On the “Legalities”

justiceYes, this piece is godawful long. Many issues, interpretations, confusions and outright lies have been flying around on the Coordinating Council (CC) list. I thought it more merciful to try to deal with them thoroughly and systematically now, rather than leave a lot of half-answered questions hanging in the air, each requiring more acrimonious back-and-forth. Please bear with me.

In short, I had been violently threatened by Jeremy Griffin of the Tampa local in 2015, in a tirade of 22 vicious and obscene e-mails. Rose Roby and I sought recourse at the next meeting of the CC, but the CC refused to take action, sympathizing in large part with Jeremy. I wrote an article on my own website, “This is what fascism feels like.” The next day, I was purged from the party. The day after, so was Rose.


Prelude to the Annual Meeting of 2017.

Victor Agosto: “The council’s organizational memory, however, is strong and we will not allow a repeat of the tumultuous years when the Robys were council delegates.”

Pinellas County Green Party Co-Chair Rose Roby participated in the April CC meeting as one of the two Pinellas County Green Party representatives. In the course of the meeting, party Co-Chair Victor Agosto actually made an offer to assist Rose in getting on the Council e-mail list. Victor e-mailed Rose:

“From: Victor Agosto Brizuela victor.m.agosto@gmail.com
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:36 PM
To: roseroby@lifeinspice.com
Subject: Council List

“I sent just you an invite to the council list. Please let me know if you didn’t get it.
“- Victor”

There were some technical difficulties, but Rose and Victor worked collegially together for a week, before turning the matter over to Cathy Gilbert, who successfully got Rose on the list.

There was peace in the valley.

Not present on that April call was Jennifer Sullivan, away on other business. Then Jen came back. Within about a day of Rose getting on the list, Rose was without notice kicked off the list by Cathy, who had been told the error of her ways. At the next meeting of the Pinellas local, Pinellas Co-Chair Bruce Wright reported that he had received a voice message from Jen saying that we (Rose and I) couldn’t be on the Council and couldn’t even attend the State Meeting (AMM). We immediately began drafting our response to the Council.

Let’s look at it as something other than lawyers.

Let’s reflect on the situation from a human point of view: Rose and I had been welcomed back into the Green Party, and spoken warmly with Shawna Doran, Cathy and Jen (who claims she didn’t mean it but just “rolls that away”). No restrictions. No recriminations. A fresh start. A bit later, Jen had even personally called me to consult on some Bylaws issues. (Rose and I were known in the GPFL as particularly good at Bylaws, having ourselves written and shepherded through various policy proposals.)

Rose participated in a Council meeting. Jen returned. Rose was thrown off the Council, with Victor having suddenly remembered, as he so temperately put it, that “There have never been two individuals who have been more determined to cause damage to the GPFL from the inside than the Robys.”

It goes downhill.

The Pinellas local sent a letter to the Council, protesting the Council’s treatment of Rose and, by extension the Pinellas local, which was denied its choice of representation. The Council did not respond. Behind closed doors (from Pinellas’ point of view) the CC ostensibly decided to deal with the affair after the AMM lest it disturb the new members. The Pinellas local was not informed of this fact! After Maggie Gouldin was selected as the next Pinellas CC rep, she and Pinellas Co-Chair Bruce Wright attended a subsequent CC meeting.

Bruce asked the CC directly for a response to the Pinellas letter. Jen was the only one to respond, and she ONLY said that it was all very sad, but that banning Rose and me had been necessary for the good of the party. She did not mention that the CC had decided to deal with it after the AMM. That is what is generally known as “lying by omission.”

The AMM.

The Pinellas appeal to the CC had been summarily dismissed. Jennifer was running the AMM show. So, at the Sunday AMM session of May 28, six members of the Pinellas local demanded from the floor that Rose and I be fully re-instated into the party. After hours of lively discussion, “something” about lifting the ban was passed unanimously based on the general sentiment in the room being that people could not lift the ban that Sunday, as too many people didn’t know the background. There would be 30 days to prepare documentation, with documentation to be sent to the party’s Active Members, followed by serious discussion within the locals. The matter was to be settled by September 30.

The first readout of that proposal deliberately omitted the part about submission of documentation to the locals. It was added from the floor, and was announced that way to the body before the unanimous vote. There are at least eight GPFL members (3 from locals other than Pinellas) who definitely heard that requirement to submit the documentation to the membership of the locals.

