Wednesday, April 08, 2020


A "double-minded person is unstable in all her ways."  James 1-8.

A Florida Bar complaint was filed this week, by former Republican Flagler County Commission candidate, Mr. Mark Richter, against Florida Department of Administrative Hearings Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) SUZANNE VAN WYK, a Florida Bar Foundation Board member.

ALJ VAN WYK's  allegedly illegal order to violate Florida's anti-SLAPP statute is at issue in a case filed by the Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody, who has filed three Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

Here's Mr. Richter's April 7, 2020 Florida Bar complaint:

Mark C. Richter Sr,
428 Equine Rd 
Barnwell SC. 29812
(803) 671-5601

The Florida Bar
651 E. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee Fl. 32399-2300

Dear Sirs:
As a parent I cannot sit still and watch this atrocity and violation of Constitutional rights go on any longer.
 Four years ago my son filled an Ethics Complaint about a Canvasing board meeting that was held during a Flagler County Commission meeting, and what took place at that meeting. This meeting was held without the Canvassing Board Attorney nor the Supervisor of elections present. (Yes, there is a video evidence of that meeting.) During this time there were two people running for election on the Commission and they voted on what they were going to do at the Canvasing board meeting.
The ethics investigator stated over and over to my son that this was an abuse of office and that a more thorough investigation would take place. Then after some time a letter arrived at my home from the Florida Ethic Commission claiming that there was nothing wrong with them doing this and that my son’s complaint had no merit even though much evidence had been presented. 
Around this same time my son and I had a disagreement about a girl that he was seeing and he had moved out of my home to live with her. We did not speak for several years after that.
While he was gone I was notified that a Court action was going on about his complaint. I wrote Judge Susanne Van Wyk, in a writ that I had no knowledge of my son’s whereabouts or how to contact him as we were not speaking at the time.
Judge Suzanne Van Wyk ignored this writ and they proceeded on without ever notifying him or serving him papers that he was being sued. This is a grave injustice and a violation of his constitutional right to free speech and ability to defend himself against his accusers.
 Enclosed is a Florida Bar Complaint of Actions taken By Judge Suzanne Van Wyk.
Complaint text: 

Please investigate and hold an open public hearing to decide whether Respondent Florida Department of Administrative Hearings Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk violated Florida Bar Rules 4.3, 4-4, 4-8.2.  (The Florida Bar has jurisdiction because ALJs are apparently not covered by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission.)

Respondent DOAH ALJ Suzanne Van Wyk decided three cases referred by Florida Ethics Commission in re: Dennis McDonald, Kimberle Weeks and Mark Richter, Jr., holding that Flagler County employees can make citizens pay hundreds of thousands of dollars as punishment for filing ethics complaints.   
  1. Respondent Suzanne Van Wyk, DOAH Administrative Law Judge, decided cases referred by Florida Ethics Commission in re: Dennis McDonald, Kimberle Weeks and Mark Richter, Jr., by combining unrelated persons' complaints, violating due process rights by sue sponte holding a combined hearing.  The hearing was held in absentia.  It was a "show trial" intended to chill, coerce and intimidate persons reporting ethics concerns, in violation of Florida Statute 786.295 (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation Prohibited).
  2. In that in absentia show trial, held in Tallahassee, before Respondent Van Wyk, the Flagler County employees attacked First Amendment rights.  The outlandish legal theory was that there was a cabal attempting to overthrow the Flagler County government. Consolidating the cases for hearing prejudiced Ms. Weeks and Messrs. Richter, Jr. and McDonald, depriving them of the right to be treated as individuals engaged in First Amendment protected activity, rather than a group to be stigmatized.  
  3. In that in absentia show trial held before Respondent Van Wyk, in three combined cases referred by Florida Ethics Commission in re: Dennis McDonald, Kimberle Weeks and Mark Richter, Jr. Respondent ALJ Van Wyk: (a) failed to recuse herself and (b) failed to disclose to the parties -- in three administrative proceedings involving County employee ethics allegations -- that she was long a lobbyist and lawyer for Florida counties before becoming an ALJ. ALJ Van Wyk having a long association with Hadeed/Herron through the Florida Association of Counties.   
  4. Respondent ALJ Van Wyk refused to hold hearings in Flagler County for the convenience of the witnesses and parties, preferring a hearing for her own convenience, and Mark Herron's, in Tallahassee, where she was a candidate for office.
  5. Respondent ALJ Van Wyk refused to take telephone testimony from Flagler County parties and witnesses.
  6. After the show trial, Respondent ALJ Van Wyk signed as a unscholarly, disorganized lawyer not citing the transcript.
  7. After the show trial, Respondent ALJ Van Wyk issued a decision that rejected binding Supreme Court precedent,  New York Times v. Sullivan, instead adopting defense counsel Mark Herron's notion that legal terms should be given extralegal meaning, e.g., the definition of the term "malice" for purposes of inflicting monetary judgments.
  8. Respondent ALJ Van Wyk violated McDonald,Weeks and Richter's rights to due process, equal protection and free speech in signing an opinion virtually dictated by counsel for Flagler County, Tallahassee lawyer Mark Herron, who has served as fundraiser for politicians. 
  9. Respondent ALJ Van Wyk did not resign-to-run when she ran for Leon County Court Judge in 2018, raising some $62,000 from lawyers, law firms and developers.
  10. Respondent ALJ Van Wyk did not disclose to Ms. Weeks, Mr. Richter and Mr. McDonald, the Flagler County respondents. that she was running for Leon County Court Judge in 2018.
  11. Respondent ALJ Van Wyk submitted her name for a vacant Circuit Judgeship in 2019, after never resigning to run in 2018.
  12. Respondent ALJ Van Wyk continues sitting as an ALJ while she functions as an ambitious politician running for office, looking for her next gig, while inflicting injustice on citizens in unfair hearings, including but not limited to the in absentia show trial of Ms. Weeks and Messrs. Richter, Jr. and McDonald.

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