Sarnoff Memo Case Update: Third District Court Of Appeal Holds That Memo Is A Public Record

The Daily Business Review has the latest from the Marc Sarnoff/Related Group controversy (about which I posted previously here), including the infamous memo itself, which is a whopping one page long and recounts a conversation which Miami City Commissioner Sarnoff had with City Manager Joe Arriola concerning bribes allegedly sought by city officials for approval of a Liberty City condo project.

Of some interest from a legal standpoint is the Third District Court of Appeal opinion which overruled the lower court and ordered that the memo be released to the public as a “public record.”  The opinion is relatively straightforward and focuses on the distinction between “recit[ation] of information iterated at [a] meeting” (is a public record) and a draft or note containing “mental impressions” (is not a public record).  Like many legal boundaries, the distinction can get more cloudy the longer you think about it, but the opinion will certainly be an important one for those interested in publicity issues in Florida.

By Jared H. Beck, Esq.

This article does not constitute legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship, and is not for re-publication without express permission of the author.

Mr. Beck has a law degree from Harvard Law School, and practices law in the courts of South Florida. He practices in all areas of business and real estate litigation. He can be reached at 305-789-0072 or


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