The whole affair has been a mess ever since, with various interpretations of what had happened in 2015, and what happened at the AMM. People have argued straight-faced that even if the words did not support their positions, we had to treat what the AMM and the 2015 CC “really meant” as the only thing that mattered. Minutes have not been forthcoming.

Points requiring Clarification:

  1. What were the charges against me in 2015?
  2. What were the charges against Rose in 2015?
  3. Since the proposal passed at the AMM differs substantially from Victor’s proposal, what are the differences, and how do the two proposals or sets of proposals get settled in the totality?
  4. How was the process hijacked by Victor and Jennifer, thus usurping the powers of the CC?

(1)   Charges against me.

If this section seems like a mess, I can only say that the meeting was a mess, and so were the minutes.

From the Coordinating Council minutes:

“33411 Tonight’s special call
Feb 3, 2015

Kat: If Jeff doesn’t remove the post and post an apology, then he will have to be removed from the council and the elist. Inflammatory remarks are unacceptable. She read her response that was prepared earlier. There is a proposal to remove Jeff Roby from the group.

Jeff: The whole point of writing the article and posting it the way he did was because he was vilified during last week’s meeting. No one acknowledged that he was physically threatened. Except for a helpful comment from Peter and one from Jim, no one else could take a stand. He will not remove his post and he will not post an apology.

Kat: Directed to Jeff and Rose of St. Pete. The last hour could have been used for moving the political party ahead instead of petty attacks of others. [They put me on trial, and then complained about it! — jr] Jeff is asked to take down the posting.

Jeff: He refuses to take down the posting. We will have to “live with it.” He asks why Rose is included.

It is the official statements of the Green Party of the Florida that transgression have been committed by Jeff Roby and that he should be temporarily removed from the council of the Florida Green Party.

All delegates voted yes, except for Jeff and Rose from St. Pete.”

Despite various remarks denouncing me for all sorts of things, the specific cause for TEMPORARY removal was my refusal to take down the posting. Period.

My reason for refusing was that (1) everything in the article “This is what fascism feels like” is true (note the wording of the title is “feels like” and talks about what I consider to be a fascist dynamic, not an accusation that the GPFL was or is an actually fascist organization), and (2) that Jeremy Griffin’s violent 22-email 2-day barrage was treated along the lines of “Boys will be boys.” I had demanded something better, and got worse.

Conclusion: the specific cause for removal (temporarily) was my refusal to take down the posting.

(2)   Charges against Rose

“33435 Re: [gpf-council] Minutes of Council Mtg
February 3 2015
Cathy Gilbert
Feb 4, 2015

(Proposal from Tampa)

… Being that we still have the attack piece up there -… the next questions are

– Rose, will you take down the article … and issue an apology, being that your husband was suspended for failure to do so?

– If yes, we have achieved some sort results and can possibly move forward.

– If no, well, then its another vote on suspension.

If the other delegate from St Pete refuses to remove it, they need to be suspended and a statement that the St Pete local is currently inactive and its views do not represent the GPFL would be in order.

End of proposal”

The above proposal was not voted on.

[Rose’s response sent to Cathy (she could not even be at the CC meeting, having been summoned only that day) (full response included in Rose’s submission, RoseEvidence_Part1_PurgeDetails.doc)

At 3:19 PM -0500 2/3/15, ‘trixi54’ trixi54@… [gpf-council] wrote:

“There’s only one administrator and owner for the St. Pete Greens website and that’s Jeff Roby.

Should the CC choose to sanction me during the meeting tonight, I request a full list of the charges against me and how they were determined. I would also request time for an adequate response.

Thank you.
Rose Roby
Chair, St. Pete Greens”]

Minutes continue:

“A possible proposal could be:

In light of the postings that reflect poorly on the GPFL written and disseminated by Jeff Roby and the refusal of said person to remove those postings on his website and the Facebook pages, the Council of the GPFL declares on this date that the St. Pete local affiliate is now inactive.

Propsoal [sic] approved.

This statement was written by Kat and will be posted on the GPFL websites.

To all party members and individuals of the media: an official statement from GPFL elected Spokesperson Kat Duerr.

