The group Citizens for a Greater Orange County has filed a lawsuit against the county government, alleging that several lobbyists for powerful Central Florida businesses texted county commissioners on their private phones right before they decided the fate of an earned sick time pay ordinance. They claim these businesses were fighting the sick time plan being pushed by their grassroots organization.
The lawsuit filed on Friday requests all the text messages from county commissioners, the county attorney, and staff on September 11. That is the day commissioners decided not to put the sick time pay ordinance on the November ballot.
Orlando attorney Scott Randolph, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of group, said some lobbyists texted commissioners ahead of the meeting and some during the meeting.
"There's a secret meeting going on with those county commissioners via text message. We believe the public has a right to know what was going on," he said. "Were they being asked to vote a specific way and was a lobbyist being used as a conduit to completely avoid open meeting laws?"