Morgan Political Sign
Campaign signs around the county show Escambia Sheriff David Morgan wearing a Maltese Cross, signifying 'knighthood.'
A gray cast shrouds Morgan's colorful ribbons
One of the most striking awards pictured in Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan’s campaign poster photo isn’t military at all.
It’s a sizable eight-pointed metal Maltese Cross displayed just below his necktie knot and signifying “knighthood,” as stated in his resume on the Florida Sheriff’s Association website.
Morgan said he was knighted in 2006 in New York City by Count Nicholas Bobrinskoy, “the great, great, great, great nephew of Catherine the Great, the last female empress of Russia.”
That ceremony, and the $1,000 fee that the organization says Morgan paid in advance, bestows on him the title of knight in a nonprofit charitable organization called The Sovereign Order of the Orthodox Knights Hospitaller of Saint John of Jerusalem.
Although the honorary order has its origins in Russia, candidates needn’t be of Russian lineage to join. Morgan isn’t of Russian descent.
The sheriff said he joined the group because it combines his interests in history and his desire to support worthy causes, though he hasn’t been active of late.
The group’s causes, according to its brochure, include helping victims of hurricanes from Honduras to Florida, famine sufferers in Africa and disabled children in Russia.
Count Bobrinskoy died a few months after Morgan was “dubbed” with a sword in a church ceremony said his widow, Countess Tatiana Bobrinskoy, in an interview last week.
She said that Morgan has not been active lately. In recent years, she said, he hasn’t contributed the minimum $100 in annual donations expected from each of the group’s 500 knights in the U.S. and other countries.
“He hasn’t done enough for the order,” Countess Bobrinskoy said. “And you can tell him that.”
Responded Morgan, “Annual membership fees are mailed out. I have not received one, to the best of my knowledge, for this year.”