Public Records Request #1

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George Schiro

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Jan 6, 2024, 6:02:47 PMJan 6
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Summary:

.) Inframark, Harmony CDD's forever district management
company has lost or destroyed recent public records.

.) It took 5 weeks for the district manager, Angel
Montagna, to respond with records that remained.

.) The initial response was an empty data file - yet a
dozen items responsive to the request existed.

.) It took several more back-and-forths to finally
receive what should have been provided in hours or
days (like we've witnessed elsewhere).

.) The district manager's performance and attitude
indicate a serious lack of professionalism.

This is a very long story.

Accessing public records, records bought and paid for by the tax paying
citizens of our community, is supposed to be easy in Harmony like anywhere
else in Florida - the Sunshine State - where Sunshine Laws originated (see
"Walking on Sunshine Laws ..." https://tinyurl.com/227ankvf ):

Florida's open government laws are widely regarded as
some of the broadest and most all-encompassing in the
country. The state's attorney general, Pam Bondi, has
declared that, "in Florida, transparency is not up to
the whim or grace of public officials. Instead, it is
an enforceable right." That right is found in an
amalgamation of provisions within Florida's statutes
and in its state constitution.

Prior to my relatively recent public records request to the Harmony CDD, the
last time I submitted a public records request was to the Harmony ROA in
2017. At that time my request was handled promptly and professionally by Tim
Quinlan of FirstService Residential - with no hassle and at no cost to me.
In fact, like my several dealings with the Osceola County School District,
it was a very pleasant and uneventful experience. Simply put, I was left
with the basic impression that I was being dealt with honestly and in good
faith by professionals.

I've reviewed the half dozen or so public records requests I submitted to
the school district over the years. Those requests were made during efforts
to look into corrupt school board members (see "Subtle Little Lies",
http://tinyurl.com/oa2pr9h ) as well as research into "pink slime" being
served in school lunches at the time (see '"Pink Slime" in Osceola County
Schools', https://tinyurl.com/mwbabmu ). Those public records requests were
submitted and fully responded to within a matter of hours or at the most a
few days - without exception. The responses were always direct, to the
point, complete and provided in a readily usable data format by Dana Schafer
or one of her staff of professionals at the Osceola County School District.

In all of my experience making public requests to government entities over
more than a decade, I have never had an experience anything like the two
public records requests submitted to the Harmony CDD last year.

The following very detailed accounting is about the first of those two
Harmony CDD public records requests.


The first request was submitted by me to Angel Montagna of Inframark
("Angel.M...@inframark.com") on February 16, 2023. Inframark is the
district management company contracted by the Harmony CDD. The request was
submitted in regard to emails I sent, emails that were apparently lost on
their way to the Harmony CDD chair (at the time), Teresa Kramer.

Here is that request:

From: George Schiro
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2023 9:32 AM
To: AngelMontagna
Subject: Public Records Request


Ms. Montagna,

You indicated that all public records requests
regarding the Harmony CDD should be submitted to you.

Looking through old correspondence, it appears that the
first email from me ("98462010h...@schiro.name")
to Teresa Kramer ("Ter...@harmonycdd.org") was sent
Fri, Dec 18, 2020 at 4:08 PM. The subject was
"Community Forum - Long-Term Digital Storage
Requirements."

Please reply with an attachment (ZIP format preferred)
showing all emails received by Teresa Kramer from me.

Thanks!

Sincerely,

George Schiro


After a few weeks, I received not even an acknowledgement of my request from
Ms. Montagna. So I sent a follow-up email:

From: George Schiro
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2023 9:17 AM
To: Montagna, Angel
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Ms. Montagna,

It's been almost 3 weeks since my PRR was submitted to
you. I have yet to hear back on this topic.

What is the status of this request?

Sincerely,

George Schiro


Another couple of weeks went by and still nothing from Ms. Montagna. So I
wrote another follow-up email:

From: George Schiro
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 9:40 PM
To: Montagna, Angel
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Ms. Montagna,

It's been more than 5 weeks since my public records
request was submitted to you. It has also been more
than 2 weeks since I requested a status update on that
request. Yet I have still heard nothing from you.

On 11/30/2022 you wrote:

You can submit a public records request
to me regarding the CDD.

On 2/1/2023 you wrote:

... I did communicate with Microsoft and there
appears to be no issues with your emails on our
end. I cannot answer why your email ended up in Ms.
Kramer's junk file. I am receiving them just fine.
...

