A Duval County grand jury decided that while the Jacksonville City Council did violate parts of Florida’s Sunshine Law by holding dozens of private and undocumented meetings, there was no actual illegal activity that occurred.
A Florida Times-Union investigation led to the revelation of these clandestine meetings where public business was addressed. The city’s contracts to companies linked to friends of Mayor John Peyton were also examined under the investigation.
Though no criminal wrongdoing was discovered, the non-criminal violations resulted in a new local law to aid with compliance of the Sunshine Law, which requires advance notice about meetings and public access to them, as well as a written account of the proceedings. The council has also decided to post notifications online and ban public meetings at private locations.
Additionally, the grand jury found no crimes (such as personal financial or political gains) involving the contracts between the mayor and the city’s business with companies owned by two of his friends.