Sunday, April 20, 2014

EDC Appeals Public Records Judgment


Brevard Clerk of Court Scott Ellis
TITUSVILLE, Florida -- The Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast (EDC) filed a notice of appeal on Friday which challenges the ruling handed down by Brevard County Circuit Court Judge John 'Dean' Moxley, Jr. that the EDC produce all records requested by Scott Ellis, in his official capacity as Brevard County Clerk of the Circuit Court, within thirty days.


The EDC also filed a motion which requests that Judge Moxley, Jr. issue a stay of his final judgment until the appeal is heard by the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, Florida.

 

"The EDC will be irreparably harmed if the status quo is not maintained and the EDC if required to comply with the Judgment...," the EDC's attorney, Kim Rezanka, wrote in the motion to stay. "... Such discovery includes, among other things, material protected by privilege, trade secrets, and work product..."


The EDC's motion gave little detail as to how the EDC would be harmed when the judgment already allows that, if the EDC believes certain records are not subject to inspection, the EDC "... provide a privilege or exemption log specifying the record and the basis for non-disclosure...." within 30 days.



According to the Florida's Public Records statute, "A stay order shall not be issued unless the court determines that there is a substantial probability that opening the records for inspection will result in significant damage."


EDC CEO Lynda Weatherman

Later that same day, Ellis' attorneys, Curt Jacobus and Kevin McBride, filed a cross-appeal which seeks attorneys fees from the EDC.



BACKGROUND:



BlueWare is the company caught up in a public corruption criminal case brought by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and State Attorney Phil Archer against former Clerk of Court, Mitch Needelman, his former business partner Matt Dupree, and BlueWare CEO Rose Harr


The EDC helped BlueWare and some of its affiliated companies to qualify for various government programs and other "workforce incentives" that could have totaled nearly $2 million in taxpayer money.   None of those incentives were ultimately awarded to BlueWare because it did not meet its performance benchmarks.

After the Clerk's office learned from a Brevard Times investigative article published on August 26, 2013 that State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity officials said the BlueWare's confidentiality had lapsed and Governor Rick Scott's Office stated to Brevard Times that the BlueWare incentive contract was canceled on April 5, 2013, the Clerk sent his auditors to the EDC in Rockledge the next day to request a copy of the EDC file on BlueWare.  When the EDC refused to comply with the public records request, Ellis then filed this lawsuit.


Brevard Times was the only news source to continue a series of in-depth investigative articles led by Charles Parker into this and related stories: 


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