Last week, following through with our threat, we filed a lawsuit against the City of Deerfield Beach and Mayor Jean Robb for alleged violations of Florida Statutes 119/286 (Public Records and Sunshine).
For those just tuning in, here’s the overview:
- This past August, we asked for all city business emails from Robb’s personal email account “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
- Robb, as the legal record custodian, returned a total of seven emails for a period of 39 days.
- Having in our possession emails that Robb didn’t turn over, we re-confirmed our request with the Clerk.
- The Clerk’s Office indicated, “That’s all that was turned over.”
- We then tried to PRR the “crack Robb was smoking.”
In an interview with the Sun-Sentinel (Forum Publishing), Robb indicated:
- Chaz has no idea how the Florida Sunshine Law works.
- Since she forwards (supposedly) all of her emails to her city account, she’s no longer the record’s custodian.
Robb’s incorrectly asserting her position that she’s not the record’s custodian based on misunderstood information. She owns the Comcast account, therefore she’s the legal guardian.
We note for the record we’re one of the few citizens appointed to the First Amendment Foundation Sunshine Brigade.
In honor of Sunshine Week 2010, the First Amendment Foundation has created the Sunshine Brigade, a loosely-organized coalition of open government and citizen activists who have been chosen for membership because of their commitment to government oversight and holding government accountable for its actions.
In our suit, we made the claim Robb is intentionally withholding emails and is conducting business out of the public eye. Additionally, we’ve asserted since the City knew Robb was withholding information, they failed in their legal responsibility to secure those records.
The City, we opine, should have forced Robb (via a lawsuit) to provide all of those records.
This past Friday, City Attorney Andy Maurodis farmed the work out to attorney Stuart Michelson.
We believe Michelson will recognize he can’t represent both the City and Robb and will be forced to choose one over another.
Over the past couple of years, MAOS has filed a raft of complaints, so there might be a bit of fatigue in our audience. If you’re caught up in that mindset, we strongly suggest that you pay close attention. And here’s why:
- This isn’t a freebie complaint to the SAO, OIG, or FDLE. This lawsuit cost us quite a bit of money out of pocket. In fact, this is only the second time we’ve ever filed a suit.
- Our attorney, David Frankel, in his attempt to make the City responsible for records retention, may very well help re-write public records law.
You see, up until now, if an elected official used their own email account to conduct business, they’re bound by law to be record’s custodian. With that, there’s a built-in trust factor in play; we’re to assume these very same elected officials will turn over all of the records.
Which, we intend to prove in Court, Robb ain’t doing.
That’s illegal, by the way, and an impeachable offense.
In a suit such as mine, the Wonka Golden Ticket would be to convince a Judge that Robb will never turn over all of her records, and as such, s/he would subpoena Robb’s Comcast accounts (plural), and then perform an on camera, in-chamber review. The Judge would determine which emails are public records, and release them to us.
That, my friends, very rarely happens. And if it did, we’d have struck pay dirt.
Florida Records Retention policy states emails must be saved for 365 days.
The post started off with the assertion that Robb is continuing to break the law. Let’s get to that, shall we?
This coming week, we’ll be amending our complaint, alleging that Robb’s violation of Public Records actually started back in June, 2013, spanned multiple accounts, and is based upon this Records Request.
Since her return from rehab, cough, sorry, I mean most recent re-election, I would like copies of *all* Mayor Jean Robb’s email, regardless of originating email account.
I would like to remind you … a) I think Quintella is simply the best, b) FrankenMayor really “hates you people”, and c) Robb has several personal email accounts.
Kindly advise that old battle-axe that willfully withholding public records, public record = public document regardless of where it was sent to/from, is a misdemeanor. And yes, I’d gladly file a complaint.
In response, Robb provided me with lots of emails. But not all of her emails. And none for a particular account.
There’s this organization called The United States Conference of Mayors, and they provide a PDF of all contacts for the mayors. In Robb’s listing, it’s noted her contact email is “email@example.com”.
Additionally, during Robb’s “meet the Mayor” shindig at City Hall, she’s on video telling folks to reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org.
So quite obviously, Robb is conducting business through this account, yet when I asked for all emails over a period of four months, not a single item was produced.
Nary a one.
However, we have emails in our possession from this account, and at the very least, those emails should have been coughed up.
And now you are up to speed.
Robb’s f***ed and soon off to jail.