TO: City Manager Lee R. Feldman, Mayor Jack Seiler, Police Chief Franklin Adderley
cc: City Commissioners Bruce G. Roberts, Dean J. Trantalis, Bobby B. DuBose, Romney Rogers
Dear City Manager Feldman, Mayor Seiler, and Chief Adderley:
As I said in my message to city officials on May 1, Fort Lauderdale’s position with respect to the public records in the Alex Pussieldi matter that are being either withheld altogether or redacted with illegal scope is preposterous — an embarrassment both to transparent government and to constructive action on the important issue of amateur sports sexual abuse.
You have already given me most of the police Special Victims Unit report on Pussieldi in February 2004. The report references attachments: verbatim statements by Pussieldi and by Roberto Cabrera Paredes. Those attachments were not released. And any statement that those documents do not exist simply is not credible. (I should add that such an assertion also so far does not seem to have been clearly expressed, or justified.)
Other disputes include the retrieval of a complete email thread, only excerpts of which were produced, and the redaction of the full narrative of an email from the acting city manager to the police.
In my experience, I have succeeded in difficult public records request scenarios in California, Colorado, Texas, Connecticut, and Maryland. Florida has one of the strongest open information statutes in the nation, and there is not a serious question as to whether I would prevail in a professionally processed appeal of our dispute here. Absent a reasonable settlement, I expect to file the necessary litigation in the very near future, and that news will dovetail with growing major media coverage of the Pussieldi case and of the USA Swimming coach sex abuse scandals as a whole.
Responsible officials could spare needless expense and delay by working with me on a more transparent response to my public records requests. I invite any of you, individually or collectively, to contact me toward that end.