Florida Gambling Lawsuit

  • Florida Voters In Charge filed a notice to the court Saturday that they will withdraw an emergency notice for injunction to block the Seminole Tribe from interfering with their efforts.
  • The move comes after Leon County Circuit Court Judge Angela Dempsey refused to stop the Seminole Tribe’s efforts to hinder the PAC’s signature-gathering efforts on Wednesday.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Voters In Charge, a political action committee behind a proposed move to allow casinos in North Florida, filed a notice to the court that they would be withdrawing an emergency notice for injunction to block the Seminole Tribe from allegedly interfering with signature gatherers on Saturday.

The move also cancels a scheduled hearing on the alleged interference.

The PAC decided to withdraw the emergency notice for injunction after Leon County Circuit Court Judge Angela Dempsey refused to immediately stop the Seminole Tribe’s efforts to stop the signature-gathering effort on Wednesday; however, Judge Dempsey also refused the tribe’s request to dismiss the lawsuit entirely.

Final Push Brings Controversy

The move comes as Florida Voters In Charge makes its final push to gather the requisite signatures to put their amendment on the 2022 ballot. The PAC is facing a February 1 deadline to submit the approximately 900,000 required signatures from Florida residents; however, because of a fairly lengthy signature verification process, all signatures must be submitted by December 30.

The interplay between the Seminole Tribe and signature gatherers contracted for Florida Voters In Charge has been subject to a great deal of controversy recently. A Politico report released December 2 claimed that the Seminole Tribe was engaged in nefarious behavior towards the signature gatherers for the legal sports betting and casino expansion initiative.

The interference included alleged buyouts from the Seminole Tribe to signature gatherers who agreed to stop their employment with the PAC, intimidation efforts against signature gatherers, and attempts to sour popular signature-gathering areas by harassing citizens and leading management to ban any sort of soliciting in the area as a result.

According to the Politico report, Florida Voters In Charge lost more than half of their signature-gatherers in two days as a result of the tribe’s interference efforts.

Florida Voters In Charge Remains Positive

Despite these obstacles, Florida Voters In Charge maintains the position that they are “on pace” to gather all of the required signatures for the amendment to appear on the 2022 ballot, as Florida Voters In Charge spokeswoman Sarah Bascom claimed in a statement on Thursday.

“We will not allow any distractions, legal maneuvers or the tribe’s egregious blocking tactics to distract us from that mission. Therefore, we have decided to withdraw our request for an emergency injunction so our team members can remain focused on gathering signatures and not be held up in the courtroom,” she wrote in the statement. “With our effort reaching this critical stage and our signature gathering progress in full swing, we will not be deterred by legal maneuvers seeking to bring our on-the-ground team members out of the field and tie them up in legal proceedings.”

While the PAC has withdrawn this request, they will still seek restitution for the damages the tribe allegedly inflicted, Bascom said in the statement.

“As we march to the finish line, we will continue to pursue our legal options to expose and seek damages from those that have intentionally and aggressively attempted to thwart the constitutional signature gathering process,” Bascom said.

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