Toll road drivers are getting a new boss after yet another shake-up at the region’s biggest toll road agency, and a WESH 2 News investigation reveals evidence that the board members who voted to oust the Expressway Authority’s boss last month may have violated Sunshine Laws.
WESH 2 News obtained the text messages that show what was happening behind the scenes leading up to a controversial vote, and the state attorney is now investigating a complaint by the chairman of the Expressway Authority.
The texts show that all three Expressway Board members who voted August 28 to replace Executive Director Max Crumit were texting and calling the secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation.
We may never know what happened in those phone conversations, but the text messages raise a question that the State Attorney’s Office hopes to answer: Do publicly-appointed officials violate Florida’s open meetings law by discussing a vote before the meeting?
Ananth Prasad is head of the State Department of Transportation — under his leadership, local projects like the $2 billion expansion of Interstate 4 are supervised by a district secretary.
Locally, that secretary is Noranne Downs. She also sits on the Expressway Authority Board, making decisions about how to spend the $250 million a year paid by local toll road drivers.
She was one of three on the five-member board to vote Aug. 28 to replace Crumit after Crumit admitted he was looking for a job in the private sector.