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Date of Issue: July 12, 2007

BB record request remains a quagmire

The newest release of records by Bradenton Beach city attorney Ricinda Perry to clerk Nora Idso, which in turn was provided to the media, contains only three pages of new documents, but does at least reveal that there was indeed some sort of investigation by Perry into allegations of sexual harassment against former building official Ed McAdam.

The accusations and the complaint were made by building department employee Gail Garneau, and McAdam’s resignation followed on March 8.

Also noted in the records provided is the fact that the Florida League of Cities, an organization that the city of Bradenton Beach is a member of and which provides legal representation for the city on certain matters, communicated with Perry and another attorney, Greg Hootman, who sometimes defends claims against the city on behalf of the FLOC, and FLOC staff on the claim by Garneau.

Four pages of documents, were released on request by The Islander for information regarding any investigation of a claim against McAdam.

Hootman wrote Perry on March 12, referring to a conversation earlier that day concerning the “potential claim” of Garneau. He states that he spoke with Dave Cominsky, director of the FLOC division of property and casualty, who had requested that Perry send him “a copy of the investigation which was conducted” into Garneau’s complaint.

Another copy of a previously provided memo from Hootman to Cominsky that was copied to Perry and provided previously to the media was again provided, as was yet another copy of Garneau’s undated notice stating that she would file a formal complaint against the city for sexual harassment by McAdam.

The last page provided is a letter to the city clerk from the FLOC property and liability claims office stating they are in receipt of the claim notice, with a notation that the date of loss was recorded on Oct. 1, 2006.

Until recently, Perry claimed in the public records lawsuit filed by The Islander that the records sought did not have to be released because she was still investigating the sexual harassment complaint. On June 27, she claimed the investigation had been concluded.

Perry’s billings to the city through May reflect that the only dates she or anyone else in her firm conducted an investigation into the matter were from Feb. 21 through March 7. They also reflect that Perry called each of the commissioners on March 7, the day before they held the “emergency” meeting and accepted Mc Adam’s resignation without any discussion or comment.

Yet again, in spite of numerous requests made by The Islander to all parties involved, attorneys, mayor, commissioners and FLOC, no records have been provided to substantiate Garneau’s claim, the results of Perry’s alleged investigation of McAdam, and no records have been provided showing what, if anything, resulted from the insurance claim filed by the city with the FLOC.

According to Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law, almost all meetings and records are to be open and readily available to the public and no person, attorneys included, may act as a conduit of information between public officials.