Governor Rick Scott and Cabinet Members Settle Sunshine Lawsuit
Florida’s Sunshine laws have finally broken through the clouds that have hung over Governor Rick Scott and his Cabinet in regard to the case brought by Matt Weidner, Citizens for Sunshine and a several Media organizations. The matter centered around the firing of Gerald Bailey as the commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). In addition to paying $55,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to the Plaintiffs’ attorney, Ms. Andrea Flynn Mogensen, the governor and Cabinet have agreed to several other demands aimed to hopefully avoid these violations from happening again. It appears that one of these demands requires the governor and his Cabinet to attend “Sunshine Law” training. The July 2015 issue of Brechner Report cited that this matter will cost Florida’s tax payers over $228,000 when all is said and done.
Florida’s Sunshine laws carry with them the potential for criminal penalties (See Chapter 119, Florida Statutes), and prior to the settlement State Attorney Willie Meggs had declined to investigate this matter stating, “I just can’t investigate it because someone read about it in the newspaper.” It is unclear now that in light of the recent settlement if State Attorney Meggs will reconsider his earlier position.
This is not Governor Scott’s first battle with Sunshine Law accusations, as Scott’s transition team was accused of deleting entire email accounts after he initially took the Governor’s office. Ironically this violation was investigated by the FDLE.
You can read the Miami Herald article here:
Mr. Conticello practices law in Tallahassee, Florida, in the areas of Sunshine Compliance, Healthcare, Business law and Civil litigation.
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