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Date of Issue: March 31, 2010

Stoltzfus calls attention to legal expert

Anna Maria City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus sent a memo to the city March 25, stating that he was “told by an attorney today (that) Michael Barfield admitted under oath in the Venice case to 68 felony convictions.”

Stoltzfus provided a statement to attendees at the March 25 city commission meeting indicating Barfield’s involvement and 10-year sentence in a federal conspiracy case.

Barfield, who sent the city a public records request in mid-March asking for all the e-mails relating to city business to and from Stoltzfus, did not deny he has been convicted and served time in prison. But he disputed the number of convictions.

“I served my time, and I’m sorry for what I did. I’m now trying to make a contribution to society,” Barfield said.

Barfield calls himself an electronic media specialist, saying he performs e-discovery. Think of it as a records autopsy, he told The Islander. “I merged my interest in computer technology with e-mail technology when e-mail first came to be popular.”

He said he has been employed by a number of law firms on questions relating to Florida’s Sunshine and public records laws, and all the attorneys knew his record and background when he was hired.

Barfield worked for attorney Andrea Flynn Mogensen of Sarasota and the Carlton Fields law firm of Tampa on the suit against the Venice City Commission that eventually was settled for $1 million.

Both attorneys were aware of his background, Barfield said.

“Obviously, I have nothing to hide,” he said.

According to online records, Barfield has five federal convictions, all in 1998, in what the media called the Corum case. He was convicted of grand theft in 1997 in Palm Beach County, but did not serve any time.

Barfield said Stoltzfus is attempting to assassinate his character, but his past has nothing to do with the present.

“I don’t know what this has to do with my public records request,” Barfield said. “Any citizen can make such a request. It’s a state law.”

And, he said, “the records are the records.”