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Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

Councilman Todd Sampson Joined the Avalanche of Florida Municipal Resignations. He said, "It's a matter of protecting my family."

Councilman Sampson Resigns-Form 6
Columbia County Observer graphic

LAKE CITY, FL – As Wednesday evening’s City Council meeting drew to a close, City Councilman Todd Sampson announced that he would "not be filling out Form 6." To avoid being fined by the Florida Ethics Commission, Mr. Sampson handed the City Clerk his letter of resignation effective December 30, 2023.


Municipal officials are stepping down all over: from Palm Beach to St. Pete, from Cedar Key to Williston, and now added to the increasing list Lake City. Why? SB 774, a bill enacted during the 2023 legislative session and signed into law by Gov. DeSantis on May 11. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2024.

Before the passage of SB 774, all elected state and county officials, the governor and his cabinet, judges, county commissioners, school board members and sheriffs, state attorneys, public defenders, clerks of circuit courts, tax collectors, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, county commissioners, elected superintendents of schools, members of district school boards in Florida had to fill out Form 6.

Once again, Mayor Witt almost adjourned the Council meeting without asking for Council comments. Mr. Sampson's commentary and resignation came during the last three minutes of the meeting.

Councilman Todd Sampson talks about Form 6
Councilman Todd Sampson speaks about Form 6.

Councilman Sampson asked for permission to speak and said:

"I was hoping the state at some point would revisit the Form 6 filing designation. I will not be filing a Form 6. I'm just letting you know now in advance. It’s not gonna happen. It's way too intrusive. It asks for information on people that have no need to have their non-public private information out there. I know the attorney gave us some information on that, so I'm reviewing it, but I'm not gonna fill that form out."

Form 6 required financial disclosures are comprehensive

enator Jason Brodeur via WPTV
Senator Jason Brodeur sponsored SB 744. In an interview on West Palm Beach TV (WPTV), Sen. Brodeur said those who refuse to fill out Forms 6 should not be an elected office. “If making money and keeping that private is more important to you, then don't run."      Via WPTV

The officials required to file Form 6 must reveal their entire net worth. This includes: dollar amount of bank accounts, 401(k) plans and other assets, household goods, personal effects, property, cash, stocks and bonds, CDs, business interests, beneficial interests in trusts, the money anybody owes the official, and investments including the Florida College Investment Plan.

That's not all. Any source of income that provided more than $1000 in the previous calendar year, and liabilities over $1000 with the name and address of each creditor, must also be accounted for.

Before the new law went into effect, local government officials were not required to disclose the specific amounts or percentages of their sources of income and business interests.

Mayor Witt continues to treat community activist Sylvester Warren like a member of the City Council and once again allowed him to interrupt the City Council and Councilman Sampson. This time, Mr. Warren opined about Form 6 and mentioned his personal political business with Mayor Witt.

Mr. Sampson continued:

"I think the state – man – they, they made it hard. I don't know how you can sit up here because they changed the fine. So if you leave out one $1,000 asset -- now, let's say, and I've looked at how our county officials fill theirs out. They're all, if anybody filed a claim, they're in trouble because if you have an FRS and you own a thousand dollars of a stock within that, that's gotta be disclosed separately…
The state, they took away control from the local government, again, as they normally do, and said, we are not gonna allow the local government to self-govern. Instead, what we're gonna do is tell you that you could only have people who don't have certain things in there. So I'm not gonna deal with it."

Mr. Sampson handed his resignation letter to the Clerk.


After the meeting, Councilman Sampson told your reporter, "I still have a lot of fight left in me. There are a lot of things that need to be done in Lake City and a lot of things I would have liked to accomplish. But the state went too far and left me no choice. For me, this is a matter of protecting my family.”

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