I have confirmation that Dan Leet received the previous
email from me on this topic. That means there is no
issue with me sending emails to the Harmony CDD and no
issue with the Harmony CDD receiving emails from me.

So, clearly, you are ignoring my public records request
Ms. Montagna. This is unacceptable. It is also
unlawful.

My attorney shared this link to a document published by
the law firm Wolfson & Leon:

The Florida Public Records Act and You
https://tinyurl.com/js54yj5k

...

What happens when a request for public records is
denied or simply ignored? Florida law provides a
solution. The person who requested the records can
get a lawyer to file a lawsuit to compel the agency
to produce the records. If the court determines
that the agency violated the Public Records Act,
then the court will order the attorneys' fees and
costs to be paid by the agency.

The Florida Supreme Court made an important
decision on the Public Records Act this week. On
April 14, 2016 the Court held that public agencies
are responsible for attorneys' fees and costs when
they violate Florida's open-records law. In a 5-2
decision, the majority rejected the agency
arguments that they should only have to pay legal
fees when there is a showing of "bad faith" In
other words, the agencies sought to create an
additional hurdle of proving the agency acted
unreasonably in order for plaintiffs to recover
fees.

Justice Barbara Pariente wrote the majority opinion
stating "There is no additional requirement, before
awarding attorney's fees under the Public Records
Act, that the trial court find that the public
agency did not act in good faith, acted in bad
faith, or acted unreasonably." The only necessary
determination is whether the agency violated the
Public Records Act.

...

I think I've been more than patient Ms. Montagna. I
also think it behooves you to respond to this request.

If I do not hear from you within 7 days, I will assume
that you have no intention of responding and I will
proceed accordingly.

Sincerely,

George Schiro


Finally (6 minutes later) - and only after hinting legal action did I
receive this from Angel Montagna:

From: Montagna, Angel
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 9:46 PM
To: George Schiro
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: Re: Public Records Request


Mr.Schiro
Thank you for reaching out. I acknowledge your request
and it serves no purpose for me or anyone to ignore it.
I apologize for the delayed response.

I will contact Microsoft and request the emails that
you request.

Once I receive your request, it will be forwarded to
you.

Thank you and have a great evening.

Angel Montagna
Regional Manager
Inframark


I replied accordingly the next day:

From: George Schiro
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2023 2:39 PM
To: Montagna, Angel
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Ms. Montagna,

Your preliminary response is very late, but much
appreciated none-the-less. Thank you.

Please respond (soon) with the date I can expect the
public records request to be fulfilled.

Sincerely,

George Schiro


And that evening I received this from Ms. Montagna:

From: Montagna, Angel
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2023 2:45 PM
To: 'George Schiro'
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Mr. Shiro – Please see the attached file. These are
emails that were pulled from Ms. Kramer’s email
regarding you as requested. The emails go back to
12/23/2021. That is all that was found.

Thank you - Angel


Yet, her response to my public records request was seriously flawed.

Ms. Montagna herself admitted that there is no public record of the first
email I sent to Ms. Kramer in December of 2020. In fact, apparently none of
these emails could be found:

Community Forum - Long-Term Digital... Sent 12/18/2020 by me to Teresa
RE: Community Forum - Long-Term Dig... Sent 12/18/2020 by Teresa to me
RE: Community Forum - Long-Term Dig... Sent 12/23/2020 by me to Teresa
Sugar Cane & Garden Tree Sent 02/23/2021 by me to Teresa
RE: Sugar Cane & Garden Tree Sent 03/01/2021 by Teresa to me
RE: Sugar Cane & Garden Tree Sent 03/01/2021 by me to Teresa
Note: following exchange originated from Teresa's private email.
RE: Winch Sent 03/02/2021 by me to Teresa
RE: Winch Sent 03/02/2021 by me to Teresa
Harmony Civic Center Sent 03/09/2021 by me to Teresa
RE: Harmony Civic Center Sent 03/10/2021 by Teresa to me
RE: Harmony Civic Center Sent 03/16/2021 by me to Teresa

That's almost a dozen emails (just related to me) that are apparently lost
forever from the Harmony CDD public record.

This is very distressing, especially considering the fact that Inframark
(formerly "Severn Trent Services", formerly "Gary L. Moyer & Associates")
has been handling public records for the Harmony CDD since day 1 (March 24,
2000).