As of Tuesday, Febuary 3rd at 9:00pm, an unanimous group consensus of the County Council representatives of the Florida Green Party motioned to officially distance itself from the published opinions of two now permanently suspended individual council members, Jeff and Rose Roby. This, unfortunately, results in the deactivation of the the St. Petersberg Local Chapter of the GPFL due to the persistent, inflammatory, unproductive, and personally demeaning language posted on FloridaWestCoastGreens.Org. Jeff and Rose Roby are no longer associated with the GPFL nor do they speak or represent in any way the official sentiment of the Florida Green Party.

This is an unfortunate incident and is not representative of the regularly amicable and productive political discourse of a political party priding itself on non-violence, social justice, equality, and collaboration both within our party and with other political campaigns.”

Conclusion: Voted on were:

(1) 2/2/15 “It is the official statements of the Green Party of the Florida that transgression have been committed by Jeff Roby and that he should be temporarily removed from the council of the Florida Green Party.”

I was removed from the Council.

(2) 2/3/15 “In light of the postings that reflect poorly on the GPFL written and disseminated by Jeff Roby and the refusal of said person to remove those postings on his website and the Facebook pages, the Council of the GPFL declares on this date that the St. Pete local affiliate is now inactive.”

The St. Pete local was shut down.

The two above proposals were all that were passed. Many fragmentary ideas were suggested, several tossed around, but only those two were passed, which “temporarily removed” me from the CC, and one that said “the St. Pete local affiliate is now inactive.”

The word “permanently” was added by Kat Duerr, the facilitator, who was not the representative from Orange County, but was only declared such by the CC to give the illusion of unanimity. The statement was not actually voted on.

To reiterate, people want to talk about what was meant, what was thought, what was intended. But points (1) and (2) were what were passed.

The actual charges against me, despite the flurry of insults hurled at me and Rose, pertained specifically to the “This is what fascism feels like” article. If I had agreed to retract it and issue a phony apology, that would perhaps have erased all my other sins. (In that light, consider the charges of “sexual harassment” that Silvie Suri of Broward lodged against GPFL spokesperson Didier Ortiz on Facebook, and refused to take down, which might be construed as “reflecting poorly.”)

The actual charge against Rose was that she was unable to coerce me into removing the article. Period.

(3) The AMM proposal differs substantially from Victor’s. What are the differences? And so what?

So what? Well … Victor’s initial proposal was deliberately intended to short-circuit the proposal passed at the AMM. As he replied to Pinellas Co-Chair Bruce Wright, on June 2 at 3:06 PM:

“Bruce, your group took over a meeting to take advantage of a group of people that knows nothing about Jeff Roby, because you don’t have another way of getting what you want. Jeff Roby only seeks to drag this party through the mud which is what he did last time he was a member of this council. Even so, we’re playing by the rules of the ‘democratic’ farce you are pushing.” [emphasis added]

By “farce,” Victor means the proposal passed unanimously by the AMM, the wording of which is in dispute, and for which there have as yet been no Minutes. Victor rejects the AMM proposal.

His timeline was 30 days for submission of documentation, and then ONE day for voting, with no time set aside for discussion at all.

From Victor, June 1, 1:12 AM:

“If the council can’t be convinced to pass this proposal (or a revised version of it) in 30 days, then we can all experience for ourselves the pleasure of having both Robys on this council the next day.”

Too many found this timeline a direct suppression of democratic process. The timeline was revised to 3 weeks for documentation, then one week for discussion before the vote. Reducing the documentation period by one week hardly makes his proposal implementation of the AMM proposal.

Victor concludes the background of his initial proposal with:

“The council agreed to reaffiliate the Pinellas County local as an act of good faith and in the spirit of reconciliation. The local needs to choose delegates other than either Jeff or Rose Roby to represent them on the council. Their behavior during the AMM this past weekend demonstrates that they are not interested in respectfully engaging with the GPFL. All locals must work for the greater good of the GPFL and the GPUS. The council has the authority disaffiliate any local that it deems to be deliberately acting against the best interests of the party.” [The Pinellas County local is in no way a descendant of the old St. Pete local, by the way — jr]

The threat to disaffiliate Pinellas has all the subtlety of a Mafia capo saying, “Nice little store you have here. Hate to see anything happen to it.”

