Sunday, December 7, 2014

Councilwoman Pratt - Apparent Violation of State Laws

Originally posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010
As stated in my previous post, the Community Maritime Park Associates, Inc. (CMPA, Inc.) is a non-profit corporation registered with the state of Florida.

The Officers listed on www.sunbiz.org for this corporation are:

COMMUNITY MARITIME PARK ASSOCIATES, Inc.
Principal Address 316 S. Baylen Street, Suite 300 (Mr. Mort O’Sullivan)

Registered Agent and Officers

Megan B. Pratt - current Pensacola City Councilperson for District 9 and employed at the
Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, IHMC
Lacey A. Collier - retired Pensacola circuit court judge
John W. Merting - attorney
Robert D. Hart, Jr. attorney
Juanita Scott - PJC employee
Richard R. Baker - Northwest Florida Mortgage Company
Jimmy E. Jones - Medical Doctor

There is no list of CMPA members other than the officers listed above

Trustees are: Quint Studer
John Cavenough
Admiral Fetterman

I, and many others, have stated that Mr. Studer should build his own ballpark and office building instead of having us build them on our waterfront property. There are several areas in the City that would be perfect for this use such as two abandoned school areas. This would remove a dangerous nuisance (rundown school buildings) and enhance inner city areas. It would also leave our waterfront to us, the taxpayers, since we paid for this property.

Admiral Fetterman ran the National Aviation Museum on the Naval Air Station base very successfully. The Maritime Museum should be built on the Navy base within easy access of the thousands of Naval students on the base. There are several waterfront sites on the Navy base that would be perfect for the Maritime Museum. The base has room for parking which our waterfront property does not, the base has easy access to the sites which our waterfront property does not and, most of all, being on the base would relieve City taxpayers of the crushing burden of the Community Maritime Park financing which was initially conceived in secret and sprung on the populace after a briefing to members of the City Council had indicated they would approve of the project. Two local citizens have filed a lawsuit regarding this apparent violation of the Florida Sunshine Law after it was reported to the State Attorney who said he could see nothing wrong.

Mr. Cavenough has thousands of acres owned by the University of West Florida, some of it is waterfront. Their buildings should be built at UWF with education funding and not downtown by taxpayers, who have trouble meeting their monthly bills, providing the funding.

Councilwoman Pratt is apparently currently breaking State Law as she is voting on matters pertaining to the CMPA, Inc., while serving as an officer in that Company. I have written, on June 7, 2010, to the State Attorney, Mr. William Eddins filing a complaint against Councilwoman Pratt for breaking the law.

As of this date, July 15, 2010, I have received no response by letter, email, or phone call from Mr. Eddins or his office regarding my official complaint about my representative (Councilwoman Pratt is an at-large representative) apparently breaking State Laws regarding conflict of interest and the Florida Sunshine Law. I will keep you posted if Mr. Eddins answers my letter.

The Pensacola News Journal has not mentioned Councilwoman Pratt's apparent violation of Florida State Laws regarding conflict of interest and the Florida Sunshine Law. I will keep you posted if they ever discuss this apparent violation on the part of our elected official.



Letter of June 7, 2010 to Mr. William Eddins, State Attorney for our District

Mr. William Eddins
State Attorney
1st Judicial Circuit
190 Governmental Center
Pensacola, Fl 32501

Dear Mr. Eddins

I am asking that you investigate the matter of Pensacola City Councilwoman Megan Pratt apparently violating the Florida Sunshine Law and Florida Statutes 112.3143, Voting conflicts (public officers, employees and records) and 112.313 Standards of conduct for public officers, employees of agencies, and local government attorneys.--

Councilwoman Pratt was appointed to the Community Maritime Park Associates, Inc. Board and it appears that since her appointment she has violated the above-mentioned Florida Laws.

Pensacola City Council Meeting of 5/13/2010 and Committee of the Whole Meetings of 5/10/2010 and 5/13/2010

At the Pensacola City Council Meeting of 5/13/2010, Councilwoman Megan Benson Pratt repeatedly voted (in the affirmative) regarding CMPA, Inc. matters when she is an officer of CMPA, Inc.

Councilwoman Pratt is required by Florida Statute 112.3143, Voting conflicts (public officers, employees and records) and 112.313 Standards of conduct for public officers, employees of agencies, and local government attorneys.--to abstain from voting and disclose the conflict of interest regarding voting.

