FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — A City of Fort Lauderdale official sent an email to Mayor Dean Trentalis and workers in the Mayor’s law office warning about Andrew Colton, host of South Florida’s First News on NewsRadio 610 WIOD. Colton has been asking questions about the City apparently giving permission to a private organization to block access to handicapped accessible bathrooms in Esplande Park. Bathrooms were blocked last Saturday, leaving the mobility impaired with no public bathrooms to use.
In a series of emails obtained under a freedom of information act request, Mayoral Chief of Staff Scott Wyman writes to Mayor Dean Trantalis, and workers in Trantalis’ law office, to “Beware of Andrew Colton calling the law office. He published a very biased story on WIOD after we directed him yesterday to work with the city’s Strategic Communications Office on his story matter.”
The City refuses to provide an official to speak live on South Florida’s First News, and only issued a statement claiming that the “City of Fort Lauderdale complies with all ADA requirements.” In the statement, Spokeswoman Ashley Doussard also wrote, “This past Saturday, Riverwalk hosted a private, ticketed event at Esplande Park. The event went through the permitting and approval process. This allowed them private use of the park and its bathroom facilities.”
But, in other emails obtained through the FOIA request, the City seems to acknowledge that even an organization hosting a “private” event in a public park must provide bathroom access.
“Article 11 of the agreement with the City requires them to comply with the ADA,” wrote Matthew Cobb, Assistant Risk Manager for the City of Fort Lauderdale, in a private email to the City’s strategic communications director Ashley Doussard. The City refuses to say what is being done to ensure unfettered handicapped access to its bathrooms moving forward.