Charlie Griffis and his brother started this small family business at their home collecting cans in the 80's. Since then, the operation has grown to a full recycling business with one of the most desired and sophisticated record keeping systems in the state of Florida.
The first code enforcement visit occurred in 1994. In the past 16 years code enforcement has made several visits to the property. Each time code enforcement would show up the business would gladly bring their operation into compliance as directed. Property owner Charlie Griffis told me "We always try to stay in compliance and to comply."
Proof of the cooperation is that when Mark Herold appeared and told the Griffis brothers they needed to have a building for their business they bought the building where the business is currently being operated from. Originally they had the recycling in part of the building and a thrift shop on the side, but code enforcement told them they could not run the thrift shop, so the Griffis brothers closed it down.
|Cocoa Recycling - Picture taken on 29 November 2010|
On November 1, 2008 Charlie's brother died; cause of death was determined to be an accidental overdose of the prescribed morphine. Just 14 short days after the death of Charlie's brother the Brevard County Sheriff's department, code enforcement and DEP showed up with 8 other agencies including CH9 news to raid Cocoa Recycling. The business was accused of running a meth lab, dealing drugs, running a prostitution ring and having stolen property.
Brevard county code enforcement was represented by Bobby Bowen - retired Melbourne police Lieutenant and previous manager of the South Brevard County Animal Shelter. The raid resulted in 3 minor code enforcement violations: awning without a permit, oil spill from a bob cat that hadn't been cleaned up yet and broken windows from the hurricanes. These have all been rectified and are in compliance.
At a hearing in August Commissioner Infantini said that she had sent one of her people out to look at the violations and the violations being presented at the meeting seemed to be different than those listed. She asked Mr. Bowen for a list of the accused violations because every time Cocoa Recycling would come into compliance with the cited violations, code enforcement would cite new and different violations.
On November 23, 2010 Charlie Griffis and Ron Griffis attended the County Commissioners hearing. At that hearing was one of their business competitors ATM Recycling owner/operator Greg O'Leary. Mr. O'Leary bragged to Charlie Griffis in passing at the meeting that he was invited to attend the meeting by the Brevard County code enforcement department.
In his address to the County Commissioners Mr. O'Leary stated that he was required to erect buildings costing him $750,000. He also stated that his check book is in the negative.
Perhaps misery really does love company or would like to get rid of it. Mr. O'leary pleaded with the County Commissioners to vote for and force the same requirements on to Mr. Griffis to make the playing field fair, even though, as Commissioner Anderson pointed out the size of operations are much different, ATM is a much larger operation than Cocoa Recycling. The Commissioner also stated that since financial institutions are not loaning money in this economy it would be difficult to get a loan for a building such as Mr. O'Leary's.
Mr. Bowen showed a Power Point presentation of his last visit to Cocoa Recycling. He stated that there are several vehicles on the premise that the RV's should be removed. Charlie said he was in the process of getting the permits to demolish them and Mr. Bowen said permits are not required. Take note, that at the County Commissioner meeting in September Mr. Bowen stated that he entered into one of the RV's and found a pot of stew cooking and an unmade bed - he showed pictures of the inside of the RV where he had no warrant or affidavit to enter the RV.
Charlie says that if the law that Commissioner Nelson believes is true, the County School Board, and all businesses like 711 and Walmart, also in BU2 zones, will need to erect buildings to accomodate inside loading and unloading.
Select the Video Links to hear Charlie's Story in his own words!