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Sarasota Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 1 year ago

School board selects new legal counsel

Attorneys from Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick will replace Art Hardy after more than 20 years as general counsel.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

The Sarasota School Board selected new legal counsel to replace longtime attorney and general counsel  Art Hardy after he retires. 

Daniel DeLeo

With a 3-2 vote in a special meeting, the school board approved the legal team from Sarasota firm Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick. Hardy will retire after more than 20 years with the district. 

Attorney Daniel DeLeo will be in charge of the team. Patrick Duggan, who previously served as counsel for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, will handle daily work. 

Board members Karen Rose and Bridget Ziegler voted against the firm because of DeLeo’s relationship with former superintendent Todd Bowden. 

Patrick Duggan

During Bowden’s application process, when he was facing accusations of sexual harassment, the Shumaker firm represented him. 

He also supported campaigns by board members Shirley Brown, Jane Goodwin and both Rose’s and Ziegler’s opponents. DeLeo said he would no longer back any campaigns to avoid conflicts of interest. 

In the end, the firm received majority favor with board members citing the firm’s local knowledge and DeLeo’s help in promoting the district’s property tax referendum. 

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