Breaking: State Attorney Jeff Ashton releases textgate report: $500 handslaps all around

OK, so here goes. Jeff Ashton's office just released its findings on Textgate: “My conclusion, therefore, is that these text messages were public records and could only lawfully be disposed of pursuant to statute.  The statutory procedures in this case were not followed and, therefore, all of the officials who deleted text messages related to this issue violated Florida law.”   “Violation of any provision of the statute, regardless of intent or knowledge, constitutes a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars.  It seems very clear to me this is the correct statute to apply and the correct punishment to seek in response to the actions of Mayor Jacobs, Commissioner Boyd, Commissioner Brummer, Commissioner Thompson and former Commissioner Martinez.” That may sound like tough language, but basically it isn't. The report in full declares that nobody really broke the law, they just took direction from a "citizen," local Republican leader Lew Oliver (who is unnamed in the report). Organize Now director Stephanie Porta responds thusly: "Today, the state attorney reaffirmed what the courts and the citizens already knew -- these commissioners colluded with corporate special interests like Disney, Olive Garden and Red Lobster to thwart the will of voters by refusing to put an Earned Sick Time referendum on the ballot. Commissioners tried to conceal their collusion but they got caught. These politicians are supposed to work for us, not their campaign contributors. When they don't there should be consequences. Sadly, these politicians will hardly get a slap on the wrist for violating the public trust. When elected officials have a get out of jail free card nothing will ever change." Attached is the full 6 pages of Ashton's reasoning. An FDLE report will be released later today. Stay tuned for more coverage after the 3 p.m. press conference.  

Texting Investigation Report (08!28!13)

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.