Jeremy Matlow, City Commission Seat 3, has filed a motion to disqualify Judge Angela Dempsey from overseeing his lawsuit against the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency.
Judge Dempsey has a fifteen-year relationship with VancoreJones and has paid the firm nearly two hundred thousand dollars since 2007, which Matlow says is grounds for Dempsey to be disqualified, the formal legal term for recusal, from the case.
Dempsey was appointed to the Second Circuit Court in 2005 by Gov. Jeb Bush. Trouble began in 2008 when Dempsey had to run for election to the bench and hired VancoreJones to run her campaign. She ran a campaign video on YouTube asking voters to “re-elect” her when she had never been elected. She also claimed in campaign materials that she had 20 years of legal experience; however, she had only been admitted to the bar for a total of 14 years.
The Florida Supreme Court reprimanded Dempsey for the campaign violations writing: The finding read in part: “the misleading information contained within Judge Dempsey’s campaign materials was placed within the materials deliberately and was done for the purpose of bolstering her own experience and credibility to the voting public. Without a doubt, Judge Dempsey’s conduct was wholly inappropriate.”
“You employed the services of a political consultant for whose campaign conduct you are responsible,” Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince said at that time, part of her first public reprimand.
Read the Lawsuit Filings
Once the case begins, Matlow seeks a temporary injunction against the agency to halt further Intergovernmental Management Committee (IMC) meetings that are held outside of the Sunshine.
The lawsuit also seeks a declaratory judgment that would force Blueprint staff to hold future Intergovernmental Management Committee (IMC) meetings in the Sunshine.
VancoreJones proposal documents to Leon County obtained by Our Tallahassee show that the firm’s relationship with the sales tax agency spanned from before the ballot measure was even passed, from the initial 2014 vote to the day-to-day handling of public engagement, which allegedly stopped in 2020. One proposal provides previous deliverables to Blueprint, highlighting messaging that the firm had developed around the oversight of the $900 million sales tax agency, emphasis added ours.
Judge Dempsey has twenty days to address the motion to disqualify.
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