Koberlein hires the same attorney as was hired in Lake City to defend a City Manager

The same attorney who investigated Anita Rivers complaint, investigated a complaint against the City Manager of Lake City.

Investigation of Complaint Against City Manager Johnson Cost $11,893: Consultant Clears Johnson

COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – On March 21, 2017, City Attorney Fred Koberlein hired the Law Firm of Alan, Norton & Blue (ANB) of Tallahassee to investigate charges by FSU’s Diane Scholz that she was insulted, bullied, and manhandled by Lake City City Manager Wendell Johnson. In her March 16 complaint, Ms. Scholz did not threaten legal action, but asked that Mr. Johnson be reprimanded. Mr. Johnson denied all charges. On June 9, ANB cleared Mr. Johnson of any wrongdoing. ANB’s investigation cost the City $11,893.

The Investigation

ANB’s investigator Robert E. Larkin III

ANB took sworn witness statements from the following: FSU’s Scholz and Jeff Hendry, the Director of FSU’s Institute of Government, Ms. Scholz’ direct supervisor; City Manager Johnson; Assistant City Manager Grayson Cason; Airport Manager Roland Luster; City Councilman George Ward; Columbia County Econ Dev Director, Glenn Hunter.

Ms. Scholz provided medical reports and pictures of her hand, which she claimed was injured by City Manager Johnson.

According to ANB, Ms. Scholz was interviewed on April 3, 2017. On April 5 ANB was “provided video surveillance footage of the rooms of the Lake Shore Hospital Authority” where the meetings took place where Ms. Scholz’ hand was allegedly injured. The ANB report leaves out how the video footage was obtained. An examination of Hospital Authority public record requests does not include any request for the “video surveillance footage.” ANB’s invoicing does not indicate any charges for the video.

City Attorney Fred Koberlein is the attorney for the Authority.

ANB claims it did not show the video to any of the deponents.

Alleged: Unprofessional Behavior by Mr. Johnson

In relevant part Ms. Scholz wrote: “Starting in August 2016, I have been assisting in discussions about infrastructure improvements at HAECO Americas at the Lake City Gateway Airport… In my opinion, as Mr. Johnson has increasingly been in opposition to what stakeholders were recommending and in favor of bonding, his behavior towards me and others has become unprofessional, inappropriate and violent.”

In her witness statement, Ms. Scholz explained that when Mr. Johnson was in Clewiston, “he shared with me that he had a difficult relationship with Enterprise Florida.”

ANB found regarding the alleged unprofessional behavior:

“Based on Scholz’ specific statements regarding the allegation, there is no evidence that Johnson behaved in an “unprofessional, inappropriate and violent” manner… even if Johnson was argumentative or used an unpleasant tone, that is not akin to offensive or impermissible behavior.”

In 2008, the Clewiston News reported Mr. Johnson suddenly retired during a City Council meeting. Read the Clewiston News report here. On July 6, 2009, LC hired Mr. Johnson.

Alleged: Mr. Johnson Called Ms. Scholz “Hillbilly Girl”

None of the witnesses recalled hearing Mr. Johnson calling Ms. Scholz “Hillbilly Girl,” other than Councilman Ward who said, “I do think I have heard him call her hillbilly girl, but he told me at the time he said that that goes back 20 years… they’ve known each other 20 years. And he said they joked back and forth and he’s called her hillbilly girl. I don’t know if she didn’t like it the entire time and never told him or if she was trying to make this as a slur at that point in time, that I don’t know.”

Mr. Johnson does not recall calling Ms. Scholz “Hillbilly Girl.” Mr. Johnson said, ”I never — I never — I would say that I would not walk into a meeting and just look at her and say — call her a hillbilly girl. I would not do that.”

Ms. Scholz said about the incident, “And he just walked in and said, “hey, hillbilly girl.” And I’m like — I’m thinking, what in the world?  But, you know, it’s no — it wasn’t anything that really, I guess you’d say insulted me.  I just thought it was bizarre and ignored him.  I didn’t react.”

