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Attorney makes ‘massive’ Anna Maria records request

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Attorney Rich Rumrell of Rumrell Law, Rumrell, Bate & McCleod, P.A., St. Augustine, sent Anna Maria city clerk Alice Baird a public records request Feb. 5 that Baird said is “more massive than the (Commissioner Harry) Stoltzfus requests” of 2010.

Rumrell attended the Jan. 31 city meeting at which commissioners passed an administrative moratorium on new construction and agreed to move forward with a 27-foot height-restriction ordinance.

Rumrell told commissioners he was the attorney for the plaintiff in a successful lawsuit against the city of Venice after commissioners attempted to prohibit vacation rentals in areas where such rentals already existed.

Rumrell’s request includes all records, documents, emails, letters, films, recordings, etc., relating to vacation rentals, both long- and short-term, from among 22 current and former elected and appointed city officials, including the late Shirley O’Day, who was a member of the code enforcement board.

Rumrell requested all records “between, to and from private citizens and/or corporate entities and the planning and zoning board regarding vacation rentals from 2011 to the present.” The same information was requested of the code enforcement board and commission.

The records request includes all agendas and minutes from P&Z board, code enforcement and city commission pertaining to vacation rentals from 2011 to the present.

He also asked for all correspondence from the building department regarding short- and long-term rentals and any records regarding “restricting the number of bedrooms in single-family residences.”

Rumrell further asked for any agreements with city planner Alan Garrett, and agreements with “corporations who employed Alan Garrett.”

Rumrell said “time is of the essence,” but Mayor SueLynn said the request is extremely large for Anna Maria’s small administrative staff. The staff can’t “drop everything” and do nothing but compile records. She estimated it would take several weeks to comply with the request.

SueLynn said she has talked with city attorney Jim Dye about the response time, and Dye will discuss this with Rumrell. The mayor said Baird and other staff already have begun to collect the requested information.

The 22 people named by Rumrell to provide records include SueLynn and Commissioners John Quam, Nancy Yetter, Gene Aubry, Chuck Webb and Dale Woodland.

The request also asks for records from O’Day, Bill Iseman, Jeff Murray, Judith Cable, Carol Lewis, Diana Milesko, building department staff member Diane Sacca, Maureen McCormick, code enforcement officer Gerry Rathvon, former planning and zoning board chair Sandy Mattick, current P&Z chair Tom Turner, and current P&Z members Lou Ellen Wilson, Margaret Jenkins, Mike Pescitelli and Carl Pearman, as well as building official Bob Welch.

Rumrell said he is representing “clients in Anna Maria,” but declined to name them. He said they would be identified if his clients proceed with legal action against the city.

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