Lawsuits a new tactic against those seeking public records

A long-running clash between state water managers and a celebrated environmental activist is heightening tension over aggressive tactics used by Florida governments pushing back against citizens seeking public records. (Source: The Daily Commercial)

From The Daily Commercial: A fierce fight in Martin County is alarming many government watchdogs.

Maggy Hurchalla, a former Martin County commissioner and sister of late U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, is appealing a $4.4 million judgment against her by a jury earlier this year, which found she used her influence as a conservationist to disparage a mining company’s project — sending critical emails to commissioners.

The verdict capped a five-year struggle marked by charges of public records violations involving two commissioners and a former commissioner.

It also led to an $18 million settlement for the mining company, Lake Point, from Martin County and the South Florida Water Management District.

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