Top Tallahassee attorney hired to defend the City Council’s appointments….
With my two ethics complaints pending at the Florida Commission on Ethics (FCOE) against Robert Weinroth and George Brown (individuals recently appointed by the City Council to the Boca Raton Airport Authority), the City apparently has hired Tallahassee Attorney Mark Herron, to enter an appearance on behalf of these named individuals in the complaints.
Mr. Herron is a well-recognized and highly paid attorney based in Tallahassee who is often associated with cases having to do with ethics and voting challenges; a formidable and expensive legal combatant….
It must be nice to have an unlimited budget on the taxpayer dime to hire such notable representation for individuals that arguably should not be represented by the City Attorney at all.
In the video record of the City Council’s justification for this action, there was no limit placed on the City Attorney as to the scope and cost of this representation.
The City Attorney advised the Council that she was going to take this action unless they stopped her from moving forward. The Council did not stop her and, in fact, offered their opinions as to why her actions are warranted….
Funny….The City Charter specifically talks to this type of action and offers no language to support these expenditures.
In a May 11, 2015 email from the City Attorney to me and copying the city manager and all council members, she states that the City Charter provides for the City Attorney to “act(s) as legal advisor to the city and to all its officers on matters relating to their official duties.” (Sec. 3.10, City Charter). She goes on to say that “the Office of the City Attorney, therefore only issues legal opinions and advice in accordance with that provision.”
Well, where in that language does one find justification to represent the individuals named in these ethics complaints? I proffer that there is none….making this expenditure of taxpayer dollars dubious at best….
Placing their name into nomination and being appointed to the Boca Raton Airport Authority is not an ‘official duty’ of either of these individuals in their roles as City Council member and Deputy City Manager.
Even more interesting is that in the City Attorney’s analysis of my ethics’ complaints, she uses the adjective ‘frivolous’ to characterize the filings. Well, if it is so frivolous why does a high paid, top tier attorney in Tallahassee need to be retained to respond at the FCOE?
A very curious question for sure….
We shall see what we shall see but I stick by my belief that the airport appointments were improper; that advising these individuals as to legal consequences of their actions is improper; and, that paying for legal representation to defend the individuals in these ethics complaints is also improper.….
You be the judge…..
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