This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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Lawsuits to the right of them; Lawsuits to the left of them; Lawsuits surround them…Into the the valley of Lawsuits rode our elected leaders!!!
Crocker Partners has had two lawsuits filed against the City thus far with regards to Midtown. One is to argue for the re-zoning. The other is for the damages caused by the losses incurred by the company due to the City delaying the rezoning. These two lawsuits are pending and the outcome of each is still uncertain. If Crockers wins both the area gets re-zoned to allow residential units to be built and Crocker gets compensated some amount of money up to the maximum claimed :$130M.
Now a Third Law Suit From Crocker Against The City?
Yes, a third law suit was filed by Crocker. This filing is extremely interesting because it sheds light on the mystery of why the City did a 180 on residential in midtown, going from discussions where residential had to be included to discussions where it couldn’t be included.
Attached here, in its entirety, is the latest lawsuit filed against the City of Boca Raton. Filed on March 28, 2019, this latest lawsuit alleges, perhaps, the most serious allegations against the city and its officials to date.
This complaint reveals some heavy stuff:
Factual allegations of Sunshine Law violations; allegations alleging a conspiracy to defraud the public; allegations that, if true, may require third party outside agencies to intervene in order to, once and for all, determine what is going on in the government of this city, our city, Boca Raton.
For years now there have been complaints alleging that many “public decisions” are in fact actually made on the third floor of City Hall outside the purview of the general public. This would lead to the notion that, for years, major City Council activities have been a sort of “resident friendly” Kabuki theater, whose role becomes meeting the legal requirements for public consumption, the Sunshine thrown to the plebs. This complaint argues that our elected Council, and we in turn, are exploited through smoke and mirrors administration, with just enough spectacle to create the public record in case of subsequent legal challenges.
It’s hard to fathom that Council Members would knowingly conspire to mislead the observing public. I’m trying to convince myself this isn’t the case.
This latest complaint makes a strong case that the Council would have to have been co-oped into such action; co-oped to where some, if not all, Council Members became either willing or unwitting participants to the alleged Sunshine violations. What’s notable is that for the relevant time periods alleged, the City Council had elected members who are /were attorneys participating in the alleged activities.
One has to wonder where and by whom this alleged “scheme” was conceived and by whom the process was conducted?
You, the reader, are urged to read the compliant in its entirety. Within it the City Attorney and City Administration are alleged to have participated deeply in formulating the alleged Sunshine Law violations:
- For those of you that have been following this Midtown ‘small area plan’ fiction, these factual assertions will ring very true; assertions establishing that a residential component was and is an essential part of a Planned Mobility District.
- Assertions that City Staff did, prior to the ‘small area plan’ fiction, agree that some amount of residential was a necessary part of Midtown’s Land Development Regulations (LDRs).
- Assertions supported by the dismissal of the City’s outside expert whose opinion was not consistent with the desired predetermined outcome of ‘NO’ residential for Midtown. To continue with the ‘NO’ residential narrative this expert became expendable; this expert was dismissed mid-engagement, never to be heard from again.
- Further assertions allege that at least some members of the City Council willfully participated in this breach of the public trust or, in the alternative, willfully employed a blind eye to the alleged manipulation of public record in an attempt to arrive at the predetermined outcome of ‘NO’ residential for Midtown supporting the ‘small area plan’ direction.
Enough said! The Council members can’t do anything in a vacuum. Who else participated is for the reader to ascertain. The Palm Beach Post connects the dots, sums it up briefly, in their own way. To be critically informed all interested persons should read the complaint from beginning to end and formulate an independent opinion based upon the allegations made within.
Remember, however, that at this point, the entire complaint is nothing more than a series of allegations. What is alleged may not ever be proven in a court of law. That is yet to be seen. What will be extremely exciting will be the discovery process; the depositions and interrogatories that pre-trial motion practice will allow…
I, for one, will eagerly look forward to reading these…and, of course, will eagerly provide you with the same opportunity.
Also remember, these allegations are being made by an interested party, Crocker Partners, and presented by Attorneys for that interested party.
One point of legal relevance is that the Attorneys for the interested party are also Officers of the Court and thereby have an obligation to the Court to present allegations with a good faith belief the there will be facts and inferences to support the allegations.
One last item…
If the allegations contained within this complaint prove to be true, outside third party agencies will have to take a closer look. The same outside agencies that uncovered the ethic violations and the alleged public corruption violations of former Mayor Susan Haynie. The State of Florida Commission on Ethics; the State Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit and the Florida Bar, all agencies with subpoena power, will have an interest in what may have gone on in the government of our city, the government of Boca Raton.
Rest assured, if these facts are even slightly true, those agencies will be involved.
The public will demand it; the law will require it….
Publisher of BocaWatch
Having been at every meeting and having followed this matter keenly for years I can say that the city was much too trusting and naively so, of its “development partner”. I believed from the beginning that the City was under political pressure to approve Midtown and was fully aware of the many infrastructure, traffic, school, safety which needed to be addressed and which would have been addressed in a traditional zoning process. BUT and I capitalize the word but intentionally because the rezoning was done by ordinance first which skipped the traditional analysis inherent in rezoning petitions. In a traditional rezoning petition the impact of the development is front and center the focus of the petition.
Traffic, schools, infrastructure are primary issues.The traditional zoning analysis did not take place as it should have and as it would have but for the rezoning of the district by labeling it a Planned Mobility District. Instead the area was given the rezoning designation of Planned Mobility without the certainty and clarity of defining how many housing units, where, and what conditions needed to be in place and what infrastructure needed to be in place.
Out of a sense of frustration and uncertainty I said at the time that the rezoning without careful area analysis and careful enactment of new development regulations would be akin to the Romans in days of old responding to the cry “the barbarians are at the gate, general what do we do?” the proper response was not to say “we can trust them, invite them in” The zoning code was our wall of protection, a new one needed to be built BEFORE and this legal chaos was the result of too much trust and too little planning..The old zoning code was there for a reason. Our codes are like the wall, ,but the protection of the wall was taken down by a city council without proper consideration of the consequences.
The former mayoral administration naively believed the developer would wait until after the elections and then be a willing and compliant partner..Like a courtship that soured, this was not a match made in heaven .Each side has its motive. Politicians want to get elected, Developers want to make money.That much is clear. Now Boca Watch seems to be taking sides, the side they once opposed. Boca deserved better than it got with the PM Code revisions.
Boca also needs a citizens’ forum Boca Watch has switched sides..
They now stand firmly with the side that wanted the gates to be opened.
Hey – Good Morning Steve!
I am going to take the liberty of breaking your comment into paragraphs so it’s more readable. I’m not going to change any of your words.