How many other hundreds or thousands of Harmony CDD emails have been lost by
this company over the decades?

Yet lost or destroyed emails were only part of the problem.

George Schiro:

From: George Schiro
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2023 9:16 PM
To: Montagna, Angel
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Ms. Montagna,

I appreciate your initial attempt to fulfill my
request, but sadly, it's clearly not sufficient
(especially after more than 5 weeks of waiting).

I have attached the file you sent me. If you actually
inspect it you will notice:

1) It's a ZIP file archive ("George Emails to
Teresa.zip") of only 122 bytes in length.

2) The content of the ZIP file is a single file
("Exchange.pst") of 0 bytes in length.

First, it should be obvious that a 122 byte ZIP file
can't possibly contain even one email let alone the
dozen or so emails sent by me to Teresa Kramer since
2020.

Second, the contained "Exchange.pst" file is itself
empty and therefore completely unusable.

Third, I have no use for a *.PST file. I wouldn't' be
able to read it even if it wasn't empty.

Fourth, your response doesn't seem to correspond to my
original request:

Looking through old correspondence, it appears that
the first email from me
("98462010h...@schiro.name") to Teresa Kramer
("Ter...@harmonycdd.org") was sent Fri, Dec 18,
2020 at 4:08 PM. The subject was "Community Forum -
Long-Term Digital Storage Requirements."

Please reply with an attachment (ZIP format
preferred) showing all emails received by Teresa
Kramer from me.

My request asked for emails since 2020, yet your
response states:

The emails go back to 12/23/2021.
That is all that was found.

So apparently there is no public record of the
"Community Forum - Long-Term Digital Storage
Requirements" email I sent in 2020. That's distressing,
especially since Ms. Kramer responded to it on
12/20/2020. That leads to a new question: on what date
did the Harmony CDD start using Microsoft Exchange?

This is all very disappointing Ms. Montagna. You don't
seem to be taking my public records request seriously.

Please try again.

I will be more explicit this time since my original
request was so thoroughly misunderstood (apparently):

1) I need to see all emails sent by
"98462010h...@schiro.name" to
"Ter...@harmonycdd.org".

2) The first email from
"98462010h...@schiro.name" to
"Ter...@harmonycdd.org" is dated 12/18/2020.

3) Each email must be in a separate file either in
TXT format or PDF format (all in a ZIP file is
fine).

I would also appreciate knowing by what date this
request will finally be fulfilled.

Sincerely,

George Schiro


Angel Montagna:

From: Montagna, Angel
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2023 9:52 PM
To: George Schiro
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: Re: Public Records Request


Mr.Schiro

I provided you with what was supplied from Microsoft in
regards to your request. It serves me or anyone no good
to try to do anything other than provide all we have in
relation to your request. I take all requests
seriously however, I can only provide what we have
which does not mean I'm not taking it serious.

I will request a different file. It opened fine for me.
Again, I’ll provide the file that Microsoft provides in
regards to your request, that is all I can do.

Angel Montagna
Regional Manager
Inframark


To be clear, Ms. Montagna sent me a useless empty data file (that's what a
zero byte file size means, you can see that in the "George Emails to
Teresa.zip" attachment). She claimed to have opened the file herself, yet
what she sent me can't possibly be opened by anyone on any computer anywhere
using any tool real or imagined.

So I asked for a simple list of what she was able to read.

George Schiro:

From: George Schiro
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2023 9:53 AM
To: Montagna, Angel
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Ms. Montagna,

You wrote:

It opened fine for me.

That means, unlike the data you sent me, you actually
received non-null data from Microsoft. Likewise, it
also means you were able to read the full content
yourself from the various emails you received from
Microsoft (in fulfillment of this request). That is
good to know.

While waiting for my full data request to be delivered
in a commonly usable format (Microsoft exchange format
is NOT a commonly usable format), please reply with a
list of the emails you have been able to read yourself
from what you received from Microsoft. Email dates
received and email subjects will suffice for now.

It would also like to know on what date I can expect to
have this public records request fulfilled (in full) in
a commonly usable data format.

Sincerely,

George Schiro


Angel Montagna:

From: Montagna, Angel
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2023 9:55 AM
To: 'George Schiro'
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Mr. Schiro – I have already stated, when I receive the
file in another format, I will send over.

