August 3, 2016 – WPBF
by Terri Parker
A Riviera Beach activist who once won a Supreme Court fight against the city is now offering a $100,000 reward for evidence of corruption against one current council member, after a complaint he made led to a criminal charge against another.
Fane Lozman held a news conference Wednesday in front of City Hall, holding up a flier with Councilmember Dawn Pardo’s picture and offering the reward for any evidence of “any alleged corruption – for example – illegal payoffs and bid-rigging.”
Lozman filed a complaint with the State Attorney’s Office last year alleging Sunshine Law violations against council members, after a city meeting where a member made comments revealing he and another council member had already talked about the issue.
Documents in the case released by the State Attorney reveal former Councilmember Cedrick Thomas admitted he and other council members routinely discussed city matters, often on their own private emails, when they didn’t want people in City Hall to have access to the conversations.
“They were using not only face-to-face communication to arrange votes, but they were also using their personal emails because they didn’t want me and you, they didn’t want the public to learn what was going on in this city,” said Lozman.
Investigators said Thomas admitted he and Pardo had private conversations and/or sent private emails about the City Marina redevelopment vote, and may have had them with other council members also.
When asked if he violated the Sunshine Law, investigators said Thomas said “yes.” Thomas said he and other council members talked about other matters as well, saying, “We did it.”
Investigators also asked him why Pardo was using her private email account and discussing city business instead of using the city accounts and they wrote that he said, “City staff can look at your (city) emails and if you didn’t want what you were saying going through the city, you used private email because there are ‘people on the inside working against council.'”
Investigators concluded that Guyton and Thomas violated the Florida Sunshine Law, which requires all formal actions of a commission be accomplished only at public meetings that are announced in advance. [READ MORE]