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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Irions illegally deleted public records, housing authority says

5

April

The Pinellas County Housing Authority is accusing its former director of destroying public records by secretly deleting e?mail he received on the job.

A forensic audit showed e?mail to Darrell Irions' county account was forwarded to his Yahoo account. The originals were deleted from the government server, according to a letter from housing authority attorney Frazier Carraway.

"These records have been illegally purloined from PCHA, who is obliged by law to maintain them," Carraway wrote March 4 to a lawyer for Irions, who left the county agency after a dispute last year. He remains chief executive of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority.

Irions denied deleting any messages from the county's e?mail server, which could violate Florida's open records law and carry misdemeanor charges and $500 fines.

"All the information they're asking for, it should be on that server. We don't know why, other than they were in such a hurry to get rid of me that it would be deleted," Irions said.

The county housing authority also found that Irions conducted authority business on his personal Yahoo e-mail account, and the authority didn't have records of that communication until recently.

In March, Irions turned over a disc with 1,395 pages of records. A version the county provided to the St. Petersburg Times this week had as many or more finance reports and memos as e?mails.

More here.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

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[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:31pm]

    

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