Space Coast EDC issues statement on the Ellis case
From the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast:
Claudia Devitt, Sr Manager, Marketing and Communications
The Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast’s appeal regarding public records request, and remanded the case back to the lower court for further rulings.
“We are grateful for today’s’ outcome. Winning this appeal is a step in the right direction. Businesses utilizing the services of an economic development organization require confidentiality of their plans and organizational intentions. Without the safeguard of privacy, Brevard County will face a competitive disadvantage in attracting and growing business investment and long term job creation”; stated Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the EDC.
“It is apparent from the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal decision that it identified facts clearly establishing that today’s EDC is not the entity that was created in 1989. The District Court of Appeal recognized that the functions of the EDC have evolved, and we hope the clerk of courts recognizes what these factual observations by the court signify.” Stated Edward Guedes, Esq. with the law firm Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L. appellate counsel for the EDC. “The court recognized the role of the EDC to serve as the county’s primary, not its sole, agent for economic development activity. The county continued to carry out economic development activities itself through its own paid county employees and in conjunction with other entities to the exclusion of EDC.”
“The court ruling further confirms the EDC’s actions in this case by stating ‘The party [EDC] refusing to provide documents acted on the good-faith belief that it was not an agent, subject to compliance with the Public Records Act,’” stated Debbie Goode, Chairman of the EDC.
Bob Swindell, Chairman of the Florida Economic Development Council, who supported our appeal with an amicus brief had the following comment regarding today’s news. “This ruling is not only a positive outcome for the EDC of Florida’s Space Coast, but for all economic development organizations across the state of Florida.”
Next steps in this process will be led by our legal counsel.
If you would like to read the legal ruling, you can download a copy here.