It in no way reflects the spirit of the AMM.

Victor relates on June 12 1:00 AM:

“After discussing it with Jason, Jennifer and I have decided to extend the timeline of our proposal to ensure that the council has at least 30 days to collect evidence and over two weeks to vote on the proposals after that. The revised time tables are included in the links below.”

Now it stands at:

Proposal [for Rose]
If adopted, the ban on Rose Roby’s participation on the GPFL council would be lifted. If this proposal fails, it will reaffirm the council’s February 2015 decision to ban Rose Roby from the GPFL council.

Discussion Period
12AM Wednesday, May 31 , 2017 – 11:59 PM on Friday, June 30, 2017

Voting Period
12AM Saturday, July 1 , 2017 – 11:59 PM on Saturday, July 15, 2017”

Same for me.

So at this point, no time period is set aside for submission of documentation, though that MIGHT extend to June 30. But if any documentation were submitted at the end of the Discussion Period, then there would be zero time for disseminating it, let alone discussing it, thus again torpedoing the entire process.

Next, there is the wording of the proposal itself.. First, it was “If approved, this proposal would reaffirm the council’s February 2015 decision to ban Jeff and Rose Roby from the GPFL council.” Then Victor realized that he would need a two-thirds vote to reaffirm. So he changed it, to a proposal to lift the ban, then had the sheer unmitigated gall to call it Rose’s and my proposal. Like the actual “words” of proposals have no bearing on Victor’s intention-based reality.

Then Victor changed it to add the consequences if HIS proposal failed to pass, which would be a re-affirming of the ban. The logic goes, Simply put, Victor would be rewarded for losing. Imagine a proposal that went, “If this passes, I am awarded a salary of $100,000. If it fails, I am awarded a salary of $200,000.” You just can’t do that. Victor’s proposal should have simply been declared null and void by the CC, but most of the CC has enjoyed the role of spectators of this spectacle.

And Victor, Jennifer and Jason still want to act like these gyrations are merely an administrative extension of what the AMM had passed, and did not fall under the jurisdiction of the CC until the final vote. They have made a total mess of it.

Conclusion: Victor’s proposal(s) is a different proposal from the AMM’s. Should Victor’s proposal “fail” (his clever way to maintain the ban), the AMM proposal would remain in effect.

UPDATE:  This proposal was finally withdrawn, having drawn objections from too many “important” CC members regarding the accelerated timeline.  A proposal was introduced to the CC on June 28 that would have essentially introduced the same timeline, and allowing the entire process to result in a conclusive rejection of lifting the ban by July 1, 2017.

(4) How the process has been hijacked by Victor and Jennifer.

It could have been simple. While the 30 days for submission of documentation was ticking on, the CC could have met as usual (last Wednesday of each month) and discussed how to proceed relative to distribution of documentation, and clarification of unresolved issues (so many of which abound, as evidenced by points (1), (2) and (3).

The CC could have deliberated on a process for resolution, whether that resolution were some mediation or reconciliation process, or an actual vote. A time limit could have been set based on how long was needed for distribution of documentation, discussion within the locals, and the working through of whatever process the CC preferred.

The process would have remained in the hands of the CC, whose representatives are directly accountable to each of their respective locals. Victor kept making changes, to deadlines, to the actual proposals themselves, at one point trying to transform his proposal to “Reaffirm the Ban” into Rose and my proposal to “Lift the Ban,” in order to make Rose and me have to get the two-thirds vote instead of him. There kept being pronouncements on various issues, with an ominously official tone. Then Secretary Jason Kofender let the cat out of the bag with his e-mail of June 10, 8:41 PM:


The state council can recall a national delegate to the GPUS. A county can recall a delegate to the state council. Neither are applicable in this case. We will send out an email soon clarifying (1) what will be voted on by the council and (2) when the vote will take place.

On June 10 at 9:03 PM, Maggie replied:

“Who is we?”

June 11, 3:02 AM, Jason replied:

“By ‘we’, I was referring to the officers of the state executive committee.”

I called Jason, and subsequently sent him an e-mail explaining that per the Bylaws, “The Board of Trustees and the members of the state Coordinating Council shall serve as the SEC” [i.e., the State Exec], and the Pinellas CC reps had not been included in any decision on these matters.

