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Attorney accuses Bondi of violating public records law

A Tallahassee attorney engaged in a bitter property fight with the state is accusing Attorney General Pam Bondi of destroying emails, failing to retain text messages and violating the state’s public records laws.

Bondi, the chief custodian of the state’s Sunshine law, has acknowledged some documents were inadvertently missing from the records request of Stephen R. Andrews, but her office vigorously rejects his claims.

“These allegations are without merit,’’ said Bondi spokesman Whitney Ray.

In court documents filed this week in Leon County Circuit Court, Andrews portrays a department that allows employees to manually delete emails before they are archived, relies on an outdated email archival system and allows metadata to routinely be destroyed.

He claims that in at least 19 instances, emails were destroyed and the attorney general's office failed to properly retain text messages after he filed a request for a document hold.

Andrews said he discovered the omissions only after he cross-referenced the emails he received from the attorney general through a public records search with those obtained from other agencies. He is asking a judge for a forensic search of all backup servers and storage devices at the agency.

Ray refused requests to explain what the department’s policy is regarding retaining emails and text messages.

Bondi’s attorney, Stephanie A. Daniel, has responded in court documents that the department has produced more than 6,700 pages of private emails, calendars and text messages, and denies they are violating any public records laws. She also accuses Andrews of being unwilling to cooperate and often slow to reply for clarification on his numerous public records requests.

Andrews’ public records feud began in 2012 when the Department of Environmental Protection tried to shield from public view a memo and maps that detailed a proposed Governor’s Park, a six block by three-and-a-half block area in downtown Tallahassee.

The land once belonged to former Gov. LeRoy Collins and includes the office building now home to Andrews’ law firm. The governor and Cabinet voted to buy the property two years ago, in spite of a contract between Andrews and the Collins estate that allowed him to buy his office building.

Andrews filed suit and a judge ordered the state to release the documents. He has been in litigation since then and has made numerous records requests for documents from the governor and Cabinet officials.

In court documents, Bondi’s attorney admits that some documents were missing from department’s public records given to Andrews because of several factors, including “an oversight,’’ a “technology error” and “a copy and pasting error.” Story here. 




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Can't take anymore

What with all the fund raising, speeches to out of state gatherings of fringe conservative groups and regular appearances on Faux News poor Pam just hasn't had the time to worry about how all the stuff in her office gets filed.

Marina Meadows

We have to work hard to erradicate "Oversights" like this and many others.............read my twitter page at mycampaign2014, perhaps my whole Campaign is an "Oversight" ???

Robert Jenkins

See, I have zero confidence in Ms. Bondi. She is more of a politician; than she is the Atty. General. Who can forget that she delayed an execution; so she could attend a fund raiser!!! She should be removed from office. Lookat the numerous investigations involving Republican's charged with misdeeds. The one that sticks out most is david rivera. He was found to have violated at least 11 ethic rules, and she refuses to get involved. Look to the former Lt. Governor; she refuses to bring charges; even though an investigation reveals wrong doing. No Bondi, is not a law enforcemnt official that does her job. She actually seems to shield those from her party, accused of wrong doing. It doesn't hurt that here in Naples; people are saying She and the Govenor are much more than friends!!!

Reid Friedson

The Florida Inspectors General, Ethics Commission, and Human Relations Commission conceal evidence, obstruct justice, and ignore the Indian River State College trustees and attorneys blatantly violating Florida's open government laws. The state attorney for Florida's 19th judicial district should criminally prosecute such violations according to the Florida Ethics Commission. On December 30, 2013 the Florida Ethics Commission dismissed all 30 of the ethics complaints it received as "legally insufficient" which is false.

With all the illegal activities of FL Governor Rick Scott and all the destruction of labor and the environment over the years by the Florida legislature, you have to wonder how both branches of the Florida government get away with such egregious ignorance of the public trust and public interest, not to mention the federal and state constitutions, Florida Statutes, and United States Code.

There is ample cause for a federal RICO investigation of our corrupt Florida government and Florida state college system, not to mention a look into how SACS, the regional accrediting commission, conceals and ignores violations of law and its own principles and standards of accreditation.

Florida is the corruption capital of a nation swimming in it. At-will employees do not leave their constitutional rights at the state college door. It is time to return to a community college system instead of a state college system and state government that is abused by insiders and at the cost to the people of this state.

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