December 05, 2020
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The Florida Statutes

The 2007 Florida Statutes

Chapter 498
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Section 498.047, Florida Statutes 2007

498.047  Investigations.--

(1)  The division may:

(a)  Make necessary public or private investigations within or outside of this state to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate this chapter or any division rule or order, to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, or to aid in the adoption of division rules or forms; and

(b)  Require or permit any person to file a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as to the facts and circumstances concerning the matter to be investigated.

(2)  For the purpose of any investigation under this chapter, any officer or employee designated by rule may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any matter which is relevant to the investigation, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of material evidence.

(3)  If any person fails to obey a subpoena or to answer questions propounded by the investigating officer, upon reasonable notice to all affected persons, the division may apply to circuit court for an order compelling compliance.

(4)  The division may permit a subdivider, broker, or salesperson whose conduct or actions may be under investigation to waive formal proceedings and enter into a consent proceeding in which orders, rules, or letters of censure or warning, whether formal or informal, may be entered against the subdivider, broker, or salesperson.

(5)  A person who furnishes information or evidence to the division is immune from civil liability unless such person acts in bad faith or with malice in providing such information as evidence.

(6)  Unless otherwise ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction, nothing shall prohibit a complainant, respondent, or any witness from disclosing the existence of an investigation or other proceeding under this section.

(7)  Any official written report, worksheet, or other related paper, or a duly certified copy thereof, compiled, prepared, drafted, or otherwise made by and duly authenticated by a financial examiner or analyst may be admitted as competent evidence in any hearing in which the financial examiner or analyst is available for cross-examination and attests to under oath that such documents were prepared as a result of an examination or inspection conducted pursuant to the authority of this chapter.

(8)(a)  Information held by the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes relative to an investigation pursuant to this chapter, including any consumer complaint, is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, until 10 days after a notice to show cause has been filed by the division, or, in the case in which no notice to show cause is filed, the investigation is completed or ceases to be active. For purposes of this section, an investigation shall be considered "active" so long as the division or any law enforcement or administrative agency or regulatory organization is proceeding with reasonable dispatch and has a reasonable good faith belief that the investigation may lead to the filing of an administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding or to the denial or conditional grant of a license or registration. However, in response to a specific inquiry about the registration status of a registered or unregistered subdivider, the division may disclose the existence and the status of an active investigation. This subsection shall not be construed to prohibit disclosure of information which is required by law to be filed with the division and which, but for the investigation, would be subject to s. 119.07(1).

(b)  A consumer complaint and other information relative to an investigation shall remain confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, after the filing of a notice to show cause or the investigation is completed or ceases to be active to the extent disclosure would:

1.  Jeopardize the integrity of another active investigation.

2.  Reveal the name, address, telephone number, social security number, or any other identifying number or information of any purchaser or account holder, or social security number or any account number of a complainant.

3.  Reveal a trade secret as defined in s. 688.002.

(c)  The division may provide confidential and exempt information to any law enforcement or administrative agency or regulatory organization when such agency or organization makes the request in connection with its official duties. Any law enforcement or administrative agency or regulatory organization receiving confidential and exempt information in connection with its official duties shall maintain the confidential and exempt status of the information as provided for in this subsection.

(d)  If information subject to this subsection is offered in evidence in any administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding, the presiding officer may, in his or her discretion, prevent the disclosure of information which would be confidential and exempt pursuant to paragraph (b).

History.--s. 15, ch. 63-129; s. 14, ch. 67-229; s. 4, ch. 69-393; s. 2, ch. 71-98; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 9, ch. 78-95; ss. 23, 30, 32, ch. 79-347; ss. 15, 21, ch. 81-177; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 3, ch. 83-265; ss. 22, 33, 34, ch. 88-90; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 579, ch. 97-103; s. 17, ch. 97-192; s. 1, ch. 98-54; s. 1, ch. 2003-107.

Note.--Former s. 478.151.

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