Clerk of Courts Ellis Comments On County Amicus Brief
By Scott Ellis, Brevard County Clerk of the Court // July 29, 2014
ABOVE VIDEO: Brevard County Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis comments on the county attorney’s Amicus Curiae brief regarding EDC.
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By Scott Ellis, Brevard County Clerk of Court
‘There Is Nothing More Foolish Than Doubling Down On A Losing Hand’
The Brevard County Commission triggered a flurry of outside support for the Clerk’s Office with their vote to file an Amicus brief in favor of the EDC’s claim that none (None) of their records are public records.
While the First Amendment Foundation was aware of our legal victory over the EDC on the public records issue, they had preferred to let the Courts play out – until Brevard County Government jumped in.
By the County coming in it placed local government squarely on the side of secrecy and in opposition to the very public records clause they themselves have in their contract with the EDC.
Not only does the EDC seek to keep the lid on the remaining political and internal documents on the Blueware scandal, but by declaring ALL records closed the taxpayers will be denied any look into how their $1.4 million is spent annually.
By the County coming in it placed local government squarely on the side of secrecy and in opposition to the very public records clause they themselves have in their contract with the EDC. Not only does the EDC seek to keep the lid on the remaining political and internal documents on the Blueware scandal, but by declaring ALL records closed the taxpayers will be denied any look into how their $1.4 million is spent annually.
Michael Barfield of Sunshine Litigation sent the following message to us and Mr. Gueddes, the new attorney added by the EDC to attempt to overturn Judge Moxley’s ruling on the public nature of the EDC records.
“Attorney Andrea Mogensen has directed me to inquire as to whether any party objects to the filing of an amicus brief on behalf of the First Amendment Foundation, Inc., and in support of Appellee in the matter of EDC of Florida’s Space Coast, Inc. v. Ellis, Case No. 5D14-1356.”
Mr. Barfield then added the following organizations:
- The Florida Press Association
- Associated Press
- Lakeland Ledger
- Sarasota Herald Tribune
- Florida Society of Newspaper Editors
- Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
Not a bad list for a local Clerk’s Office. Most telling has been the lack of statewide support for the EDC and the Brevard County Commission.
Lynda Weatherman, the EDC’s president and chief executive officer, told county commissioners that the case could have negative statewide implications if Moxley’s ruling is upheld, by hurting efforts by economic-development agencies to attract companies and jobs to the state.
How so, and if so, why are all the other EDCs all over the State not jumping in for Brevard?
It may very well be they recognize Lynda Weatherman, and now the County Commission, have a tiger by the tail and cannot figure out how to let go. They also are probably quite unhappy the Brevard EDC opened up a can of worms nobody wanted opened and now cannot put the worms back in the can.
When I first got word of the County’s intent to look at the Amicus brief, my words to the County Manager were quite plain:
There is nothing more foolish than doubling down on a losing hand.