9 Investigates: Emails, texts released show state investigation into alleged Expressway Authority violations



ORLANDO, Fla. - Expressway Authority board members were appointed to run central Florida's toll roads, but WFTV obtained hundreds of internal emails and text messages related to a state investigation into suspected violations of the law.

The messages show private conversations and private dinners.

The state has taken some of the emails as evidence in its case, and only investigative reporter Christopher Heath has read through the documents.

WFTV filed a lawsuit against the Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority for the release of the emails and documents.

The information shows what board members were up to in the weeks and months before their controversial decision to remove the head of the board.

That was a decision that now has the board at the center of a state investigation.

The emails show several dinner meetings between former Rep. Chris Dorworth and former Rep. Steve Precourt. Also, at different times, it shows meetings between board member Marco Pena, board member Scott Batterson, and an invitation to Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Perssad.

It is unknown what was discussed at those meetings. However, each meeting occurred only weeks before the board held a contentious vote of "no confidence" for executive director Max Crummitt.

It was at that meeting that the suggestion of Sunshine Law violations were brought up; a suggestion that brought the state attorney into the case and has left the Expressway Authority without an executive director for months.  

The state attorney is taking the information to a grand jury to decide if criminal charges will be filed.