Suzanne Harris has won a lawsuit alleging the state Sunshine Law was violated when Walton County hired attorney George Ralph Miller without the public being notified.
Judge John Simon granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Harris attorney Matt Gaetz.
The ruling could end a case originally filed in 2010, following a controversial purchase of South Walton land in the area of Chat Holley Road.
Simon decided that then-interim County Attorney Lynn Hoshihara put Miller on retainer without notifying the board of county commissioners she was doing so.
That violated a county admonition to Hoshihara that she “work with the board to secure outside legal counsel, as needed,” Simon said in his ruling.
Walton County wound up paying $187,400 to Miller during the time he was on retainer, the ruling said.
“Unilateral action by one government official that commits taxpayer funds and that has not been fully and lawfully authorized at a public meeting” violates Florida law, the judge ruled. [READ MORE]