Orlando Sentinel by Beth Kassab
Sept 17, 2019
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement declined to open an investigation into potential sunshine law violations related to the governor-appointed board that controls Orlando International Airport.
The decision comes in response to a letter to State Attorney Aramis Ayala from the First Amendment Foundation that raised concerns after the Aug. 28 meeting of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. Ayala had forwarded the letter to the FDLE.
During that meeting, board members Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings questioned whether “inappropriate” conversations took place regarding a plan to hire new co-general counsels at the airport.
“The allegations described in the letter are, at best, circumstantial,” read a response from FDLE to Ayala’s office. “The allegation relies solely on a newspaper article. At this time no witnesses have come forward to offer any evidence as to a violation of Florida law; nor was any independent evidence presented to corroborate the allegation.”
Eric Edwards, chief of investigations for Ayala’s office, wrote in a letter to the First Amendment group that he received a response from FDLE on Sept. 12, three days after Ayala’s office sent the complaint, and the agency noted the allegations if substantiated, would at most amount to a second-degree misdemeanor.
“The facts and circumstances of this allegation do not meet FDLE’s investigative strategy,” read the response to Ayala. “As such, FDLE will not open a criminal investigation at this time.”