Statement from Sarasota Attorney Robert K. Robinson
Re: Ethics Complaint Filed by North Port Activist
Sept. 18, 2015 – Robert K. Robinson, a board-certified government and administrative attorney in Sarasota, is fighting ethics complaints filed by North Port activist Connie Brunni.
“I always have followed the letter and spirit of the law and served the North Port City Commission with honor and distinction in carrying out the duties assigned to me,” Robinson said. “I am eager to present all the facts at a full evidentiary hearing before an administrative judge.”
Brunni’s complaints stem from her publicly stated disagreement with the North Port City Commission’s September 2014 super majority vote to appoint Robinson as the city’s Code Enforcement Special Magistrate, a new, half-day-a-month position that he assumed Oct. 1, 2014.
A newcomer to North Port, Brunni is a political ally and campaign donor of North Port City Commissioner Linda Yates, who cast the sole “no” vote for Robinson’s appointment as special magistrate.
The City Commission created the new position and assigned Robinson to work with staff and the City Clerk’s office to develop and streamline a more efficient and resident-friendly process for code enforcement cases. Robinson previously served as North Port’s city attorney, also an appointed position, from May 2001 until September 2014.
Noting that the new code enforcement process is substantially complete and working well, Robinson said, “I am proud of the work the staff and I did together for the city of North Port, and now it is time to move forward.” He has resigned from the appointed special magistrate position.
After considering the complaint, in a narrow 5-4 vote the Florida Ethics Commission on Sept. 11, 2015, found probable cause to forward the complaint to an administrative law judge for further review and a hearing, at which time Robinson will present additional pertinent information. Following the judge’s recommendation, Robinson could be cleared by the Ethics Commission or the Commission could recommend a fine or written admonishment.
“The complaint has progressed to the next phase of the legal process, and I am ready to present all the facts in context with relevant statutes before an administrative judge,” Robinson said.
A Board Certified Specialist in city, county and government law, Robinson is among just 2 percent of Florida attorneys who have earned a board certification from the Florida Bar.
He has practiced law in Sarasota for 26 years and has the highest ethical rating from Martindale Hubbell, an independent attorney ranking service. The General Ethical Standards rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.
During Robinson’s legal career, he has represented state government, constitutional officers, school boards and cities. He has extensive experience in land-use issues, including working with developments of regional impact and comprehensive plan amendments, and he is an expert in labor and employment law.
Robinson, who earned his law degree at Mercer University, has taught numerous seminars on topics including Florida’s Sunshine Law, public records, and appellate practice to government officials, employees and fellow attorneys. He is active in the community and was a finalist for Biz 941’s Greater Good Award for his work with injured veterans through Operation Second Chance. He is working as a government and administrative attorney with Kirk Pinkerton, P.A., one of Sarasota’s oldest and most established law firms.
Sept. 16, 2015: This statement is authorized by and provided on behalf of Robert K. Robinson, B.C.S. During the course of the legal process, additional comments will be reserved and calls on this topic will not be taken.