BB commissioner awaits subpoena in city sunshine lawsuit

It’s just a matter of time.

Bradenton Beach Commissioner Randy White was subpoenaed for deposition in the lawsuit filed August 2017 by ex-Mayor Jack Clarke and Bradenton Beach against six former city board members.

The filing July 12 is shown on the Manatee County Clerk of Court website, although White hadn’t been served at press time for The Islander.

The plaintiffs allege the board members violated Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law by discussing city matters at meetings of the now-defunct neighborhood association Concerned Neighbors of Bradenton Beach.

Additionally, the city is alleging the defendants exchanged emails regarding city business that could have come before them as board members.

At a July 19 commission meeting, White, an airline pilot, said he expected to be served but he frequently travels and had not yet received the court order as of July 19.

He said he’s unaware why he’s being subpoenaed and has asked the city to provide representation.

“I thought I was the plaintiff,” White said. “I was elected.”

The city joined Clarke in the suit three months before White was elected and agreed to assume the associated legal fees.

Mayor John Chappie told White since he hasn’t yet been formally served, it is not appropriate to request representation.

“We can’t make a statement until we see what’s there,” Chappie said.

White’s notice of deposition calls for emails, text messages and Messenger chat sessions between White and defendants Reed Mapes, Tjet Martin, John Metz, Patty Shay and Rose and Bill Vincent, as well as former Mayor Bill Shearon, former Commissioner Janie Robertson and Carol and Mike Harrington — all members of the now defunct CNOBB.

Some were members of the planning and zoning board, while others served on the scenic highway committee.

White participated in CNOBB’s candidate forum in October 2017 and expressed support for the group’s charter amendments, approved by voters on the same ballot that put White in office.

White’s deposition with Sarasota attorney Bill Watrous — representing the city and Clarke — is set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, in Bradenton.

Depositions are expected to continue throughout the summer, with an anticipated trial date in the fall.

As of July 19, the lawsuit has cost the city $80,085.80.

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