ANB findings:

ANB’s report did not mention Councilman Ward’s statement. ANB wrote, “Even if Johnson did make the comment, there is no evidence that he meant to offend or harass Scholz.”

Alleged: At a meeting Mr. Johnson began yelling and screaming

Ms. Scholz complained: “During a meeting with Glenn Hunter (Director for the Columbia County Economic Development Department), City Councilman George Ward (who is the designated Councilman to oversee the airport) and me, Mr. Johnson burst in shaking, stuttering and red-faced… Mr. Johnson then began yelling and screaming at Mr. Hunter and me, accusing us of going over his head and speaking with his boss and blaming him for things being a mess…”

Ms. Scholz did not say Mr. Johnson used profanity, yet ANB harped on this point with the witnesses. Your reporter has been interacting with Mr. Johnson since 2008, when he arrived in Lake City. While Mr. Johnson may get close to the edge, and occasionally drift to the other side, your reporter has never heard Mr. Johnson use profanity – once.

Councilman Ward said, “In dealing with Mr. Johnson over the past several years that he’s been here, he’s very passionate about what he does… And he does have a little bit of what I call a banty rooster attitude sometimes… All of council has seen that side of him. It’s not always attractive, but he – he does get the job done.”

Econ Dev Dir Hunter said about the meeting, “The door was open and Wendell came in the door. It was late in the afternoon and he was very excited. He was very red faced. He was pointing his finger at me, directing everything at me…”

Mr. Hunter continued, saying that Councilman Ward told Mr. Johnson, “You’re going to have to calm down. You are going to have to leave.”

Both Mr. Ward and Mr. Hunter thought that Ms. Scholz exaggerated the time of the incident. Ms. Scholz said 10-15 minutes. Mr. Ward had the exchange lasting 5-7 minutes and Mr. Hunter was at 3-5 minutes.

Recounting his version of the incident, Mr. Johnson said, “I did not yell and scream. Yes, I was firm and they definitely knew I was angry. I own that. But I was not yelling and screaming. I was not in a blooming fit of rage.”

Lake City Airport Manager, Roland Luster, on hearing of the event, recommended that Mr. Johnson extend an “olive branch” to both Ms. Scholz and Mr. Hunter. Mr. Johnson took the advice and extended the branch a couple of days later.

ANB found:

 “Ward and Hunter confirm that Scholz’ Complaint is a fairly accurate description of the meeting.” The ANB report reported that at another meeting Mr. Johnson “approached them, separately, to ensure that they would continue to have a healthy working relationship.”

Alleged: Mr. Johnson called Ms. Scholz and “Old Dog”

According to Ms. Scholz, at another meeting Mr. Johnson “referred to himself and I [sic] as “old dogs” and I told him, “Speak for yourself!”

Mr. Johnson said, “I don’t know if I said it or not… If I referred to us as old dogs, I did not do it or intend it in any way to be derogatory.”

Both Assistant City Manager Grayson Cason and Airport Manager Roland Luster recalled that Mr. Johnson did refer to himself and Ms. Scholz as “old dogs.”

While it is clear that Mr. Johnson knows municipal finance, calling a woman an “old dog” in most circles would not be considered a term of endearment.

The ANB report defended City Manager Johnson, “Although Johnson may have made this remark, it does not rise to the level of bullying or actionable harassment.”

The bullying remark in the ANB report refers to the undenied contention that Mr. Johnson kept asking Ms. Scholz the same question over and over. Ms. Scholz said that she felt bullied.

Alleged:  Mr. Johnson Hurt Ms. Scholz’ Hand When Shaking it.

