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Judge replaced in Matlow's lawsuit against Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency

Conflict of interest cited in removal
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Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 18:06:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A judge in Leon County will be replaced from overseeing a civil lawsuit filed by city of Tallahassee commissioner Jeremy Matlow.

According to a document filed with the Leon County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller, Matlow's request to disqualify Judge Angela Dempsey was approved Monday and it is requested that the Chief Judge re-assign the case.

In Matlow's original request, it detailed that VancoreJones, a blueprint consultant, has worked for Judge Angela Dempsey as a political consultant.

"Plaintiff reasonably fears that, no matter how much the judge attempts to be neutral, it is clear that is impossible to eliminate natural bias or prejudice in favor of a witness with whom that person has a decades long professional relationship including providing guidance and support," the original filing states.

Also that document says, "This is a case against the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency due to failure of it Intergovernmental Management committee to comply with the Sunshine Amendment to the Florida Constitution."

Matlow filed a lawsuit June 9 with the Leon County Clerk of Court and comptroller against Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency.

According to court documents, Matlow’s lawsuit stems from recent approval of $20 million that went to upgrade Florida State University's Doak Campbell Stadium.

The money was approved February by Blueprint.

Matlow says the public doesn't have access to find out how Blueprint arrived at their decision.

"The public’s not invited to give comment, and there's no minutes of what they talked about, but when you look at the Florida constitution open meetings are required by the state of Florida. They're required by state law. If you have any type of authority decision making authority you have to meet in the public," Matlow told ABC 27 earlier this month.

Although the money has already been disbursed and the project has begun, if a judge rules in Matlow’s favor that could put a pause on the Doak Campbell Stadium upgrades and Blueprint would have to revisit the project under Sunshine Law.