Florida Bulldog by Dan Christensen
November 13, 2017
Lawyers for fired Broward Health chief executive Pauline Grant filed a pair of public records requests on the district in May that they believed might shed light on her sudden dismissal last December.
Six months later, Broward Health hasn’t produced a single requested document in response.
Florida’s Public Records Act provides that records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business “are open for personal inspection and copying by any person,” unless specifically exempted by the Legislature.
The – Broward Health’s legal name – hasn’t asserted any exemptions. Instead, the independent taxing district is waging an unusual legal fight that continues to delay the release of those records while sticking taxpayers with the mounting bill.
That legal tab is sure to climb even higher. Besides the two outside law firms Broward Health has hired in the public records case – the Miami firms of Foley & Lardner and Zumpano Castro – the district has retained a string of additional high-profile lawyers, including more from Foley, to represent individual defendants in related civil litigation brought by Grant. Here are some of those lawyers and their Broward Health clients:
- Scott Richardson of West Palm Beach for Interim CEO (and former board member) Beverly Capasso. Richardson’s clients have included Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
- Roberto Martinez and Stephanie Casey of the Coral Gables law firm Colson Hicks Eidson for General Counsel Lynn Barrett. Martinez is a well-known Republican and former U.S. Attorney.
- Bruce Lyons of Fort Lauderdale for board Chairman Rocky Rodriguez. Lyons is a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
- Andrew Levi of Miami’s Lehr, Levi & Mendez for board member Christopher Ure.
- Eric Adams and Mark Rankin of the Tampa office of Shutts & Bowen for Commissioner Linda Robison. Like Adams and Rankin, Robison is a partner at Shutts & Bowen.
It is the Public Records Act lawsuit, however, that is moving the most swiftly and could yield insight into one of Broward Health’s most controversial arenas, its legal department. General Counsel Barrett is scheduled for deposition in the case on Nov. 15.
Broward Health’s board voted 4-1 to fire Grant last Dec. 1 at a hastily arranged meeting where Barrett disclosed she had hired “independent” lawyers to investigate the allegations of illegality. [READ MORE]