The State Attorney’s Office has decided to investigate allegations that Santa Rosa County Commissioner Bob Cole violated the Sunshine Law.
“We are in the process of reviewing it. We’re interviewing some individuals as part of the review,” said Greg Marcille, the chief assistant state attorney for Florida’s ‘.
Marcille said a decision to further investigate the case or whether “charges are appropriate” will be made following the review.
Under the Florida Sunshine Law it is illegal for two members of the same board to discuss matters slated to come before the board outside of a called meeting.
Cole acknowledged he spoke to a fellow member of the Downtown Milton Redevelopment Advisory Board prior to a Jan. 15 meeting, but says he did nothing wrong.
He said the other board member asked him if he intended to nominate businesswoman Kim McCarthy for a vacant board seat and he answered in the affirmative.
“She didn’t ask me to, she asked me if I was,” Cole, who couldn’t be reached Wednesday, said last week. “She asked a question and I responded yes or no.”
Fellow Board Member Jim Messick said at the Jan. 15 meeting that he’d witnessed a potential Sunshine Law violation, but didn’t identify the parties involved.
Cole confirmed for those in attendance at the meeting “I was asked if I would make a nomination … I was asked a question and answered in the affirmative.”
“I apologize to the board,” he said.