CEO 76-155 -- September 13, 1976
DISCLOSURE OF CLIENTS REPRESENTED BEFORE AGENCIES
DOES NOT INCLUDE RENTAL TENANTS
To: J. Hyatt Brown, Representative, 31st District, Daytona Beach
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Public officers are required to disclose quarterly, on Commission on Ethics Form 2, representation of clients before agencies at the same level of government as the reporting person's agency. The term "represent" or "representation" is defined to mean "actual physical attendance on behalf of a client in an agency proceeding, the writing of letters or filing of documents on behalf of a client, and personal communications made with the officers or employees of any agency on behalf of a client." Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(14)(1975). Accordingly, the rental of warehouse space to a state agency by a state legislator does not constitute a Form 2 disclosure. Should such rental income constitute in excess of 10 percent of the gross income of a business entity in which the legislator holds a material interest, however, provided such income constituted more than 10 percent of his gross income and exceed $1500, the source of such income is subject to disclosure in Part D of CE Form 1, the Statement of Financial Disclosure.
Am I required to disclose on CE Form 2, Quarterly Client Disclosure, the fact that a state bureau rents warehouse space from a business in which I own a 15 percent interest?
Your question is answered in the negative.
You inform us in your letter of inquiry that you own a 15 percent interest in Ecology Business Park, which rents out warehouses. The Talking Book Library of the Bureau of Blind Services rents warehouse space in the park and was an occupant prior to your having bought an interest in the business.
Commission on Ethics Form 2, about which you inquire, is the vehicle for quarterly disclosure of clients represented before agencies, as mandated by Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(4)(1975). "Represent" or "representation" is defined to mean
. . . actual physical attendance on behalf of a client in an agency proceeding, [the writing of letters or filing of documents] on behalf of a client, and personal communications made with the officers or employees of any agency on behalf of a client. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(14)(1975).]
Inasmuch as you do not represent the Bureau of Blind Services before any governmental agency, CE Form 2 is not applicable to the situation about which you inquire. You have informed our staff, however, that you wish to be advised as to what, if any, disclosure should be made of the above-described situation.
In pertinent part, the Code of Ethics requires that one disclose, in his annual statement of financial interests,
[a]ll sources of income to a business entity in excess of 10 percent of the gross income of a business entity in which the reporting person held a material interest and [from which] received [an amount which was] in excess of 10 percent of his gross income during the disclosure period and which exceeds $1,500. The period for computing the gross income of the business entity is the fiscal year of the business entity which ended on, or immediately prior to, the end of the disclosure period of the person reporting. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(3)(b)(1975).]
"Material interest" is defined to mean "direct or indirect ownership of [more than] 5 percent of the total assets or capital stock of any business entity." Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(10)(1975). Your 15 percent interest in the subject warehouse park thus constitutes a material interest for purposes of the disclosure provision quoted above. Accordingly, if you received 10 percent of your gross income during the disclosure period from the subject warehouse rental business, providing the income you received from the business exceeded $1500, you are required to disclose each source of income to that business entity which exceeded in value 10 percent of the business' gross income. More specifically, if you derived 10 percent or more of your gross income during 1975 from Ecology Business Park, and if the rental payments from the Bureau of Blind Services amounted to more than 10 percent of the business park's gross income that year, the Talking Book Library of the Bureau of Blind Services must be listed as a source of business entity's income on Part D of CE Form 1, the Statement of Financial Disclosure.