Thursday, November 15, 2018
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  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lawsuit says Rick Scott’s office won’t fulfill public records request

A lawyer who recently won a public records lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott sued his office again Thursday, accusing his administration of ignoring a separate request for public records needed in a pending legal case.

"You must acknowledge the request and respond to the request in good faith," Ryan Andrews said in a letter to Scott's office included in a complained filed in circuit court. "Time is of the essence."

Scott's office said it did acknowledge the request.

"This lawsuit is 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 to offer HIV/AIDS services statewide following a transparent, competitive bid process," Scott's office said.

Andrews represents the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which recently lost a bid to renew a state health care contract. AHF protested the contract award, its case is pending before the an administrative panel, and the case is set to conclude in less than three weeks.

As part of its case, AHF wants records of communications between Scott's office and dozens of health care lobbyists who represented rival vendors. The list of lobbyists includes Dean Cannon, Al Cardenas, Mike Corcoran, Hayden Dempsey, Nick Iarossi, Fred Karlinsky, Larry Overton, Bill Rubin and Gerald Wester, among many others.

On July 31, Andrews asked for the records. On Sept. 7, he demanded them in five days. In court papers, he says Scott's office has not responded. He filed suit Thursday and is seeking an accelerated court hearing and wants the governor's office to pay his legal fees.

In a separate case, when Scott's office refused to give Andrews copies of his official schedules for a three-month period ending Oct. 31, 2018, Andrews sued the governor and won. Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ordered Scott to produce the records within a 10-day period ending Saturday, Sept. 15.

"(Scott's office) sure wasn't thinking of the taxpayers when they refused to produce the governor's calendars, hired private counsel and were determined to be wrong in court," Andrews said.

Ryan Andrews is the son of Tallahassee lawyer Steve Andrews, who also successfully sued Scott in a major public records case several years ago.

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