Monday, August 26, 2013

State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity: BlueWare Confidentiality Lapsed

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Brevard County Clerk of Court Scott Ellis indicated that he will file a lawsuit later this week regarding a public records request for BlueWare documents he made to the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast (EDC) after it was revealed by Brevard County Attorney Scott Knox that the BlueWare documents are considered confidential despite a unanimous request by Brevard County Commissioners that the EDC turn over BlueWare's documents to Ellis.

The most serious contention made by Ellis as the basis for the lawsuit, as reported by Brevard Times in February, is that the EDC colluded with BlueWare to back-date a confidentiality request that laid the foundation for an extension of confidentiality for a second year.

When Brevard Times researched the issue at the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity incentives portal, the information regarding BlueWare had surprisingly already been made publicly available by the State of Florida despite the purported confidentiality extension.

This is significant because, according to the DEO website:


The portal includes every non-confidential incentive project with an executed contract since 1996 that received or is on schedule to receive payments from the state of Florida. Projects that are confidential or approved but do not yet have an executed agreement and projects that have withdrawn or decided not to proceed with the incentive are not included. Confidential projects, as defined by Florida Statutes, will be included once their exemption from the state’s public record requirements has expired. (Emphasis Added).

Highlighting this apparent conflict, Brevard Times reached out to both the DEO and Governor Rick Scott's office and cited the confidentiality documentation arguments made by both Ellis and the EDC with the documents in question posted in our February article.

In response, DEO Press Secretary Jessica Sims made the following statement:

"In March 2013, we learned that BlueGem, an affiliate company of Blueware, was under investigation.  We contacted them to remind them that per the agreement, Blueware was required to notify DEO in writing of any developments that impact the implementation or operation of the agreement or the project, and they failed to do that. DEO terminated the contract on April 5, 2013, prior to the company receiving any incentive money due to non-compliance. This is an example of DEO holding a company accountable and performing the compliance function entrusted to us by the taxpayers of Florida effectively.

Since their confidentiality period with the state has expired, information regarding the state incentives Blueware received is available on DEO’s Economic Development Incentives Portal at"

“Those who break the law and defraud our citizens must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Florida Governor Rick Scott.  "The Department of Economic Opportunity did not pay this company any incentive funds and canceled their contracts on April 5, 2013.  We are committed to ensuring that every necessary safeguard is in place to protect Florida taxpayer dollars.”

After hearing about the State of Florida's position on the confidentiality of the BlueWare documents, Ellis said, "We will request all information on Blueware from both the State DEO, Enterprise Florida, and the EDC." 


Brevard Times was the only news source to continue a series of in-depth investigative articles led by Charles Parker into this story:

Scott Ellis To Run For Clerk of Court Again January 4, 2012

Clerk of Court Staffer Endorses Needelman, Ellis Responds February 7, 2012

Needelman Calls Ellis A Liar In Brevard County Clerk of Courts Debate February 16, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate: Video March 23, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate in Titusville: VIDEO  April 23, 2012

Scott Ellis Wins Clerk of Court Viewer Poll  April 30, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate In Melbourne: VIDEO  May 8, 2012

Mitch Needelman Named Finalist For 'Tax Cutter' Award  May 17, 2012

Brevard Constitutional Officer's Straw Poll Results May 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Clerk's Race Heats Up May 30, 2012

Brevard County Clerk of Court Debate: VIDEO June 4, 2012

Ellis: Taxpayers Foot Bill for Endless Self Promotion of Mr. Needelman June 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Mitch Needelman June 25, 2012

Charles Parker: Scott Ellis June 25, 2012

Needelman: Ellis' "Complicated" Requests Delayed Release of Clerk Documents, BlueWare Contracts Jul 5, 2012 

Contract Controversy Taints Florida Governor's Jobs Campaign July 10, 2012

Scott Ellis Republican Picnic Video (Mitch Needelman Not Present) July 15, 2012

2012 Bi-Annual Brevard Republican Picnic Straw Poll Results July 15, 2012

Clerk of Court Sunshine Lawsuit Hearing Monday  July 21, 2012

Needelman Wins Partial Victory in Court Case Brought by Ellis July 23, 2012

Opinion: Why I Support Ellis, Blickley, Ivey, Trettis, Kneessy, Romney July 25, 2012

Republican Primary Candidates Brevard County Clerk of Court Monday, July 30, 2012

Needelman: Ellis Complicit in Extortion Plot?  August 12, 2012

Ellis: Panic sets in as Race comes to an End August 13, 2012

Dirty Brevard County Politics Caught On Surveillance Video  Aug 13, 2012

Brevard Clerk of Court Recount, No Layoffs Anticipated  August 24, 2012

$8.5 Million Brevard Clerk of Court Records Digitizing Underway  Oct 17, 2012

Clerk's Attorney Refers Staffing Questions to BlueWare  Nov 1, 2012

BlueWare Misses Clerk's Office Deadline  Nov 7, 2012

UPDATE: Needelman and Company Owner Mum Regarding Digitizing Contract Nov 15, 2012

DuPree Confirms BlueWare Scanning Readiness  Nov 17, 2012 

Charles Parker: Hey Mitch and Matt: How About Some Answers? December 4, 2012

Charles Parker: Divergent Views on Clerk's Contract Continue December 11, 2012

Ellis Plans Moneysaving Changes In Clerk's Office Jan 5, 2013

Scott Ellis Sworn In As Brevard County Clerk of Court  Jan 8, 2013

Brevard Clerk Lowers Florida 'Fix It' Ticket To $10  Jan 19, 2013

Former Clerk's Digitizing Contract Under More Scrutiny  Jan 19, 2013

Ellis: Emails Appear To Contradict Needelman Attorney's Testimony  Jan 24, 2013

Brevard EDC Cites "Non-Disclosure Agreement" and Confidentiality  Jan 25, 2013

Ellis Claims Proof of Needelman Campaign Lies in Emails and Video  Jan 29, 2013

Ellis and Weatherman At Odds Over BlueWare Documents  Feb 5, 2013 

Commissioner Asserts EDC Confidentiality Claim "Raises Questions" February 14, 2013

Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast Subpoenaed By FDLE February 28, 2013

Charles Parker: BlueWare, Rose Harr, and Me  March 2, 2013

BlueWare Not Using Available Training Funds Mar 15, 2013

Hewlett Packard Threatens Lawsuit Over BlueWare Debt Mar 23, 2013

Brevard County Clerk of Court Files Suit Against BlueGem March 29, 2013

Details of Brevard Clerk of the Court Lawsuits Against BlueGem and RoseWare Emerge In Court Filings March 29, 2013

Space Coast Economic Incentives Make Florida Headlines  Apr 1, 2013

BlueGem Counter-Sues Clerk's Office: Claims Ellis' "Ignorance"  May 5, 2013

Ellis and Hewlett-Packard Still At Odds Over Scanning Contract Loan Payments  June 2, 2013 

Hewlett Packard Sues Brevard Clerk of Court For Disputed Scanning Contract Payments Jul 26, 2013

Former Brevard County Clerk of Court, Business Partner Arrested - Warrant Issued for Blueware CEO August 15, 2013

BlueWare CEO Turns Herself In August 16, 2013 

County Commission Tells Economic Development Commission To Turn Over BlueWare Documents  August 20, 2013