Sun, Shade, and Secrets: Five Years After City of Satellite Beach Closed Door Meeting

BREVARD COUNTY, FL., JULY 7, 2023 - In September 2018, three city council members from Satellite Beach held a closed-door meeting with Florida state representatives, agencies, and Patrick Air Force Base to address water contamination and cancer cluster concerns. Elected officials Frank Catino, Mark Brimer, and Mindy Gibson selectively chose who could attend the meeting, and those who were not invited were met by armed police officers to ensure they would not gain entry.

The City advertised the meeting as a public "workshop," but it was unexpectedly canceled just prior to the start time advertised. When interested citizens arrived at City Hall, they were told by police officers that it was a "private meeting," and Mayor Frank Catino shut the door in their faces.

Those denied access tried various methods to hold the council members accountable. However, they encountered obstacles along the way. The police refused to take any reports, and it was later revealed through public records that the chief instructed them not to take statements. Additionally, State Attorney Phil Archer declined to investigate the incident, and residents filed ethics complaints which were ultimately returned.

Furthermore, Jeff Dubitsky, a resident, and father of five, faced severe harassment. He was sent an intimidating 11-page packet with unreasonable demands, including providing health data that his nonprofit organization was collecting, which would have violated citizens rights of privacy. Elected official Mindy Gibson was found to have communicated extensively with the harasser, who suggested using "bots" to harm Dubitsky's nonprofit organization financially. Public records revealed that the City of Satellite Beach used taxpayers' funds to print the packet, which is troubling.

It is clear from the photographic evidence that the three officials met behind closed doors five years ago. The Sunshine Law requires that meetings related to the official business of any agency must be accessible to the public. It also prohibits public officials from holding private meetings to discuss any matter on which the public board or commission will take foreseeable action. Public records reveal that officials in Satellite Beach attempted to sidestep the sunshine law by rotating members during meetings. This shady maneuvering is a violation of constitutional access rights. 

It has been discovered that PFAS chemicals were utilized at Patrick Space Force Base (previously known as Air Force Base), leading to the detection of these chemicals in the groundwater of Satellite Beach City. Following the open meetings law, the public should have been allowed to attend the meeting regarding PFAS contamination. Morally and legally, this would have been the right way to treat taxpaying citizens.

The group denied access to the meeting, took legal action, and sued. The case was dismissed by Judge Paulk after 18 months. The hearing was conducted over the phone due to pandemic restrictions, and government attorneys continuously postponed it while making changes to the paperwork. As a result, the plaintiffs could not present their evidence or witnesses in court.

The plaintiffs contested the court's decision, but the appellate court upheld Judge Paulk's ruling to dismiss the case. The court did not explain its decision, but it did acknowledge that the lawsuit was not frivolous or filed with ill intention. Additionally, the court denied the City's request for attorneys' fees and costs, which were submitted on March 8, 2022.

The City is now trying to make the victims pay for their legal fees instead of dropping the case, even though their rights were violated. This means that the affected families, some of which are cancer survivors themselves, are facing a financial burden as the government continues the legal battle and returns to the lower court. Shamefully, the government is using taxpayer money to retaliate against those trying to educate and protect lives in the community.

Scientific testing, studies, medical screening guidance, a FUDS designation, new drinking water advisory levels, testimonies in Washington DC, and national discussions have all substantiated the plaintiff's concerns regarding water contamination and health in 2018.

The government officials are declaring success as the judge did not pursue the case. However, on July 11, 2023, the City of Satellite Beach will request attorney's fees and costs during a hearing that will be conducted over the phone and will not be accessible to the public. Judge Paulk will oversee the hearing, despite their motion being rejected by the appellate court. It appears that Satellite Beach is a place where the sun doesn't shine without a fight.

The Advocates Voice

An online publication launched to elevate the voices of advocates throughout the United States.


  1. Not only are contracted corporations disposing of their waste. When waste dump is exposed... a "Fine" is set. Money exchanges hands. And nothing is cleaned up. My personal view is not only are they NOT taking responsibility. They are also laundering money all over the state.Not just Brevard. KBB receives a lot of grant money. Has multiple "paid" city and county clean up contracts. And has a media side to them that distracts from real issues. It's purposeful. And it's criminal. They NEED TO BE TAXED!!

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