Two citizens groups that had their Sunshine-violation lawsuit against Sarasota County turned away by a judge will file an appeal later today.
Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government and Citizens for Sunshine will claim the judge erred in his ruling last month, which allowed the county’s contract with the Baltimore Orioles to stand.
The lawsuit claimed that Sarasota County officials conducted negotiations with the baseball team outside of the public eye.
Judge Bob Bennett ruled that three county commissioners unintentionally violated the state’s Sunshine Laws, but said Commissioners Joe Barbetta, Nora Patterson and Shannon Staub should not be sanctioned, because there was no overt attempt to break the law by avoiding public discussion.
Assistant County Attorney Rick Elbrecht has not yet seen the appeal, but said he believes Bennett made the correct ruling.
"We're confident the ruling will be upheld by the appellate court," he said.
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].