Tallahassee Democrat by Jeffrey Schweers
December 18, 2018
Leon Circuit Judge John Cooper today closed the books on the landmark public records lawsuit the Tallahassee Democrat filed last year against the city over deleted text messages.
Lawyers for both sides met in Judge Cooper’s chambers and went over the case. They agreed the city had met the terms of a settlement agreement that led to creation of an unprecedented policy for saving and archiving text messages.
“I think the issue we brought the suit on is an issue that needs attention, how you handle electronic communications under the public records law,” said Jon Moyle, co-counsel for the Democrat. “The settlement cuts some new ground on public records law on texts and electronic messages.”
The Democrat sued the city in November 2017, alleging that former City Manager Rick Fernandez deleted text messages that showed he asked lobbyists for expensive sky box tickets to a Florida State University football game in 2016.
The lobbyist worked for Unconventional Strategies, whose founder Adam Corey is at the center of an FBI probe into alleged corruption of local officials.
The suit also said city staff failed to preserve business-related messages.