A criminal investigation was initiated by the Palm Bay Police Department last month over text messages that were deemed public record between State Representative Randy Fine and Palm Bay Mayor Rob Medina that went missing.
Last July, a records request was sent to Palm Bay Mayor Rob Medina requesting messages between him and Randy Fine related to Fine’s involvement in Palm Bay’s resignation of Jeff Bailey and his replacement.
Mayor Medina supplied screen shots of text messages between him and Fine that appeared to be incomplete. When the rest of the records were requested as a follow up, Mayor Medina replied with “the records no longer exist.” When asked the reason why records no longer exist, Mayor Medina replied “I went back to check my phone when asked and there are no text under the name search anymore.”
The messages (located at the end of this article) show that Medina was also coordinating with former Palm Bay Mayor Capote. Mayor Capote stated that he has never had a conversation with Medina related to anything in these text messages.
According to Florida Statutes 119.10, any person who willfully and knowingly violates public records laws commits a first degree misdemeanor.
The investigation was turned over to the State Attorney’s office which drew the following conclusions.
What will surprise most people is the comment that the individuals who wrote the public records laws (State Representatives) are exempt from complying with those same laws. Since Representative Fine cannot be forced to supply the records, there is no evidence available to prosecute Mayor Medina.
You read that correct. An entire branch of government, that wrote laws to provide transparency in government, are exempt from complying with those same laws.