Search and Categories


September 4, 2009 by Barbara


Dear Readers… In past posts I have addressed the e-mail requests made by resident Yann Brandt to Vice Mayor McIntee which led to VM McIntee requests for e-mails from Commissioner Dodd and Mayor Minnet…. A quick recap…Mr. Brandt sent an e-mail to the Commissioners after the termination of BSO Chief Scott Gooding in June…He received an e-mail (see below) from Vice Mayor McIntee from his personal AOL account (as shown)…Mr. Brandt then made a Public Records Request (PRR) for e-mails for the period June 1st to June 29, 2009….and after a long wait (beyond reasonable, per statute) he received incomplete production of his request….He again made a PPR to request all personal e-mails from the Vice Mayor that were “Town related business”….due to the e-mail he received showing the Vice Mayor had indeed used his personal AOL account to respond… Again he waited for a response in a “reasonable amount of time” per the state statute…He was advised in an e-mail from the Town Clerk that the Vice Mayor was out of town and would not be back until  September 4, 2009….On August 21, 2009 Mr. Brandt sent an e-mail to the Town to ask  for the requested e-mails after seeing the Vice Mayor was back in town …Town Clerk White  responded on August 24,2009 …(see below)…that the Vice Mayor had been notified of the request for the e-mails, that the Town Clerk was not in possession of them and did not have access to them….On September 3, 2009 Mr. Brandt received a copy of a letter to the Town Clerk from the Vice Mayor dated August 30, 2009 (see below)…stating he could “provide NO e-mails for the period in question June 1st to the 29th”…that “emails are not saved by AOL who handles all my email accounts. I do not keep any emails in my personal computer. The June dates requested by Mr Brandt are not accessible to me. Very Truly, Vice Mayor Jerome McIntee”…

According to the Florida statutes…Vice Mayor McIntee…is the “custodian” of the public records (see below)…and the only way he does not “keep” e-mails in his personal computer is to “delete” them which he has been instructed per Florida Sunshine Law is not allowed…A look at a recent case in the City of Venice shows…the Vice Mayor could be in for a whole load of trouble…(see below)….Mr Brandt has made further inquiry to the Town about the e-mails and this post will be forwarded to those who took on the case in Venice…as well as being “tagged” on the internet…The item of e-mails is also on the Sept. 9, 2009 agenda …under New Business by Comm. Dodd in order to address the Vice Mayor’s request for his and the Mayor’s personal computer e-mails…So, you have to wonder …just when did the Vice Mayor deleted his AOL e-mails?…Before or after the request made by Mr. Brandt (Mr Brandt received his e-mail from the Vice Mayor’s AOL account 6/28/09)?… And before or after his own request from his opponents on the dais?…YIKES!…


DEAR READERS…check your e-mails…did you send and receive an e-mail from Vice Mayor McIntee from his AOL personal account?…If so please forward them to [email protected]…or use the comments below… It will help in keeping government transparent and thus calling the Vice Mayor out on his actions to thwart the process!…


On Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 5:56 PM, wrote:

The police department surrounded the VFD station with no notice and locked all the doors and took all the equipment, shutting the VFD down completely.. The situation with the Chief is not anywhere near this type of action. The Sheriff has the situation under control the department is covered by supervisors and no one is in any jeopardy in out town. I support the actions of the Town Manager and have faith in her actions. VM McIntee




‘City of Venice Agrees to Settle Sunshine Case – Public’s Right to Know Vindicated


14744866.2 Citizens for Sunshine, Inc.
200 S. Washington Blvd., Suite 5
Sarasota, FL 34236
[email protected]

CONTACT: Andrea Flynn Mogensen, Attorney (941) 955-1066 or [email protected] or Matthew Leish, Attorney (813) 229-4341 or [email protected]

SARASOTA, FL – On the eve of Sunshine Week celebrations across the nation, and after nine months of contentious litigation, the City of Venice voted today to accept a settlement agreement in a precedent-setting open government case. In the summer of 2008, activist Anthony Lorenzo and Citizens for Sunshine brought a lawsuit centering upon the deletion of e-mails and the alleged use by elected officials of liaisons, in-person meetings, and private e-mail accounts to circumvent Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law. Early in the litigation the trial judge took the unusual step of ordering a forensic examination of the home computers of the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and a Councilmember after plaintiffs’ attorneys presented evidence of widespread violations of the Public Records Law. The lawsuit later survived repeated attempts by the defendants to have the claims dismissed prior to trial, which had been scheduled to begin on February 23 before being postponed due to the proposed settlement. Under the settlement agreement, the City admits to violations of both the Sunshine and the Public Records laws and accepts the imposition of broad remedial requirements to ensure the preservation of public records and uphold the constitutional requirement that public business be conducted in the Sunshine. The settlement also requires the City to pay substantial attorneys fees, as mandated by the Public Records and Sunshine Laws.