Ms. Scholz made the following claim about events which occurred during a meeting held in the Lake Shore Hospital Authority building:

On March 8, 2017, Mr. Hendry and I attended a HAECO Transportation & Training Issues meeting at Mr. Hunter’s office. Before the meeting began, Mr. Johnson was shaking hands with people in the room. He approached me and reached his hand out to me. I held my hand out to shake, but instead of shaking my hand, he grasped my right hand and twisted it as hard as he could. He then quickly moved on. I was in pain, speechless and stunned by his action. It was time to take our seats so there was no opportunity for me to tell anyone what had happened. I sat there with my hand swelling, tingling, turning cold then numb. Later, after the meeting ended, I told Councilman Ward about Mr. Johnson calling me names, yelling and screaming at me and injuring my hand. I told Councilman Ward that I intended on filing a complaint and he replied, “You should file a complaint”. I walked away to say good bye to other attendees. Mr. Johnson began shaking people’s hands. When he got to me and held his hand out, I told him I was not shaking his hand because he had hurt my hand earlier. I wasn’t shouting, but I spoke loud enough that others nearby heard me. I then walked away.

During his statement, Mr. Johnson said that Ms. Scholz brought up the issue of “handshake” and that she would not shake hands with him at the end of the meeting, telling him that he had hurt her before. Mr. Johnson said he was “dumbfounded.”

ANB states that on April 5 they received Lake Shore Hospital Authority Video of the meeting rooms in which the handshake and its aftermath took place. ANB has not revealed who provided the video.

April 6, 2017, when Mr. Johnson gave his witness statement, he was not asked if he had seen the video. He was told that ANB would not show it to him.

City Attorney Fred Koberlein is also the Lake Shore Hospital Authority Attorney. The Authority public record request log is absent of any request for video surveillance from the Authority.

In the past, Authority Manager Jackson P. “Jack” Berry claimed that he could not produce videos in house and the production of those would require an extraordinary charge. For a short video of a few minutes by the Authority courtesy window, Mr. Berry wanted to charge $214.36.

The Authority record of expenditures from March 2017 – June 2017 does not show any payments for videos or extraordinary IT charges.

ANB’s $11,893 invoice does not show any charges for video.

There are claims and counter claims regarding how much Ms. Scholz was using her right hand after the alleged incident.

Ms Scholz provided photos of her hand, taken the day after the purported handshaking incident which shows that her hand had swollen up. She also provided medical records of her trip to the emergency room and a doctor’s report which said her hand been injured.

ANB wrote in its final report:

In connection with her Complaint, Scholz provided medical records corresponding to her right hand and wrist as well as several photographs that she and her husband took of her hands the evening of March 8, 2017. [the day after the alleged incident] (Appendix, Attachment 2). The belated photographs, however, are not as probative as the contemporaneous surveillance video footage. In the photographs, Scholz’ right hand is not discernibly swollen or, for lack of a better term, different than her left hand.


The ANB report concludes: “no reasonable person would find Johnson’s conduct or statements to be objectively offensive, inappropriate, or unprofessional.”

The More I think about the money we are spending to defend Tebo the angrier I get.

The Open Meeting Law states that “a public body may pay” attorney fees incurred by public officials State law allows cities and towns to pay employees’ legal fees for civil suits, but the law does not directly address non-civil matters.

The council hires a Town manager to serve as the chief executive of the Town government. With some exceptions that vary from Town to Town, the Town manager oversees all Town staff.

The Town manager advises the council on their decisions but has no formal authority to vote on laws enacted by the council. Once laws or other decisions are made, the Town manager is ultimately responsible for carrying out the council’s wishes.

As the top public administrator, the Town manager bridges the gap between politics and administration. A Town manager must always be cognizant of how actions he or she takes will be perceived by the individual Town council members, citizens and Town staff.

The Town manager deals with all personnel matters. Decisions to fire a Town employee often come up for the Town manager’s approval. Even though the Town manager has the authority to make termination decisions, a prudent Town manager will seek the informal approval of the mayor and key council members as well as obtain a legal opinion from the Town attorney. At the very least the manager should inform the council when an employee is terminated so that they don’t find out about the situation in the media should the fired employee take the situation public.