Thank you _ Angel


She completely ignored my request to see a list of emails.

George Schiro:

From: George Schiro
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2023 10:35 AM
To: Montagna, Angel
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Ms. Montagna,

Yes, I understand that. But I was hoping that since you
sent me an empty file - after 5 weeks - you could
kindly respond now with a short list of the emails you
were able to read.

The list can't be more than a dozen or so - and merely
email subjects and dates. You can easily put the list
in the body of your reply to this email.

I thank you so much in advance for such a basic
accommodation.

Sincerely,

George Schiro


Angel Montagna:

From: Montagna, Angel
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2023 11:47 AM
To: 'George Schiro'
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Please see the attached as the file type was changed.
Your request has been fulfilled.

Thank you – Angel


George Schiro:

From: George Schiro
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2023 12:32 PM
To: Montagna, Angel
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Ms. Montagna,

You seem to be struggling valiantly to fulfill my
request, yet you seem to lack a certain technical
understanding of how to actually do it.

While you claim my request has been fulfilled, you are
once again mistaken since the data is still unreadable.
All you have done is replaced one unusable format
("*.PST") with another ("*.MSG"). I think you are under
the impression that the whole world uses Microsoft
Office. It doesn't.

Perhaps I can help you better understand how to fulfill
a public records request for emails in a professional
manner.

On 6/15/2011 (shortly after noon) I submitted this
public records request to the Osceola School District:

I would like to see all emails to or from Cindy
Hartig (via any email address used by Ms. Hartig)
from yesterday (6/14) through today (6/15).

Shortly after 9am the following day I received a ZIP
file ("George Schiro _Cindy Hartig 6_14 6_15
email.zip") that contained 68 emails. Not only that,
but each email was provided in no less than three (3)
standard data formats: RTF (rich text format), TXT
(plain text format) as well as XML (extensible markup
language format).

Unlike the above international standard formats, MSG is
a Microsoft proprietary format (see
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Outlook#.msg_format ):

Outlook (both the web version and recent non-web
versions) promotes the usage of a proprietary .msg
format[72] to save individual emails, instead of
the standard .eml format. Messages use .msg by
default when saved to disk or forwarded as
attachments. Compatibility with past or future
Outlook versions is not documented nor
guaranteed;[73] the format saw over 10 versions
released since version 1 in 2008.[72]

The standard .eml format replicates the format of
emails as used for transmission and is therefore
compatible with any email client which uses the
normal protocols. Standard-compliant email clients,
like Mozilla Thunderbird, use additional headers to
store software-specific information related e.g. to
the local storage of the email, while keeping the
file plain-text, so that it can be read in any text
editor and searched or indexed like any document by
any other software.

If you can't handle RTF, TXT or XML, then perhaps you
can try the recommended plain text based EML format
instead (see above).

Please try again.

Sincerely,

George Schiro


Angel Montagna:

From: Montagna, Angel
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2023 4:08 PM
To: 'George Schiro'
Cc: Teresa Kramer; Dan Leet
Subject: RE: Public Records Request
Importance: High


Please see below:

(Note: response text intermixed with the above text - not repeated here -
see "1stFulfilled.JPG" attachment)

We are not struggling at all. You made a request for
emails from YOU to Supervisor Kramer. We reached out to
Microsoft and provided you with what they provided. I
sent you the file, you could not open said file and
requested in another file. The second file is fine and
opened just fine and displayed fine as checked before
sent to you. You now state you cannot open that file
either. There is nothing more we can do. There is also
a fee for records request which I did not charge you
for as I was doing it as a courtesy.

I cannot help that you cannot read it, it opens fine on
this end and this is the 2nd file I requested for you.

Unfortunately that is what Microsoft provided which is
the platform used by the District. We provide the
request in exactly what it is sent to us in.

I am aware of how to fulfill a records request, we get
them all the time. Thank you though.

I have sent you two files that were sent by Microsoft.
We do not change and or manipulate the files received.
I have opened up the file and pulled all emails over to
this email as well as included the file again. I have
fulfilled your request. Moving forward you can send all
requests to Public...@inframark.com and they will
be processed as normal and in a timely fashion. If the
request dictates a fee, it will be stated to you as
well via that communication.

Have a great day Mr. Schiro.


(Note: the request was finally fulfilled by including each requested email
as a separate *.MSG file attached to the above email - a non-standard data
format but one that is convertible.)

