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Pinellas Sheriff's candidate sues agency, saying it violated public records law

James McLynas
James McLynas
Published Oct. 22, 2016

James McLynas, an Indian Shores man running for Pinellas sheriff, is suing the agency he wants to lead for failing to fulfill his public records requests over the past three years.

According to the suit filed Friday, the problems began in August 2013 when McLynas emailed Sheriff Bob Gualtieri to tell him he was running in the next election and was dissatisfied with his "inaction in investigating proven, legitimate complaints against specific deputies" McLynas had filed with the department.

Among other allegations: The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office created a separate policy for handling McLynas' requests and posted his photo at the front desk of the administrative building with a handwritten note from a major that read: "This subject is not to leave the lobby area." The note was filed as an exhibit in the case.

"The Plaintiff was prohibited from obtaining records, viewing records, and photographing the public records at the PCSO," the lawsuit said.

When asked about the suit, Gualtieri said McLynas has filed "voluminous" requests and his agency has responded accordingly. "It's frivolous, without any merit and really a bunch of nonsense," he said.