State Attorney: Marco City Council did not violate Sunshine Law during anchoring case’s closed sessions

Dave Dumas and Lee Oldershaw, both of Marco, anchor the boat Kinship in Smokehouse Bay on Marco Island in January 2007 purposely violating a city ordinance restricting anchoring, which was determined to be unconstitutional leading to a statewide defense of boaters' rights. Marco spent about two and a half years attempting to defend the ordinance and held a series of closed-door meetings. (File photo)

David Ahntholz/Staff

Dave Dumas and Lee Oldershaw, both of Marco, anchor the boat Kinship in Smokehouse Bay on Marco Island in January 2007 purposely violating a city ordinance restricting anchoring, which was determined to be unconstitutional leading to a statewide defense of boaters' rights. Marco spent about two and a half years attempting to defend the ordinance and held a series of closed-door meetings. (File photo)

— State Attorney's Office concludes Marco City Council did not violate Sunshine Laws, or open government laws, when holding closed meeting during the litigation against a resident that began about two years ago and ended this summer.

Assistant State Attorney Dean Plattner informed Marco resident Lee Oldershaw in a letter Monday that the Office of the State Attorney in the 20th Judicial Court did not find a violation of law in the five executive sessions held by Marco City Council from 2007 through June that were held while discussing the city’s strategy against Marco Island boater Dave Dumas.

Dumas was cited by Marco Island police in 2007 for purposefully anchoring his boat at the Esplanade to test the constitutionality of Marco’s anchoring regulations. It was concluded without question in the summer that Marco could not regulate anchoring of non-live aboard boats outside of mooring fields because it was unconstitutional.

The executive sessions were transcribed and not made public until this fall.

Oldershaw wrote a letter of complaint alleging a violation of the Sunshine Law relative to those sessions that were not open to the public at the time. There was not a specific action labeled as a violation of law in Oldershaw’s complaint, but Plattner said the state attorney reviewed all the transcripts and found nothing illegal.

He concluded: “the office has no authority to consider the substance of the policy decisions made by the Council.”

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Comments » 8

lauralbi1 writes:

There is no victory here !! The sad thing is that Lee Oldershaw was of the mentality to file this with the State Attorney in the first place. I do not know who this person is, but am asking why ?? To have a subject that would be devisive to the Community ?? To create a Political/Campaign issue ?? After all, what would have happened if it had been a violation of the Sunshine Law ?? Maybe, eventually, Mr. Kiester would have had company with Council members that may have been convicted of a crime ?? To get to that point, the City would have spent hundreds of thousands of precious tax dollars defending the Council members in Court. So again, I ask, what was citizen Oldershaw trying to accomplish ?? This is the attitude and issue that citizen Oldershaw and all the "followers" of this mentality need to ask themselves, why?? I can certainly say that the candidates that appeal to these citizens have no chance to represent the majority of Marco citizens.
What was to be gained by this effort?? If someone can answer that below, I will certainly be on the lookout. Honesty and openess in Politics is always mandatory, but this incident happened so far in the past and was already over with.
Ed Issler

OldMarcoMan writes:

Ever noticed how these guys like Lee never run for office or take a personal risk?
Writing a letter to the A/G, that's like being a Tattle-Tail.
At least Dumas was man enough to get arrested for what he believed.

ed34145 writes:

Just add this to the list of costs the naysayers have incurred for the city because of all their capricious lawsuits for publicity purposes. And, they are the first to scream about the budget! Does anyone appreciate the irony?

marco97 writes:

Oldmarcoman, you didn't complain when the same thing happened to Kiester.

liberator100 writes:

Marco 97: Kiester was guilty as charged! He destroyed or hid his computer disks. He was found guilty and penalized. Don't open old files; you will lose!

ChuckKiester writes:

Ed Issler, et al: I have finally reached my limit. I normally try to state facts and positions in replying to blogs but the following will not be considered 'politically correct.' Ed Issler, you are lower than an AH as the latter at least has a function. I will also remind or inform you that the good judge himself who you and others like to quote was reprimanded by a three-judge court of appeals for the same reason that he charged me---purposely violating state statutes. But, as we all know, he was and probably still is a part of thesyndicate/machine.
Listen to liberator and drop the issue. If not, at least agree to meet me behind the barn where we can settle this issue as I have much to teach you. Chuck Kiester

Semper_Fidelis writes:

I agree Chuck, if someone has enough gall to attack you or any of the other councilors they should have enough guts to back it up!! At least you're putting yourself out there. Over the years I have disagreed with you on many issues but I am supporting you in this election as I feel you now represent all islanders, not just a small vocal minority. Guys like Putnam and Issler are very much alike. They are on different sides of the issue but are like irritating flys, always giving their unsolicited opinions on the blogs. Just ignore them; they are just self-important, know it all insects!

ChuckKiester writes:

Semper_Fidelis: Thanks for your comment. Chuck Kiester

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