Barbara Peterson, President of the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee, praised the results of the litigation. “First and foremost, the case highlights the importance of open government and will, hopefully, encourage citizens to take a more active role in overseeing their government – that their oversight and vigilance can make a significant difference. And it makes it quite clear to government agencies and employees that they can’t somehow evade or avoid Florida’s open government laws by using personal computers and personal e-mail accounts to conduct the public’s business.”

Despite a vigorous defense mounted by a dozen attorneys for the City and its elected officials, Citizens for Sunshine prevailed on behalf of the public’s right to know. As a result, a cloud has been lifted over the City of Venice and the fight for government accountability and transparency has been vindicated. The settlement agreement reached in this historic case will serve the citizens of Venice in exercising their rights by ensuring the City’s compliance with both the spirit and the letter of the Sunshine and Public Records Laws. The agreement provides for specific and substantive measures that will protect the constitutional right to openness in conducting the public’s business, including a mandatory annual training program for elected and appointed officials and a ban on the use by such officials of private email accounts to conduct City business. The Plaintiffs were initially represented by Andrea Flynn Mogensen of Sarasota, who was later joined by First Amendment attorney Matthew Leish and his associate Amy Carstensen of Carlton Fields, PA in Tampa. “I would like to thank my attorneys for their dedication in the face of significant adversity. Andrea Flynn Mogensen worked tirelessly and sacrificed much of her solo law practice over the past 9 months to prevail in this case. Also, we could not have reached this result without the intervention of Matt Leish and Amy Carstensen from Carlton Fields. Their expertise and resources proved instrumental at a critical time during the litigation. Finally, I want to thank Michael Barfield for his keen insights and dogged determination at every stage of this case. Each of them worked as a team to set the standard in this precedent-setting case,” said Anthony Lorenzo, President of Citizens for Sunshine, Inc. Florida’s Public Records and Sunshine Laws have come to be regarded as national models for governmental access and citizen participation. This year, Florida will celebrate exactly 100 years of its Public Records Law. Today, citizens can be assured that those laws remain strong tools that allow them to discover what their government is doing.

Read the complaint filed in the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit at

Read the settlement agreement at

About Citizens for Sunshine Citizens for Sunshine, Inc., is a not-for-profit which promotes awareness of and compliance with the Florida Public Records and Government-in-the-Sunshine Law. Anthony Lorenzo is the President of Citizens for Sunshine, Inc.’
119.021 Custodial requirements; maintenance, preservation, and retention of public records.–

(1) Public records shall be maintained and preserved as follows:

(a) All public records should be kept in the buildings in which they are ordinarily used.

(b) Insofar as practicable, a custodian of public records of vital, permanent, or archival records shall keep them in fireproof and waterproof safes, vaults, or rooms fitted with noncombustible materials and in such arrangement as to be easily accessible for convenient use.

(c)1. Record books should be copied or repaired, renovated, or rebound if worn, mutilated, damaged, or difficult to read.

2. Whenever any state, county, or municipal records are in need of repair, restoration, or rebinding, the head of the concerned state agency, department, board, or commission; the board of county commissioners of such county; or the governing body of such municipality may authorize that such records be removed from the building or office in which such records are ordinarily kept for the length of time required to repair, restore, or rebind them.

3. Any public official who causes a record book to be copied shall attest and certify under oath that the copy is an accurate copy of the original book. The copy shall then have the force and effect of the original.

(2)(a) The Division of Library and Information Services of the Department of State shall adopt rules to establish retention schedules and a disposal process for public records.

(b) Each agency shall comply with the rules establishing retention schedules and disposal processes for public records which are adopted by the records and information management program of the division.

(c) Each public official shall systematically dispose of records no longer needed, subject to the consent of the records and information management program of the division in accordance with s. 257.36.

(d) The division may ascertain the condition of public records and shall give advice and assistance to public officials to solve problems related to the preservation, creation, filing, and public accessibility of public records in their custody. Public officials shall assist the division by preparing an inclusive inventory of categories of public records in their custody. The division shall establish a time period for the retention or disposal of each series of records. Upon the completion of the inventory and schedule, the division shall, subject to the availability of necessary space, staff, and other facilities for such purposes, make space available in its records center for the filing of semicurrent records so scheduled and in its archives for noncurrent records of permanent value, and shall render such other assistance as needed, including the microfilming of records so scheduled.

(3) Agency orders that comprise final agency action and that must be indexed or listed pursuant to s. 120.53 have continuing legal significance; therefore, notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or any provision of chapter 257, each agency shall permanently maintain records of such orders pursuant to the applicable rules of the Department of State.

(4)(a) Whoever has custody of any public records shall deliver, at the expiration of his or her term of office, to his or her successor or, if there be none, to the records and information management program of the Division of Library and Information Services of the Department of State, all public records kept or received by him or her in the transaction of official business.

(b) Whoever is entitled to custody of public records shall demand them from any person having illegal possession of them, who must forthwith deliver the same to him or her. Any person unlawfully possessing public records must within 10 days deliver such records to the lawful custodian of public records unless just cause exists for failing to deliver such records.

more to come….

Post Division