You may wonder why I started this article regarding what a Town Manager should do.

In White Springs, our General Liability Insurance Policy covers the Council and Town as a Whole.  However, there is no coverage, especially for our Town Manager Stacy Tebo since what she did to Council woman and prior Mayor Miller was INTENTIONAL.  INTENTIONAL ACTS are NOT COVERED UNDER A LIABILITY POLICY.   If the Town is sued for Libel, Slander and Defamation, the Town would secure defense as a Whole but STACY TEBO WOULD BE EXCLUDED FOR HER MALICIOUS AND INTENTIONAL ACT. 

What Stacy Tebo did was basically state Dr. Miller was guilty before Dr. Miller had the opportunity to plead her innocence.  It was Dr, Miller’s right, as a voted council member,  to handle certain events that have continually been handled throughout the years by the Town of White Springs, without Stacy Tebo’s micromanagement.  The Town Manager was not voted for by the Citizens; council members are voted in by the Citizens.

Unlike Marion County below, our Town does not have an ordinance to reimburse or cover the defense of any Council Member for acts which are not for a public purpose,  much less a Town Manager.  Coverage under the Town’s policy is specifically for the performance of one’s duties.  This act by Tebo definitely was not within the performance of her duties.  Further it is not Ms. Tebo’s right but only the council members and such should not have been advertised without a hearing first.   

Providing an attorney for Stacy Tebo, who railroaded a council person by listing that council person as rogue in the newspaper, IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

In other words the Citizens of the Town of White Springs should not have paid some $20,000 to two attorneys in the investigation of Anita Rivers, which also appeared to be a sham in order to exonerate Stacy Tebo.   Nor should the Citizens of the Town of White Springs pay up to $7,500 for an attorney to defend Ms. Tebo at a hearing.  It is not a Civil Case nor was Anita Rivers’ complaint a Civil Case, so in my opinion Rhett Bullard, esquire, our illustrious mayor is spending this money to protect Stacy Tebo without concern for the public’s interest.

The decision to handle Anita Rivers’ complaint as if it was a court case, was handled outside of the sunshine laws.  In other words, councilors McKenzie and Miller had no idea that this was being handled in that manner.  The Council as a whole did not vote on securing an outside attorney in the Rivers’ case,

Insofar as the upcoming hearing, Rhett Bullard, Tonja Brown and Willie Jefferson agreed Stacy Tebo should have an attorney and as Joe stated previously, Ms. Tebo did not advertise but hired an attorney for whom she had a prior association while working in the Town of Sanford.

We have been checking and have not found a Town, City, Municipality or County who would cover attorney expenses for a Town Manager and there is no ordinance in this Town to the contrary.  Furthermore, such ordinances like the one below pertain mainly to Sunshine Laws and the like and not for intentional acts to defame a councilperson.

Something has to be done and we have to get Bullard, Jefferson and Brown off the Council b y petition or otherwise because all they do is spend our money for their own purposes.  If Bullard and the two other councilors directed Stacy Tebo to do this horrendous act, then the three should pay for Tebo’s expense, not the Citizens of White Springs.

Karin for the blog

P.S.   The Marion County suit is listed below:


The Governor, Attorney General and State Attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit appeal from a Circuit Court judgment issuing a writ of mandamus to compel appellee Nicholson, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Marion County, to withdraw orders issued by Nicholson to stop payment of county warrants delivered to the appellee law firms. Marion County ordinance 76-10 authorizes payment of public funds for reasonable attorney fees incurred by any past or present county commissioner in defending successfully a prosecution for violation

[348 So.2d 1247]

of the open public meetings law, Section 286.011, Florida Statutes (1975). The principal issues are whether the ordinance violates Article II, Section 5(c), Florida Constitution, and Chapter 145, Florida Statutes, limiting the compensation of state and county officers, or unlawfully authorizes the expenditure of public funds for a private purpose.