Jason e-mailed back, “

“The officers of the SEC (who per the bylaws are also the officers of the Board) had a telephone call because we were unable to meet at the AMM (as originally scheduled) because we ran out of time.

As far as the administrative function of the leadership positions, that is exactly the function that we’re fulfilling. We are implementing a process for the council to submit and review documentation regarding your request to lift the ban. …”

So by State Exec, he really meant the Board, an innocent mistake by a new member and officer. But with “We are implementing a process for the council to submit and review documentation regarding your request to lift the ban,” he says the Board had taken over these seemingly innocent administrative functions.

However, per the Bylaws again:

“These leadership positions should, thus, be considered administrative rather than authoritative in nature.” And per the Bylaws, by administrative is meant the handling the various reports and filings that are required by the Florida Secretary of State to keep our official minor party status.”

Yet I have been told by another officer that in fact the Board was not doing what Jason said it was doing.

Then as stated above, on June 12, 3:02 AM, Victor writes:

“After discussing it with Jason, Jennifer and I have decided to extend the timeline of our proposal to ensure that the council has at least 30 days to collect evidence and over two weeks to vote on the proposals after that. The revised time tables are included in the links below.”

As mentioned before, the revised timetables states that the Discussion Period is “12AM Wednesday, May 31 , 2017 — 11:59 PM on Friday, June 30, 2017” and the Voting Period is “12AM Saturday, July 1 , 2017 — 11:59 PM on Saturday, July 15, 2017” Thus the period for submission of documentation disappears, or at best is folded into the Discussion Period. Therefore, there is no time set aside for the discussion of any documents submitted at the end of what would have been the Documentation Submission Period, thereby making a mockery of the period for preparation of documentation.

Hijacked is too soft a description.

The trend towards unrestricted authoritarianism in our government and our society in general is all too often cloaked under the rubric of “administration.” It’s overwhelmingly political character is denied, and is removed from any public accountability. Everything is being treated as a blatant power play, Victor’s stance being “I’m doing it because I can!” Until Pinellas finally issued a Block on Victor’s proposals, there was not the slightest gesture towards trying to achieve any kind of consensus.

In the GPFL, the questions of deadlines, processes and even the wordings of proposals are highly political, and have the most serious impact on the GPFL. If they weren’t, Victor would hardly be so adamant about them, would he? If these matters are handled in the manner in which they’ve been handled so far, the GPFL will be facing an extended “crisis of legitimacy” that will cost us for years and years to come.

Removing the ban (or whatever they call it) would be a step in the right direction. Under pressure, it seems that the process may be slightly improved. Or not. But the impulses leading to this debacle will not remain. It is now up to the membership, new and old, to ensure that the GPFL begins practicing genuine grassroots democracy.


There have an unending barrage of other accusations made against Rose and me, along the lines of what Victor stated in the “Background” to his initial proposal to “Reaffirm the Ban”:

“There have never been two individuals who have been more determined to cause damage to the GPFL from the inside than the Robys.”

There has been an Orwellian 5-minute hate against us — for years — of us maniacally wrecking and trashing everything we touch. But closer examination reveals that for the most part this chorus is a chorus of two, Jennifer Sullivan and Victor Agosto, our party co-chairs. No substance has been provided. None can be. To date, in the Pritchett documentation submitted so far, we have me once telling Anita Stewart to “shut up,” and Rose telling Josh to “fuck off.” That has the entire GPFL standing on it head.

These charges were NOT what we were ostensibly purged for, and should have no merit whatsoever in evaluating any of this. But they poison the atmosphere, and that must not be allowed to continue.

Additionally, the initial purging in 2015 was highly political in nature. There were real issues, real conflicts. Sometimes quite heated. I am therefore writing a second document that will examine some of the GPFL’s history since 2012, what these conflicts were about, and what the party’s dynamics were and unfortunately still are.

By relating some of that history, I will also shed light on a fundamental question i, to what extent is the party to be allowed to flout its own rules, condone threats of violence within its leading circles, and cover it all up in the name of the “good of the party,” before exposing that wrongdoing becomes not merely a right, but a responsibility? Stay tuned.

— Jeff Roby
Electoral Committee Chair
Pinellas County Green Party
June 18, 2017