- November 28, 2022
The attorney for Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh issued a statement Friday on Baugh's behalf in response to what he termed as "ridiculous and false allegations" levied by Sarasota's Michael Barfield.
Barfield, the board president for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, filed a complaint with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office about Baugh's role in setting up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch that had been requested by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The complaint also concerns Baugh sending a list of five names — herself, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch CEO and President Rex Jensen, Lawrence Jensen and two of Baugh’s neighbors — to Public Safety Director Jacob Saur as "names for vaccination requested" Feb. 15, two days before the site opened.
Public Information Officer Randy Warren of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said Monday an investigation of the complaint is ongoing and no further comment can be made about an open investigation.
Attorney George Levesque's response:
"During her tenure as a duly elected public official, Commissioner Baugh has faithfully fulfilled her duties to the letter of the law. Because this is an ongoing investigation, I don’t intend to comment at length or provide an interview but do want to say, first, the Commissioner will cooperate with the Sheriff’s Office and all its requests. Second, we intend on proving this complaint false for the simple fact that Commissioner Baugh never received a vaccine.
"We expect the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office will do its work in a professional manner, and that at the end of the process, Commissioner Baugh will be exonerated against Mr. Barfield’s complaint driven by his personal vendetta against her."