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Money Wasted

Lake Worth Utilities
Waste Meter
$50,000
... for an arc flash study that Mr. Reyes was qualified to do in house and at no cost to taxpayers.
$200,000
... the estimated engineering cost of the express feeder which could also be done in house at no cost to taxpayers.
$591,898
... wasted when insurance requirements were circumvented by the city manager and utility director.
$123,098
... wasted when plant manager Dave Mulvay’s first attempt at writing a scope of work contained a defect that cost taxpayers an extra $123,098 for tainting the bidding process and giving unfair advantage to one bidder over another. - April 2009
$64,000
... wasted when the Matrix organizational study to save taxpayers money was scrapped in favor of higher cost outsourcing by city manager Stanton.
$450,000
... wasted engineering design cost of water piping and tanks (original county water deal) that will never be built.
$59,975
... wasted when additional costs were incurred for not following insurance procedure on transformer repair.
$82,620
... wasted when the commission unanimously voted to order transformers when we had equivalent replacements already in stock since the upgrade. - 15 Sep. 2009
Total Taxpayer Dollars Wasted:
$1,621,591
 
 

 
 
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CITIZENS LAW SUIT

Complaint filed June 14th, 2007


IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, IN AND FOR PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA

CIVIL DIVISION CASE NO.:
JUNE 14, 2007


JAMES E. McCAULEY and LAURENCE McNAMARA

Plaintiffs,

vs.

CITY OF LAKE WORTH,
Defendant.

 

CLERK & COMPTROLLER
CIRCUIT CIVIL DIVISION


COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

COME NOW, the Plaintiffs, James E. McCauley ("McCauley") and Laurence McNamara ("McNamara"), by and through the undersigned, and sue the Defendant, the City of Lake Worth ("City") and alleges as follows:

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

1. This is an action for declaratory and injunctive relief brought against the City of Lake Worth, Florida

2. This Court has jurisdiction of the cause pursuant to § 26.012(3), Florida Statutes (injunctions) and Chapter 86, Florida Statutes (declaratory judgment).

3. Venue is proper in this in this court pursuant to § 47.011, Florida Statutes, as the property at issue and all actions complained of herein occurred in Palm Beach County, Florida.

4. James E. McCauley, Sr., whose address is 830 N. Golfview Road, Lake Worth, Florida 33460 is a resident and landowner in Lake Worth, Florida. He is a fifteen year resident of Lake Worth.

5. Laurence McNamara, whose address is 422 N. Lakeside Drive, Lake Worth, Florida 33460 is a resident and landowner in Lake Worth, Florida. He has been a part-time resident since 1991 and a full-time resident of Lake Worth for the last six years.

6. As Lake Worth residents and/or property owners, Plaintiffs are entitled to receive from the City of Lake Worth the statutory and constitutional notice required by City Ordinance No. 2003-07 and the opportunity to vote in favor of, or against, the execution by the City of any lease agreement falling under the scope of Ordinance 2003-07, and thus have standing to seek declaratory and injunctive relief from the City's actions described below.

7. Defendant, City of Lake Worth is a Florida municipal corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Florida and located in Palm Beach County, Florida. BACKGROUND AND FACTS

8. On or about February 18, 2003, the City of Lake Worth unanimously passed Ordinance 2003-07. (Exhibit "A"). Ordinance 2003-07 provided as follows:

ORDINANCE NO. 2003-07 OF THE CITY OF LAKE WORTH, FLORIDA, CALLING FOR A REFERENDUM OF THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF THE CITY OF LAKE WORTH TO BE HELD ON MARCH 9, 2004, AS TO WHETHER THE CITY OF LAKE WORTH CHARTER SHALL BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE THAT CITY OWNED PROPERTY EAST OF THE AlA ROADWAY SHALL NOT BE DECLARED SURPLUS PROPERTY AND SHALL NOT BE SOLD, HYPOTHECATED, CONVEYED OR LEASED, EXCEPT FOR A LEASE OF LESS THAN 20 YEARS, WITHOUT THE AFFIRMATIVE VOTE OF A MAJORITY OF THE ELECTORS OF THE CITY OF LAKE WORTH AT A PROPERTY NOTICED AND SCHEDULED REFERENDUM..."


9. The referendum passed with overwhelming support by the voters of Lake Worth

(2162 in favor of the referendum and 397 against) and the City of Lake Worth Charter was amended to reflect the above provisions, more commonly referred to as the "Beach Protection Amendment." (Exhibit "B").

10. Thereafter, the City of Lake Worth issued a Request for Proposal ("RFP") for the redevelopment of the Beach Property, a 18.2 acre parcel of oceanfront land, located east of A1A. The parcel's location subjected it to the provisions of the Beach Protection Amendment.

11. On October 23, 2006 the City Commission voted, by a margin of 3 to 2, to approve a Development Agreement (Exhibit "C"), a Construction Agreement and a Ground Lease (Exhibit "D") with Greater Bay. The Agreements were executed by the parties on or about November 21, 2006 for the redevelopment of the Beach Property.

12. Although the location of the Beach Property subjected it to voter approval pursuant to the Beach Protection Amendment, the City of Lake Worth drafted the Ground Lease for a lease term of 19 years, 11 months and 29 days - one day short of mandatory voter approval of any lease pursuant to the Beach Protection Amendment.

13. Pursuant to the Development Agreement, a "Permitting and Construction Phase" was to begin on the effective date of the Development Agreement (November 21, 2006) and to end on the "Commencement Date" of the Lease. Pursuant to the Lease, the "Commencement Date" of the Lease "shall mean the date that a permanent, final and unconditional certificate of occupancy has been issued by the Landlord in connection with the completion of the Project in accordance with the terms and conditions of that certain Construction Contract which is defined and described in the Development Agreement, as may from time to time be amended..."

