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Judge says Madeira Beach City Commission violated Sunshine Law with Housh Ghovaee appointment

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

A circuit court judge ruled Tuesday that the Madeira Beach City Commission violated public records laws when it appointed Housh Ghovaee to an open seat.

Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Jack Day said in his decision that the commission violated the Sunshine Law when it filled the vacancy and added that “the appointment of Housh Ghovaee as District 4 commissioner is void ab initio.”

The decision leaves the city without a vice mayor, and comes one week before an election to decide who will take a full term on the commission.

Ghovaee is running against John Douthirt and David Hitterman in that contest, and he said after the decision that he is “not giving up” and is still running for the District 4 seat.

The city issued a press release after the ruling that said the invalid appointment would have only made an impact if there was a 3-2 vote on the commission.

“Since Mr. Ghovaee’s appointment, there were no 3-2 votes,” it read.

Ghovaee was appointed after former Commissioner Pat Shontz resigned in the middle of a meeting.

The city put out a request for applications to fill the seat within 30 days, and commissioners decided on Ghovaee.

The commission used a different process to appoint the replacement for Elaine Poe in District 3, though that took place after the lawsuit was filed.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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