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TMCNet:  Complaint to seek probe of Orange texting

[January 28, 2013]

Complaint to seek probe of Orange texting

Jan 28, 2013 (Orlando Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Former state House candidate Sean Ashby said he's going to file a complaint with the state attorney Tuesday seeking an investigation into the Orange County leaders involved in the textgate scandal.

"The complaint seeks an investigation into members of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners for violations related to destruction of public records and improper public input, among other allegations," Ashby wrote in a news release sent out this morning.

In his release, Ashby said he would take the action in response to comments made by representatives for former Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar and his successor Jeff Ashton, both of whom said they were not looking into the public records issue due in part to a lack of any formal complaint.

Ashby, an east Orange County resident and teacher, said he's been approached to run for the District 4 County Commission seat now held by Jennifer Thompson. But Ashby said he's not made a decision on whether to run, and that's not what is motivating the complaint.

"There's a lot of questions I have as a citizen," Ashby said in an interview. "We need to find out what really happened." Several Orange County leaders deleted text messages from their cellphones during a Sept. 11 hearing on a sick-time ballot measure.

Some texts were later recovered, but some officials say they've lost those and other messages from their personal phones that could be public records if they discussed official business.

The county is now being sued over the issue by the group behind the sick-time initiative, which commissioners voted to keep off the fall ballot.

That group, Citizens for a Greater Orange County, has also asked for a wide investigation into the potential destruction of public records and lobbyists' interactions with commissioners and other foes of their proposal. or 407-420-5311 or Twitter @dadamron ___ (c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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