Ms. Montagna was obviously annoyed by this time. Even the visual format of
her final response clearly shows this (see attachment).

You can also see harbingers of things to come with this:

There is also a fee for records request which I did not
charge you for as I was doing it as a courtesy.

and this:

Moving forward you can send all requests to
Public...@inframark.com and they will be processed
as normal and in a timely fashion. If the request
dictates a fee, it will be stated to you as well via
that communication.


That was my first public records request experience after several years. And
it was a very strange experience indeed.

I figured Ms. Montagna must have been totally swamped with other public
records requests at around the same time that mine was submitted. What else
could explain the extraordinarily long response time and the repeatedly
sloppy results? I really wanted to know.

So I submitted a second public records request ... (to be documented in a
future installment)
George Emails to Teresa.zip
1stFulfilled.JPG

George Schiro

unread,
Jan 8, 2024, 12:30:47 PMJan 8
to harm...@googlegroups.com
What follows is the email I sent (referencing this thread) to each Harmony
CDD supervisor (individually, on Saturday). My goal is to have this matter
publicly acknowledged by Harmony CDD's board of supervisors and, hopefully,
to also have an open discussion leading to perhaps an improvement in how
public records are handled in Harmony.

I will post any responses I receive (if any) here as well.


From: George Schiro
Sent: Saturday, January 06, 2024 6:40 PM
To: [CDD Supervisor Email Address]
Subject: Public Records Request #1 (digest)


My name is George Schiro. I have recently had troubling
exchanges with Harmony CDD's management company,
Inframark.

This is a digest version of a posted article with
significantly more detail. The full version is found
here:

Public Records Request #1
https://tinyurl.com/yc6f9wzs

These are the salient points of interest:

.) Inframark, Harmony CDD's forever district
management company has lost or destroyed recent
public records.

.) It took 5 weeks for the district manager, Angel
Montagna, to respond with records that remained.

.) The initial response was an empty data file -
yet a dozen items responsive to the request existed.

.) It took several more back-and-forths to finally
receive what should have been provided in hours or
days (like we've witnessed elsewhere).

.) The district manager's performance and attitude
indicate a serious lack of professionalism.

I have personally submitted many public records
requests over many years. Those requests were submitted
to the Osceola County School District as well as to the
Harmony Residential Owners Association.

In all those years I had never witnessed anything like
my recent dealings with the Harmony Community
Development District and its management company,
Inframark.

The apparent lack of professionalism is astounding.
It's as if Inframark doesn't really know how to
properly handle an electronic public records request,
or its personnel lack the requisite technical skills to
do so. The only other possibility is that Inframark's
actual goal is to make the process of accessing Harmony
CDD public records so onerous that the tax paying
citizens of Harmony will simply stop asking for them.
Either way, the Harmony CDD is made to look
unresponsive and uncaring in the eyes of its
constituents as a result.

Why is the Harmony CDD doing business with a company
that has apparently lost or destroyed its public
records?

Why would the Harmony CDD allow public records requests
to be submitted to multiple Inframark email accounts,
including the personal email account of one of its
employees? Such a rinky-dink policy only serves to make
the loss of records more likely and the act of
searching them more costly.

I would like to know what plans, if any, the Harmony
CDD will make to rectify this matter.

I would also like a discussion of this issue to be
added to the agenda of a future Harmony CDD meeting.
Can I be informed if and when this will occur?

Joseph Janeczek

unread,
Jan 10, 2024, 9:13:43 AMJan 10
to HarmonyFL
George - 

Not sure what your main issue is, and it does not really matter - the fact that you feel they are not responsive, you may want to attend a CDD Meeting and let all board members know of this during the open discussion session in which you have 3 minutes max to express your concerns or bring up issues.  They usually meet the last Thursday of each month at the Jones model home.

Good luck 
Joe

George Schiro

unread,
Jan 10, 2024, 1:14:50 PMJan 10
to harm...@googlegroups.com
I've been to a few CDD meetings over the years Joe (see https://harmonyflcommons.com/Newsgroup.aspx ).
 
It's actually the "3 minute rule" that necessitated this thread. There is no way to convey that much information under such a time constraint.
 
This way I can reference these facts within my 3 minutes with the hope that at least one CDD supervisor has already read the details in advance.
 
Thanks Joe!
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