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DeBary Considers Suing Its Mayor Over Public Records Request

DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson/Photo: City of DeBary

The DeBary City Council is holding a special meeting Wednesday night to decide whether they will sue the mayor and file ethics complaints over unfilled public records requests.

The city council tabled legal action earlier this month so Mayor Clint Johnson could deliver requested records at a special meeting in May. But then Johnson took to social media, with a screenshot of a Facebook post where he called those seeking the documents “terrorists.”

Barbara Peterson, president of The First Amendment Foundation, said the legal wrangling is unusual.

“It’s the first time I think that I’ve ever heard of a city attorney asking for a city attorney to sue a sitting member of a commission,” said Peterson. “But what frequently happens is that I’ll get a call from a city clerk, for example, saying I’ve got a public records request for all the commissioner’s emails and the commissioner deleted them. It’s usually text messages, they’ve deleted the text messages and I don’t know what to do.”

The requests include financial documents relating to a State of the City flier that Johnson published and featured paid advertising.

Screenshots show Johnson claiming on Facebook that he has filled the records requests.

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About Catherine Welch

Catherine Welch