9 Investigates: ORCO sick-time texting scandal


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A fallout from Orange County's texting scandal continued Friday.

County attorneys met with the citizens group that originally pushed for paid sick time, only to have commissioners vote it down amid a series of secret text messages.

Investigative reporter Christopher Heath found out they are mediating at a law office in Maitland, until a deal can be reached.

But Orange County said it has spent almost $150,000 in legal fees defending itself. That's a number that has doubled since March.

Inside the Maitland office building, attorneys representing Orange County Commissioners Jennifer Thompson, Fred Brummer and Former Commissioner John Martinez are meeting the with group that in 2012 attempted to place a paid sick-time initiative on the ballot.

The initiative was stopped in its tracks when orange County commissioners, amid a flurry of secret text messages with outside lobbyists, killed the measure, although commissioners maintain the messages played no part in the decision.

In August of this year, the criminal side of the incident was settled with Mayor Teresa Jacobs paying a $500.

However, the civil suit continued.

As Orange County's legal bills approach $150,000, it is unclear how much more the county will have to pay once the suit is resolved.

At last check both sides are still talking and no deal has been reached.