14. The terms of the Lease allow Greater Bay to sublease the Beach Property for no more than a period of 19 years, 11 months and 28 days "including Subtenants rights under any option to renew granted Subtenants." Further, the Lease provides that "Landlord specifically grants to the Tenant the right to enter into a lease with a Subtenant which exceeds the Expiration Date of this Lease, provided such leases (including renewal terms) do not exceed 19 years, 11 months and 28 days."

15. The Construction Phase coupled with the Lease term and the potential for subleases beyond the expiration of the Lease constitute a lease term of more than 20 years.

16. At no time did the City of Lake Worth submit the Lease to voter approval pursuant to the terms of the Beach Protection Amendment.

COUNT I

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT

17. Plaintiffs reallege and reassert Paragraphs 1 through 16 above as if fully set forth herein.

18. Plaintiffs have a bona fide, actual, present and practical need for a declaration from this Court of the City's obligations.

19. By its actions, the City has demonstrated that it has an actual, present, adverse and antagonistic interest to that of Plaintiffs, in fact and/or law which is properly before this Court.

20. The relief sought by Plaintiffs is not an answer to a question propounded by curiosity but, rather, has a direct and immediate bearing on the rights and obligations of the City.

21. The City of Lake Worth has acted purposefully in an effort to avoid the provisions of its own Charter by failing to submit the Lease of the Beach Property to the City of Lake Worth voters. The attempt to circumvent the voting process by shaving a day off of the Lease term does not change the practical effect of the Lease.

22. The practical effect of viewing the Construction Phase combined with the Lease term and the potential for subleases to extend beyond the expiration of the Lease is a lease term of more than 20 years and thus subject to the Beach Protection Amendment.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, McCauley and McNamara, respectfully request a declaration that:


(a) The Greater Bay Ground Lease is void ab initio;

(b) The Construction Agreement with Greater Bay is void ab initio;

(c) The Development Agreement with Greater Bay is void ab initio;

(d) Any site plan approvals, land use changes, comprehensive plan amendment changes or any other approval related to the Greater Bay redevelopment project are null and void;

(e) A declaration that by entering into the Ground Lease, the City failed to adhere to the requirements set forth in Ordinance No. 2003-07 of the City of Lake Worth;

(f) A declaration that the requirements set forth in Ordinance No. 2003-07 of the City of Lake Worth must be adhered to before the City can enter into the Ground Lease as it currently exists. Specifically, the City must obtain an affirmative vote of a majority of the electors of the City of Lake Worth at a properly noticed and scheduled referendum; and (g) providing such other and further relief and supplementary relief as this Court deems just and proper.

COUNT II

TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION

23. Plaintiffs reallege and reassert Paragraphs 1 through 16 above as if fully set forth herein.

24. A suit for injunctive relief in circuit court is the traditional procedure by which to test the validity of and secure relief against the immediate or prospective adverse effect of a municipality's failure to abide by the provisions of a referendum.

25. Application of the law to the uncontestable facts set forth in paragraphs 1 through 20 above, establishes that Plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits on their claim that the Lease, Construction Agreement and Development Agreement are invalid and void ab initio as the result of the City of Lake Worth's failure to comply with the provisions of the City Charter..

26. The City of Lake Worth has entered into the Lease and Development Agreement and has continued the process of obtaining and issuing permits and authorizations paving the way for the Beach Property redevelopment project.

27. All the agreements, zoning and land use changes resulting from the Lease are premised on the improper deprivation of the voters' right to approve or deny of the conveyance of this publicly owned parcel in violation of the City Charter.

28. There is no measure of damages by which to measure the harm caused by allowing the City of Lake Worth to rely upon zoning and land use measures passed in violation of Plaintiffs' constitutional due process rights, and the violation of Plaintiffs' due process rights is not an injury that can be cured by an award of monetary damages. Therefore, Plaintiffs have no adequate remedy at law and will suffer irreparable injury if a temporary and permanent injunction is not issued.

29. The threatened harm to Plaintiffs outweighs any possible harm to the City. The City cannot arguably claim that it would suffer any harm submitting the question to the voters as required by its own Charter, and the City has no legitimate interest in enforcing a Lease that did not obtain the requisite voter approval.

30. Similarly, the public interest cannot possibly be disserved by prohibiting the City of Lake Worth from moving forward with a Lease that violates the City Charter and which was adopted in a clear and concerted effort to evade voter input as required by the Charter. The public has no interest in enforcing an illegally obtained agreement.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court enter an Order:

(a) temporarily enjoining the City from enjoining the City enforcing the Ground Lease or otherwise performing any act required of it under the Ground Lease until either this Court has entered a final judgment in this matter, or the Ground Lease has been submitted to the voters;

(b) permanently enjoining the City from enforcing or otherwise performing any act required of it pursuant to the Ground Lease and further ordering the City to schedule the question of the Ground Lease for a public referendum in accordance with the City Charter; and
(c) further granting any additional relief that the Court deems just and proper.
Respectfully submitted on this 14th day of June, 2007.


JANE WEST, ESQUIRE Florida Bar No. 0159417
COLLINS & WEST, P.A.
10152 W. Indiantown Road
Suite 157
Jupiter, Florida 33478
Telephone: (561)748-8578
Facsimile: (561)745-7986
Counsel for Petitioners/Plaintiffs
and
ERIN DEADY, ESQUIRE
Florida Bar No. 0367310
LEWIS, LONGMAN & WALKER, P.A. 1700 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard
Suite 1000
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
Telephone: (561) 640-0820
Facsimile: (561) 640-8202
Counsel for Petitioners/Plaintiffs



Copyright © by Lake Worth Media All Rights Reserved.

Published on: 2007-06-18 (1226 reads)

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