A preliminary issue, which we need not decide, is whether mandamus was in any event a suitable remedy to require the clerk to withdraw stop payment orders on the warrants, an act related to his audit function under Article V, Section 16, and Article VIII, Section 1(d), Florida Constitution. See Mayes Printing Co. v. Flowers, 154 So.2d 859 (Fla. 1st DCA 1963). In order to secure a decision on the merits and to avoid further trial court litigation on what is essentially a matter of law, counsel for the Governor, Attorney General and State Attorney at oral argument abandoned their position that the action required of the clerk was discretionary rather than ministerial and so not subject to mandamus. With the case in this posture, we have concluded also that the circuit court did not err in permitting those officers to intervene in what previously was a controversy between the warrant payees and the clerk, who has not appealed. Allowing intervention, the circuit judge authorized intervenors to raise any issue the clerk might have raised concerning the validity of the ordinance and, in his discretion, did not restrict the intervenors to participation “in subordination to, and in recognition of, the propriety of the main proceeding.” Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.230. Appellees’ cross-appeal has not demonstrated error in the trial court’s order allowing the Governor, Attorney General and State Attorney full participation as intervenors.

Ordinance 76-10 does not authorize an unlawful supplement to the compensation of county officers provided by Article II, Section 5(c) of the Constitution and Chapter 145, Florida Statutes (1975). It is of course true that Section 145.031 specifies salaries for county commissioners which under Section 145.17 “shall be the sole and exclusive compensation of the officers whose salary is established.” But, though the compensation of sheriffs is similarly fixed by Section 145.071, and is subject to the same prohibition of additional compensation, the legislature has authorized reimbursement of attorney fees incurred by law enforcement officers in successfully defending civil or criminal actions against them for conduct arising out of the performance of their duties. Section 111.065, Florida Statutes (Supp. 1976). It is evident that the legislature did not consider such reimbursement additional compensation proscribed by Section 145.17. Moreover, there is no difference for purposes of this issue between reimbursement of criminal litigation expenses and reimbursement of civil litigation expenses. This court has approved municipal provision of a legal defense for a municipal officer sued as such for defamation. Duplig v. City of South Daytona, 195 So.2d 581 (Fla. 1st DCA 1967).

The closer question is whether ordinance 76-10, by authorizing payment of county funds for the commissioners’ defense of criminal charges arising under the open public meetings law, is invalid as expending public funds for a private purpose. We note that the ordinance in question is narrowly drawn; that it does not purport to authorize reimbursement or payment for legal expenses of commissioners charged with bribery, acceptance of unauthorized compensation, or other general criminal statutes; and that the ordinance benefits only those commissioners whose alleged offense was conducting public business in private, and who were not found guilty. The charge made against the commissioners in this case, which was abandoned at trial, was that they knowingly and unlawfully attended a closed county commission meeting to take official action in locating and establishing a public road.

In enacting ordinance 76-10, the county commission found a public purpose would be served by paying the attorney fees of commissioners and other persons in county office who were unsuccessfully prosecuted:

