about HOA fines.
Conover is not a licensed security guard, but he was blocking off side streets and stopping traffic inside Turnberry Reserve in front of our cameras, asking people for their addresses as they tried to enter the neighborhood.
Complaints about him stopping cars were deemed a civil matter by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, even after one person told deputies that security was threatening to use pepper spray after people questioned the closures.
“He pretends to be security. He needs to be removed because he's not,” witness Susan Astacio said.
Conover once held a license to be a security guard in Florida, but lost that privilege after being convicted on felonies out of North Carolina.
There, he was a private police agency chief for his own company, which patrolled apartment complexes.
He took a plea deal on felony obstruction of justice charges and misdemeanor assault charges after being accused of falsely arresting and using a Taser on residents there.
When we tried to ask Conover questions, he repeatedly referred us to the management office for the Management 35 Firm.
WFTV called the office, and the manager, Sherry Raposo, hung up on us and did not answer subsequent calls.
Neighbors are hopeful that state investigators will see Conover's actions as more than a civil issue.
“I think that's our last resort; somebody from the state or government needs to step in and assist us,” Turnberry Reserve resident Maria Napolitano said.
A spokesperson from the Florida Department of Agriculture told 9 Investigates that the agency’s criminal division is looking into the situation.
Cox Media Group