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County sued for Old Parrish Schoolhouse records

MANATEE — A Parrish resident has filed a lawsuit alleging that Manatee County officials have not fulfilled public records requests regarding the renovation of the Old Parrish Schoolhouse.

Court records show that Kelvin Lindbloom, who is planning to represent himself in court, has filed a complaint against county Administrator Ed Hunzeker and deputy county Administrator Karen Windon, alleging that as custodians of public records they have not done their duties.

The Old Parrish Schoolhouse has undergone a roughly $2 million makeover into a Parrish community center that will be run by the Manatee County YMCA under the auspices of the Parrish Foundation.

The county has attempted to satisfy all of Lindbloom’s public record requests, but has had difficulty, Jim Minix, chief deputy county attorney, said recently.

“I can tell you, based on interviews I have had, that county employees have tried to satisfy every one of his requests under public records,” Minix said. “The only reason he hasn’t gotten all the documents is that he hasn’t been willing to pay the costs of the documents. We have already produced documents and are still awaiting payment.”

County employees have also spent considerable time talking with Lindbloom to try to resolve the public record issues, Minix said.

“Nothing seems to satisfy the situation,” said Minix, who confirmed the documents Lindbloom wants all pertain to the Old Parrish Schoolhouse.

Lindbloom did not return a phone call on the lawsuit, but in an Aug. 18 e-mail to county commissioners and others, he suggested that the county may have engaged in illegal activity surrounding the Old Parrish Schoolhouse, such as, according to him, not providing public bidding on the project and failing to follow state and county building codes.

He alleges the county has refused to provide records on the Old Parrish Schoolhouse “in an attempt to cover up the malfeasances.”

Minix, who is helping to prepare an answer to Lindbloom’s lawsuit, says Lindbloom’s claims are false.

“We deny that any of our people have been doing anything illegal or haven’t been following the law,” Minix said.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7917.

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