It is necessary to encourage the continued participation in county government by individuals appointed to various county agencies, authorities, boards and commissions by limiting the potential liability to said persons of having to expend their own funds for the payment of reasonable attorney’s fees when said persons are charged with violation and/or violations of any of the provisions of the Government in the Sunshine Law of the State of Florida, Chapter 286.011, Fla. Stat., when said persons are subsequently acquitted and/or the charges against said persons are dismissed. It is necessary to encourage all qualified persons to seek election to the Board of County Commissioners of Marion County, by alleviating the potential liability to them of having to expend their own funds when said persons are charged with violation and/or violations of any of the provisions of the Government in the Sunshine Law of the State of Florida, Chapter 286.011, Florida Statutes and said persons are subsequently acquitted and/or the charges are dismissed against said persons. Having no concern for the wisdom of the ordinance, we find that it is addressed to a declared public purpose which has been recognized by the legislature in other contexts. Section 112.44, Florida Statutes (1975) authorizes the Senate to provide for payment of reasonable attorney fees and costs of an officer suspended by the Governor and reinstated by the Senate. Section 111.065, Florida Statutes (Supp. 1976) makes similar provision for law enforcement officers who successfully defend criminal and civil prosecutions for conduct arising out of their official duties. In the light of these legislative precedents, we cannot say the legislative authority in Marion County unlawfully imagined a public purpose in bearing with public funds certain costs of unjustified criminal prosecutions of county officers for meeting as a public body otherwise than as permitted by Section 286.011. The judicial question is not whether we would more fervently desire legislation benefiting police officers than legislation benefiting county commissioners, but rather whether the Constitution or statutes deny counties the legislative power to find a public purpose in such provisions. Neither the public meetings law nor any statute to which our attention has been called proscribes such reimbursement. Appellants argue that the impropriety of the ordinance’s finding of a public purpose is beyond debate. Their brief states: [Appellants] submit that the public or county interest is in the prosecution of said public officials and not in their defense. There is no public or county interest in defending a public official accused of violating the Government in the Sunshine Law, Section 286.011, F.S., because in fact the public trust requires that public officials be held accountable in strictly complying with Chapter 286, Florida Statutes. We agree that public meetings should be held in compliance with Section 286.011, that officials violating that law may properly be prosecuted, and that there is no public interest in defending guilty officials from prosecution. But it does not follow, absent general law declaring it, that the legislative body of a county is incompetent to relieve innocent officials, prosecuted as officials for conduct while discussing or taking action on county business, from the financial burden of unjustified prosecutions. State Dep’t of Citrus v. Huff, 290 So.2d 130 (Fla. 2d DCA 1974) is not to the contrary, for it involved no enabling legislation. Decisions from other states relied on by appellants were concerned with entirely different circumstances. The other points urged by appellants are unavailing. AFFIRMED. MILLS, Acting C.J., and ERVIN, J., concur.


Anita Rivers case was not criminal.

  1. Depositions

While the courts have recognized that court proceedings are public events and the public generally has access to such proceedings, the general public and the press do not have a right under the First Amendment or the rules of procedure to attend discovery depositions. See Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc. v. Burk, 504 So. 2d 378, 380 (Fla. 1987), cert. denied, 108 S.Ct. 346 (1987), stating that while discovery depositions in criminal cases are judicially compelled for the purpose of allowing parties to investigate and prepare, they are not judicial proceedings. Accord Post-Newsweek Stations, Florida, Inc. v. State, 510 So. 2d 896 (Fla. 1987) (media not entitled to notice and opportunity to attend pretrial discovery depositions in criminal cases); and SCI Funeral Services of Florida, Inc. v. Light, 811 So. 2d 796 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002) (upholding protective order closing depositions to the media based on privacy concerns). Cf. Lewis v. State, 958 So. 2d 1027 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007) (while Burk applied to unfiled depositions made during an ongoing, active criminal prosecution, materials related to defendant’s prosecution, including depositions, are subject to disclosure after the case becomes final).

The case of Anita Rivers was never not final because it wasn’t a criminal case. But even giving that it was a criminal case it ended when the Council voted to end the investigation. As usual Pam is wrong again.

This is so simple that even Willie and Tonja could understand it if they ever got their heads out of Rhett’s behind.


Council members are to Debate openly on matters before the Council, hear public testimony and act in good faith;

Council members are to Vote and decide issues legally, fairly and without favor;

Council members are to Guarantee the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies.