Also on May 10, 2010 and May 13, 2010, Councilwoman Megan Pratt attended a Meeting of the Committee of the Whole and repeatedly voted regarding CMPA, Inc. matters in violation of Florida Statute 112.3143, Voting conflicts (public officers, employees and records).

According to Florida Statutes, Pensacola Councilwoman Pratt should have disclosed her conflict of interest and abstained from voting. She did neither.

112.3143 Voting conflicts.--
(1) As used in this section:
(a) "Public officer" includes any person elected or appointed to hold office in any agency, including any person serving on an advisory body.
(b) "Relative" means any father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law.
(2) No state public officer is prohibited from voting in an official capacity on any matter. However, any state public officer voting in an official capacity upon any measure which would inure to the officer's special private gain or loss; which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any principal by whom the officer is retained or to the parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal by which the officer is retained; or which the officer knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the public officer shall, within 15 days after the vote occurs, disclose the nature of his or her interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes.
(3)(a) No county, municipal, or other local public officer shall vote in an official capacity upon any measure which would inure to his or her special private gain or loss; which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any principal by whom he or she is retained or to the parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal by which he or she is retained, other than an agency as defined in s. 112.312(2); or which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the public officer. Such public officer shall, prior to the vote being taken, publicly state to the assembly the nature of the officer's interest in the matter from which he or she is abstaining from voting and, within 15 days after the vote occurs, disclose the nature of his or her interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes.
(b) However, a commissioner of a community redevelopment agency created or designated pursuant to s. 163.356 or s. 163.357, or an officer of an independent special tax district elected on a one-acre, one-vote basis, is not prohibited from voting, when voting in said capacity.
(4) No appointed public officer shall participate in any matter which would inure to the officer's special private gain or loss; which the officer knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any principal by whom he or she is retained or to the parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal by which he or she is retained; or which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the public officer, without first disclosing the nature of his or her interest in the matter.
(a) Such disclosure, indicating the nature of the conflict, shall be made in a written memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, prior to the meeting in which consideration of the matter will take place, and shall be incorporated into the minutes. Any such memorandum shall become a public record upon filing, shall immediately be provided to the other members of the agency, and shall be read publicly at the next meeting held subsequent to the filing of this written memorandum.

(b) In the event that disclosure has not been made prior to the meeting or that any conflict is unknown prior to the meeting, the disclosure shall be made orally at the meeting when it becomes known that a conflict exists. A written memorandum disclosing the nature of the conflict shall then be filed within 15 days after the oral disclosure with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting and shall be incorporated into the minutes of the meeting at which the oral disclosure was made. Any such memorandum shall become a public record upon filing, shall immediately be provided to the other members of the agency, and shall be read publicly at the next meeting held subsequent to the filing of this written memorandum.
(c) For purposes of this subsection, the term "participate" means any attempt to influence the decision by oral or written communication, whether made by the officer or at the officer's direction.
(5) Whenever a public officer or former public officer is being considered for appointment or reappointment to public office, the appointing body shall consider the number and nature of the memoranda of conflict previously filed under this section by said officer.


112.313 Standards of conduct for public officers, employees of agencies, and local government attorneys.--
(1) DEFINITION.--As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, the term "public officer" includes any person elected or appointed to hold office in any agency, including any person serving on an advisory body.
.
.
.

(15) ADDITIONAL EXEMPTION.--No elected public officer shall be held in violation of subsection (7) if the officer maintains an employment relationship with an entity which is currently a tax-exempt organization under s. 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and which contracts with or otherwise enters into a business relationship with the officer's agency and:
(a) The officer's employment is not directly or indirectly compensated as a result of such contract or business relationship;
(b) The officer has in no way participated in the agency's decision to contract or to enter into the business relationship with his or her employer, whether by participating in discussion at the meeting, by communicating with officers or employees of the agency, or otherwise; and
(c) The officer abstains from voting on any matter which may come before the agency involving the officer's employer, publicly states to the assembly the nature of the officer's interest in the matter from which he or she is abstaining, and files a written memorandum as provided in s. 112.3143.

Mr. Eddins, it is imperative that our elected officials obey the law as dictated by Florida Statutes especially during this troubling time of lack of trust in our elected officials. It is also imperative that violations of the law be properly investigated and dealt with by the officials elected and paid to enforce local, state and federal laws – such as yourself.

I shall be awaiting your response.

Sincerely,



Mary Mead

No comments:

Post a Comment