Decision on AIDS care contract turns into public records suit for Gov. Scott

Turn over your schedule -- and faster please, group says

By Mike Vasilinda - Tallahassee Bureau Chief
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott was ordered by a judge to turn over three months of his detailed schedule -- which the governor is appealing -- and now he’s been hit with another lawsuit alleging he has been slow to turn over those public records. 

The situation started when a multimillion dollar contract for AIDS care was given to an organization other than the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, so the foundation appealed that decision.

The foundation is also suing Scott for records, including emails between the office and a list of health care lobbyists of rival vendors.

“Virtually every other governmental entity provides, if not all, at least some of the records within that five-day period," said attorney Ryan Andrews, who is representing the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "I think it's telling that we didn’t even get one document from the governor’s office."

Most days, Scott’s schedule is blank, but often, there is much more to the governor's activity.

Andrews got a judge to order Scott to release the details of his schedule for a three-month period. The governor is appealing the ruling.

Suing the governor over public records is nothing new for Andrews' law firm.

In 2015, Andrews' father, Steve Andrews, sued the governor over different public records.

He discovered Scott was doing state business through two private email accounts, and won a $700,000 judgment.

“One of the most important rights the citizens of Florida have protected by the Florida Constitution is the right to public records -- in any form (such as) private emails (or) cellphones,” Steve Andrews said.

In response to the latest lawsuits, Scott's office called them, “Nothing more than a publicity stunt and a desperate attempt on behalf of a vendor who is upset that the state will be contracting with another service provider.”

Ryan Andrews is also asking for legal fees in the case.

The outcome of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's challenge could rest on the public records requested, and because of that, their delivery is required to be expedited.

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