Willie Jefferson is guilty of Misfeasance, the wrongful exercise of lawful authority, He decides issues before the council not on merit or suitability but only on the way Mayor Rhett Bullard wants. In over 600 votes taken since Rhett became Mayor Willie has voted as Rhett chose to have Willie vote in EVERY Case Willie has never voted opposite Rhett. Willie refuses to have open debate, to hear public testimony and to act in good faith. Willie is incompetent when it comes to having the public’s needs at heart. And finally he neglected his duties to his primary voting block, the Black citizens of White Springs. In four years on the council he has failed to do any good for Blacks in the town of White Springs. He is opposed to Open Government and that the citizens should have access to public documents. He operates in Bad Faith.


  1. Unjustified delay

The Public Records Act, however, does not contain a specific time limit (such as 24 hours or 10 days) for compliance with public records requests. However, “delay in making public records available is permissible under very limited circumstances.” Promenade D’Iberville, LLC, v. Sundy, 145 So. 3d 980, 983 (Fla. 1st DCA August 28, 2014). In Promenade, the court noted that a records custodian could delay production to determine whether the records exist, s. 119.07[1] [c], F.S.; if the custodian believes the some or all of the record is exempt, s. 119.07[1][d]-[e]; or if the requesting party fails to forward the appropriate fees, s. 119.07[4], F.S. Otherwise, the only delay in producing records permitted under Ch. 119, F.S., “is the limited reasonable time allowed the custodian to retrieve the record and delete those portions of the record the custodian asserts are exempt.” Id. at 983, citing Tribune Company v. Cannella, 458 So. 2d 1075, 1078 (Fla. 1984), appeal dismissed sub nom., DePerte v. Tribune Company, 105 S.Ct. 2315 (1985).

Thus, an agency’s unjustified delay in producing public records constitutes an unlawful refusal to provide access to public records. See Lilker v. Suwannee Valley Transit Authority, 133 So. 3d 654, 655 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014) (“Unlawful refusal under section 119.12 includes not only affirmative refusal to produce records, but also unjustified delay in producing them”). See also Rechler v. Town of Manalapan, No. CL 94-2724 AD (Fla. 15th Cir. Ct. November 21, 1994), affirmed, 674 So. 2d 789, 790 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996), review denied, 684 So. 2d 1353 (Fla. 1996), finding that the town engaged in a “pattern of delays” by taking months to fully comply with the petitioner’s public records requests; and State v. Webb, 786 So. 2d 602, 604 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001), (error for a lower court judge to vacate a misdemeanor conviction of a records custodian [Webb] who had been found guilty of willfully violating s. 119.07(1)(a), F.S., based on her “dilatory” response to public records requests).


Pam, that bastion of knowledge of public records exclusions, has denied me a copy of the depositions for a non court case, to wit the depositions in the Anita Rivers flap. Not only did the town spend $20,000.00 on the investigation but now the investigation is sealed for poor folks. It is a travesty. I’ve asked for the State Statute that allows such denial from both the Attorney, and Pam and have yet to receive a reply.

The quote out of the Government in the Sunshine Manual says:

  1. When may an agency charge a fee for the mere inspection of public records?
  2. Providing access to public records is a statutory duty imposed by the Legislature upon all record custodians and should not be considered a profit-making or revenue-generating operation. AGO 85-03. Thus, public information must be open for inspection without charge unless otherwise expressly provided by law. See State ex rel. Davis v. McMillan, 38 So. 666 (Fla. 1905). See also AGOs 84-03 and 76-34 (only those fees or charges which are authorized by statute may be imposed upon an individual seeking access to public records). Cf. AGO 75-50 (the fact that the record sought to be inspected is a tape recording as opposed to a written document is of no import insofar as the imposition of a fee for inspection is concerned).



“What’s so important about the Government in the Sunshine Manual ?”

First off it is written by the Attorney General of the State of Florida. I am assuming that my friend thinks the Attorney General knows more about the law, both the Sunshine Law and the Public Records Law, than Koberlein or any other attorney we could hire. The AG certainly knows  more than that completely incompetent Pam or her mentor and fool in chief Stacy.

