MILTON — Local businessman and Tourism Development Council member Jack Sanborn was found not guilty Dec. 1 of a Sunshine Law violation.
State Attorney Bill Eddins announced the indictment Nov. 6, stating that Sanborn was charged with a non-criminal violation stemming from conversations he had with fellow TDC members Kyle Holley and Liz Horton, the board chairwoman, about prices of the new tourism website and staffing. Such a violation is punishable by a fine up to $500.
Sanborn appeared before Santa Rosa County with Judge Jose Giraud. Tom Williams, a prosecutor with the State Attorney’s office, called Holley and Horton as witnesses during the trial. Sanborn, who represented himself in the hearing, presented his case after pleading not guilty.
The judge ruled Sanborn did not violate the Sunshine Law, stating that discussions between TDC members weren’t enough to violate the law.
The complaint that Sanborn was possibly violating a Sunshine Law involving members of the TDC — in which Sanborn has been a member for two decades — was brought to Eddins’ attention in August by Santa Rosa County Attorney Roy Andrews.
Florida’s Sunshine Laws provide public access to governmental proceedings at state and local levels. The laws also apply to gatherings of two or more members of the same board to discuss a matter that could come before a board for action, according to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s website.
Sunshine laws also apply to elected and appointed governmental boards such as the TDC.
The TDC comprises nine members and advises Santa Rosa County’s Tourism Development Office on issues such as marketing and spending of grants and other funds.