Orange County to pay group $90K over 'textgate' scandal

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

A scandal that played out at an Orange County commission meeting is coming with a hefty price tag. On Monday a group who tried to get paid sick time for Orange County workers will now be paid $90,000, all because of erased text messages.

The scandal was dubbed "textgate" when those text messages to and from lobbyists were deleted after commissioners voted down a proposal to require paid sick time in 2012.

While the $90,000 will be paid, the sick time issue is still dead, according to Channel 9's Christopher Heath.

Last year the state legislature passed a law that prohibits cities from forcing businesses to offer paid sick time.

The move by the state came just months after Orange County commissioners, amid a flurry of secret text messages to and from lobbyists, killed the paid sick time measure.

Last year the state attorney slapped Mayor Teresa Jacobs, as well as four commissioners, with fines for deleting text messages linked to the paid sick time vote.

In 2012 citizen's groups circulated a petition calling on Orange County businesses to offer paid sick time.

While the petition had the required signatures to turn the issue over to the voters, it was strongly opposed by Orange County's service and theme park industry.

That September commissioners were seen texting on their phones just before voting to block the issue from reaching the ballot. But those texts were later deleted.

On Monday the group that pushed the measure reached a deal with the county in regard to those erased messages.

The county will pay the group Citizens for a Greater Orange County $90,000 but admit no wrong-doing.

"We think it's clear from the text messages that were made public that the delay was so that the legislature could deliver the kill shot, which they did," said Laura Johns, of Citizens for a Greater Orange County.