But if you need a court opinion try State v. Family Bank of Hallendale decided by the Supreme Court. The citation of such a case is 623 So. 2d 474, 478 (Fla. 1993). The decision in part said “We note that the “Opinion (like the Government in the Sunshine Manual) of the Attorney General is not binding on a court although it is entitled to careful consideration and generally should be highly persuasive.”

That my friends is why I quote the GISM and not a court case or twenty. The GISM puts those 700 Court Cases related to the Sunshine Law and the Public Records Law into readable language so that even an idiot, but not Willie or Tonja, could understand it.

It is important for that reason alone.









Karin for the blog


Joe Griffin godforjoe@gmail.com

3:10 PM (6 hours ago)
to Pam, Stacy
  1. When may an agency charge a fee for the mere inspection of public records?

Providing access to public records is a statutory duty imposed by the Legislature upon all record custodians and should not be considered a profit-making or revenue-generating operation. AGO 85-03. Thus, public information must be open for inspection without charge unless otherwise expressly provided by law. See State ex rel. Davis v. McMillan, 38 So. 666 (Fla. 1905). See also AGOs 84-03 and 76-34 (only those fees or charges which are authorized by statute may be imposed upon an individual seeking access to public records). Cf. AGO 75-50 (the fact that the record sought to be inspected is a tape recording as opposed to a written document is of no import insofar as the imposition of a fee for inspection is concerned).

Now please, confirm Friday afternoon. I’ll be there.

Pam wants to charge me over $800 to look at my and your documents. Is that fair, not according to the quote above from the Government in the Sunshine Manual. I can look all I want free of charge except for the time of the town admin assistant to make sure I don’t destroy any records.

Are we crooked? No more so than Willie and that Einstein wanta be Tonja Brown.


Quotes out of the government in the sunshine manual

Click to teach Gmail this conversation is important.

Joe Griffin godforjoe@gmail.com

7:28 PM (2 hours ago)
to FLK, Stacy

What I fail to understand why the investigation of Anita Rivers complaint against Stacy Tebo is not an investigation (investigative inquires) of the public board or commission, the White Springs Town Council.

What I also fail to understand is why the investigative notes and public documents have been withheld from Public scrutiny.

The GISM clearly states that both should be open to the public. The “investigation” is  no longer active.

Investigative meetings

The Sunshine Law is applicable to investigative inquiries of public boards or commissions. The fact that a meeting concerns alleged violations of laws or regulations does not remove it from the scope of the law. AGO 74-84; and Canney v. Board of Public Instruction of Alachua County, 278 So. 2d 260 (Fla. 1973).

Complaints against employees

Section 119.071(2)(k), F.S., provides that a complaint of misconduct filed with an agency against an agency employee and all information obtained pursuant to an investigation by the agency of the complaint is confidential and exempt until the investigation ceases to be active, or until the agency provides written notice to the employee who is the subject of the complaint, either personally or by mail, that the agency has either:

  1. Concluded the investigation with a finding not to proceed with disciplinary action or file charges; or
  2. Concluded the investigation with a finding to proceed with disciplinary action or file charges.

Prior to the enactment of this statute in 2013, there was no general exemption from public disclosure for complaints and investigative records based on alleged misconduct by agency employees. See e.g., AGO 04-22 (anonymous letter sent to city officials containing allegations of misconduct by city employees is a public record). Instead, the Legislature enacted exemptions pertaining to specific types of complaints and investigations. See e.g. s. 943.03(2), F.S., providing for confidentiality of Florida Department of Law Enforcement records relating to an active investigation of misconduct, in connection with their official duties, of public officials and employees and of members of public corporations and authorities subject to suspension or removal by the Governor.


WHY CAN’T I GET ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS OR ACCESS TO PUBLIC MEETINGS? Could it be that Stacy and our legal help is crooked as can be? You got it!