What Really Happened in Court on July 23rd

“Judge: Needelman met majority of Ellis' public record requests” is a grossly misleading headline in the Florida Today. The story was fine as Mr. Neale was covering this for the first time, but he could not have predicted the headline.

When the public records lawsuit was filed on June 27th no Blueware documents had been produced and requests for documents stretched back months. There was no flood of requests, just the same requests repeatedly – what was being paid Blueware and on what authority?

Rather than comment on who is a pathological liar (I actually am flattered to get this from Mr. Needelman I his press release), the statement the "$500,000 wire transfer was “a deposit in good faith to continue negotiations” is backed by nothing. The transfer states "INITIAL PAYMENT ON SIGNING". A 'deposit' would have gone to escrow, this did not. The money was wired directly to Blueware May 23rd. I believe much of it was already spent by Friday the 25th.

I have to admit I have always been impressed by the sheer audacity of Needelman claims and press releases. Mr. Needelman failed to show for the hearing so he could avoid any direct questioning. This is dandy in giving one plausible denial. Should a copy of a May 23rd contract surface it enables the Clerk to throw his attorney under the bus while he can re-write history as best fits the circumstances.

During the hearing I told the Judge I had received the public documents AFTER filing the FS 119 hearing. NOTHING was received before the filing. Much of what I have now received did not come from the Clerk's Office but from when Blueware payments of March, April, May, and June, done through electronic transfer, were finally posted to SAP Financial program on JULY 9th and they could be publicly accessed by others. It’s another question gone unasked by the Florida Today, why did it take months to load the Blueware information into the financial system?

If nothing is to be hidden why does the Clerk continue to suppress the Krasny-Dettmer opinion on the BlueGem contract completed May 21st? The May 23rd electronic transfer of $500,000 to BlueGem, which Needelman calls some crazy 'good faith transfer during negotiations' is CLEARLY marked on the transfer itself "INITIAL PAYMENT ON SIGNING". Who in their right mind sends a firm $500,000 to simply negotiate?

The Needelman Press Release is about as long as the story in the Brevard Times. The man was hiding from the courtroom, and whomever wrote the release was not there, either. The judge did not 'rule' I had documents. I did not say I sued to get documents I already had, ONE of the documents were in my possession when suit was initiated. In fact after the lawsuit was initiated is when the Clerk showed up with his version of a signed contract on June 29th.

The lesson for public officials is they can suppress public records with impunity until the requestor is forced to file suit, and only then need they dribble out records during the time it takes to get a hearing.

Both the Florida Today and Brevard Times are attached, with the Clerk’s Press Release. (Editor's Note: Those stories are linked due to copyright. I cannot post whole stories from a publication, but I can link to them.)


Paid political advertisement, paid for approved by Scott Ellis, Republican candidate for Clerk of Court

Florida Today's "Judge: Needelman Met Majority of Ellis['s] Public Record Requests" Editor's Note: The most important lines (reasonable use):

"Harris determined that Ellis has received nearly all the records he requested, save copies of public-records requests submitted by four other people and a 17-page document valued at $2.10. Harris told Merrily Longacre, Needelman’s chief staff counsel, to produce it by noon Friday."

From The Brevard Times: Needelman Wins Partial Victory in Court Case Brought by Ellis Editor's Note: Notice the slant: "Needelman Wins", not that the judge found in Scott's favor and ordered Needelman to hand over more documents and to stop delaying when more are requested. Most important line:

"The Clerk’s Office had also claimed relief due to attorney-client privilege due to the potential of future litigation. Judge Harris called this claim 'disingenuous.'"

Needelman issued this press release following the Court's decision:

For Immediate Release

“Courts Rule that Mr. Ellis Received Everything Outlined in his Petition Prior to the Hearing”

July 23, 2012

Scott Ellis admitted in court today that he sued to obtain information he already had. In the court case against Clerk of Courts Mitch Needelman filed by candidate Scott Ellis, Ellis was forced to acknowledge several times that the information he sought in the suit was already in his possession, having been received from prior public records requests. This admission proves that Ellis filed this suit, within weeks of the election in which he hopes to regain the Clerk’s position, as a political grandstanding gesture designed to garner attention and possibly votes in his bid to oust Needelman from his position.

Since filing as a candidate, Ellis has struggled with the stigma of having resigned his position as Clerk midway through his third term. He has employed numerous tactics throughout the campaign to draw attention away from this fact. This lawsuit is the latest in a long string of political posturing.

After publicly accusing Needelman of flagrant misuse of his power as Clerk to refuse to release information, and going as far as suggesting criminal activity regarding recent contract negotiations, Ellis gained little from his “day in court” with the exception of the judge setting some official guidelines regarding information release, which have already been followed in previous records requests.

Per the Court’s instruction the Clerk will continue to release certain documents per state statute. The Court has ruled that Ellis has received all records requests he has made that fall under the Sunshine Laws with exception of a single, most recent request for a 17 page document, which will be released upon payment of the standard fees charged for public records requests per Florida Statutes.

An attorney/client privilege letter, which Ellis demanded be released, remained protected per the judge’s order. Other information cited in the lawsuit was deemed to have already been released. All in all Ellis did not make the impact he hoped for, and the taxpayers were once again forced to pay for Ellis’ effort to gain publicity for himself and his campaign.

“We were confident in our position on these matters,” said Needelman, “But sometimes it takes judicial opinion to make the case clear to everyone.”

Clerk Needelman has confirmed that since he took office there has been an avalanche of emails from Ellis, some with multi-layered requests for information in a single email correspondence. Additional requests from Ellis’ associates, essentially for the same information on a different day, has resulted in a quagmire of paperwork that is hugely burdensome. Fulfilling these requests has interfered with getting the real work of the Clerk’s office done.

Needelman said: “Although we fully expect Ellis to find another way to create issues, it is the way he has campaigned before, and he will probably continue with it until the election.”


The Bill Mick-Nugget and the 7:00 show with my call in. You may enjoy these:

Bill Mick Comments on Needelman's assertion of $500,000 TAXPAYER DOLLAR PAYOFF to "keep BlueWare in negotiations".

Starting at the 13 minute mark, Bill Mick covers this issue.

Paid political advertisement, paid for approved by Scott Ellis, Republican candidate for Clerk of Court

This is a paid political electioneering communication. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927

This is a paid political advertisement. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927

This is a paid political advertisement. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927. No political candidate approved this advertisement.

This is a paid political disclaimer CYA. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927

For the idiots out there who will make a fuss because they're too stupid to think it through: This is a paid political advertisement. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney, 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927. No Party Affiliation, Phantom Candidate for a Phantom (Does Not Exist: created by obamination's administration: not reality) District in Florida Near You! Now bite me. Morons.

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