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Lake County asks judge to dismiss lawsuit over Confederate statue decision

Image: Architect of the Capitol
Image: Architect of the Capitol

While some communities around the country are removing Confederate monuments, Lake County is defending in court its decision to accept a statue of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith.

The County Commission is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its vote last July to welcome the Confederate statue.

It's being replaced at the U.S. Capitol by a sculpture of Mary McLeod Bethune and will have a new home at the nonprofit Lake County Historical Museum in Tavares.

The lawsuit by Lake County Voices of Reason claims the commission violated the Sunshine Law by meeting privately one-on-one with the curator of the museum.

Then, citing the commissioners’ approval, the curator convinced a panel to let the museum take the statue.

In a motion to dismiss filed on Friday, the county says the community group is misrepresenting the Sunshine Law and that meetings with individual commissioners do not violate it.

The county argues there is no evidence of a decision reached in private before the public meeting.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.