New Port Richie, Florida, Mayor Dale Massad repeatedly fired his .40 calibre handgun at a SWAT team arresting him on last Thursday. The arrest followed a four month investigation into allegations of practicing medicine without a license.
Sheriff: Dale Massad “lucky he’s not dead”
On the morning of Thursday February 21st, a SWAT team from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department arrived at Massad’s house to serve a search warrant. After announcing their presence, five officers blew off the locks, broke down Massad’s door with a battering ram, and deployed a flash-bang distraction device. Massad responded by firing two shots from his .40-caliber H&K pistol at the doorway.
The deputies retreated to cover, and were on the verge of launching a gas container into the house when Massad emerged from the building and surrendered.
“He’s lucky he’s not dead,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told a news conference, as reported in the Tampa Bay Times. Necco also praised his officers for not firing back. “They did what they thought was appropriate at the time,” he said.
Practicing medicine without a license
The search warrant for Massad’s house was issued following a four month investigation into allegations that the mayor was practicing medicine without a license.
Massad had been a licensed doctor until 1992, when a botched cosmetic surgery procedure resulted in the death of a three year old being treated for “port wine stains” on her face. As part of a $300,000 settlement, Massad voluntarily surrendered his license.
Six years later in 1998, Massad was working as the pitchman for an unapproved medical device known as Cyrstal Ear. A 14-state investigation stopped sales of the mail-order hearing aid device, but not before its owners had raked in $11 million.
Recently, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had received reports that Massad might be treating patients again from his home, using medications bought online. Massad unwittingly treated an undercover agent feigning a knee injury. At least one patient is believed to have needed hospital treatment following undergoing a procedure administered by Massad.
The other scandals of Dale Massad
Despite the disastrous end to his medical career, Dale Massad managed to find redemption of sorts in New Port Richie local politics. Over a period of nearly two decades he flitted on and off the city council.
In August 2015 he stood for mayor in a three-way special election race and won with just 182 votes (40%). He was reelected unopposed 18 months later.
His tenure as mayor has featured more than a few controversies.
Soon after his election he called police after reporting the presence of homeless men in his air conditioning ducts. He claimed they were trying to watch him have sex.
Later, a man stole a pistol registered to Massad and used it to commit suicide. Several women accused him of domestic violence, and both he and his girlfriend were arrested last August following an altercation at home.
Now, held in Pasco County jail without bail, Massad is facing further troubles. Authorities are now investigating allegations he may have committed insurance fraud, billing providers for procedures carried out illegally at his home.
Massad is just one of several South Florida city officials to make headlines with colorful scandals. In October, the Florida Commission on Ethics ruled Mayor David Steward of Lantana had likely tried to trade speed bumps for sex. Madeira Beach Commissioner Nancy Oakley resigned in February after allegations that she had licked the face of a city manager.