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Lee County commissioners could have violated Sunshine Law, legal experts say

March 4, 2024

Lee County commissioners could have violated Florida’s Sunshine Law when they each held private, one-on-one meetings with the same developer and/or lobbyist in advance of voting on a comprehensive land-use plan amendment, legal experts said.  

The only way to know if commissioners violated the law would be to gather sworn testimony from the involved participants and have a judge’s ruling, said a paralegal and multiple attorneys with extensive knowledge and experience in Sunshine Law.  

Sunshine Law requires policy decisions to be made in public with records of those meetings being recorded. Although the law allows for commissioners to meet individually and privately with stakeholders, a rapid-fire chain of such meetings involving multiple elected officials from the same board and the same stakeholders has been ruled illegal and upheld by a 1979 appellate court decision.  

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