Clerk Moves to Dismiss Brevard County Debt To Subsidize Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin

TITUSVILLE, Florida –  Brevard County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller, Scott Ellis, has filed a motion seeking to dismiss the bond validation lawsuit filed earlier this year by Brevard County and the North Brevard Development District.

The suit seeks approval for the County and the District to issue $8.1 million in bonded debt to finance an economic incentive grant to Blue Origin Florida, LLC, an aerospace company owned by the richest man in the world, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Pursuant to section 125.045, Florida Statutes, the County and the District are allowed to make grants of public money to private entities such as Blue Origin. The County nor the District, however, may issue bonds to finance the grant, as Florida law and the County’s charter expressly prohibit the financing of operational expenses via the issuance of bonds.

“While the County may very well wish to make this gift to Blue Origin, it cannot issue bonds to do so,” said Clerk and Comptroller Scott Ellis. “The District or the County need to appropriate the grant from funds available to them. We cannot issue debt to give a private company money.”

The case has been assigned to circuit judge Jeffrey Mahl. Judge Mahl has set a hearing in the case for May 23, 2018, at the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Justice Center in Viera at 9:00 a.m.

The Clerk has retained bond counsel from the firm of Bush Ross, P.A. in Tampa. He is represented by J. Carter Andersen, Esq., Caitlyn Parsley, Esq., and Harold D. Holder, Esq. as well as the Clerk’s staff counsel, Rebecca E. Lober, Esq.