Brevard Clerk Of Court Files Answer Brief In EDC Case
By Charles Parker // December 16, 2014
Brief Requests Fifth District Court Affirm Lower Court Ruling
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Attorneys for the Brevard County Clerk of the Circuit Court filed an “answer brief” on Monday in the clerk’s ongoing legal battle with the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast regarding the release of Blueware-related documents.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BRIEF
The clerk’s filing answers an appeal by the EDC in the Fifth District Court, requesting that the final judgment in the 18th Judicial Circuit Court be overturned.
Earlier this year, that court found that the EDC is subject to the Public Records Act and therefore must release Blueware records requested by Clerk Scott Ellis.
“It’s a good response covering the history of our case with the EDC and debating their points on appeal,” Ellis said.
“The EDC clearly must not feel confident in their own case as they deliberately in 2014/15 discontinued operating with the County as a Contract for Services and instead substituted some nebulous ‘Grant’ language. No doubt this is done so should the Clerk’s Office prevail they’ll say under the new ‘grant’ the Court ruling no longer is applicable.”
Monday’s brief requests that the Fifth District Court affirm the lower court ruling. Ellis is also requesting attorney’s fees, which were rejected by the 18th Circuit Court.
That ruling of the 18th Circuit originally sided with the Ellis saying that “the County delegated economic development functions to the EDC in place of the county’s former public economic development agency,” according to Monday’s filing.
Ellis filed the initial court petition for records in August 2013 following public record request attempts in January and February 2013 that were denied by the EDC.
In early 2012, the EDC worked with Blueware to obtain incentives from the state and several local entities to relocate to Melbourne. Blueware never received any of the funding.
Around the same time, Blueware and its owner Rose Harr had been awarded a disputed scanning contract by former Clerk Mitch Needelman. Ellis is in litigation trying to recoup county funds as a result of that contract.
Needelman, Harr and Blueware executive Matt DuPree were all arrested on a variety of bribery-related and bid tampering charges in connection with the contract.