As most residents are aware, the Village of Palmetto Bay is embroiled in a protracted legal dispute over zoning issues with Palmer Trinity School, located at 7900 SW 176th Street.
While the legal wrangling continues, the battle lines between those concerned about quality of life issues and supporters of the school’s expansion goals have been blurred by the prospect of escalating financial costs on both sides to continue the legal fight.
J.B. Harris, a Palmetto Bay resident and parent of a student at Palmer Trinity, feels recent court orders favor the school’s zoning variance request. Mr. Harris expresses concerns about the potential cost to property owners should the courts find the village liable for punitive damages.
Mr. Harris submitted the following blog, presented unedited, for our reader’s review and comments:
By JB Harris –
“REPORTING on the litigation front between the village council and Palmer Trinity School, recently three appellate judges granted the school’s motion to enforce the mandate of a lower court’s decision rendered in favor of the school. Among other things, the mandate allows the school to build out its south campus, which includes the clearing of trees and the construction of a chapel and other buildings.
For its part, the council has done nothing to comply with the order, although a public hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 21 at Christ Fellowship Church.
It will be interesting to see how those on the council, who care more about peacocks than pensioners, will advertise it or whether they will comply with the mandate at all.
With the recent appellate opinion, that now makes NINE judges who have told the council they are WRONG.
Last week Palmer Trinity also filed a motion to amend its complaint to add a claim for violation of its federal civil rights.
If the village is found to have violated the school’s civil rights, the school would be entitled to all its attorney’s fees.
On May 18th, the trial judge presiding over the state case heard the school’s motion to amend its complaint and Joan Lindsay’s motion for protective order, which was filed to delay the taking of her deposition.
In the end, the court granted both motions.
The school’s revised complaint now has a claim for punitive damages against the village, which if high enough could ultimately bankrupt the village.
In any event, once removed, I predict the federal court will return the case to state court.
As a result, the state court judge will cancel other pending motions set for May 26th, since removal to federal court divests the judge of jurisdiction.
On another front, Lindsay’s deposition was also set for May 18th, but Lindsay’s attorney filed a motion for protective order, as referenced above, claiming that since the village was removing the case to federal court, Lindsay should not have to sit for her deposition, at least for the time being.
Although removing the case to federal court should make no difference whether Lindsay is deposed now or later, the big mystery is why her husband Jerry Templer (alias Frank Burns), bothered to emerge from the bushes around Palmer Trinity while on a clandestine surveillance mission, to file yet another self-serving affidavit, trying to explain away the illegal destruction of Joan’s personal computer with e-mail evidence of her cloak-and-dagger dealings with her buddy Shelley Stanczyk, no doubt showing the two of them scheming up ways to use the fist of government to destroy an innocent school and to deprive innocent kids of a quality education.
Further, according to my sources, the school has or will be demanding that the village tender its insurance policy limits to cover the damages the council has caused the school with this frivolous, vexatious, expensive litigation.
Of course the council will refuse, although it should tender the policy limits, because to do otherwise exposes all residents to additional financial exposure in the form of special assessments to cover the cost of litigation, including judgments and attorney’s fees.
Residents should also be aware that not all of Palmer’s claims are covered by the village’s insurance policy, which will make the outcome for residents even more expensive.
Just what the residents of Palmetto Bay need during this time of economic crisis.
It all seems so desperate and unbelievable to think how much of your money the council is wasting month after month to lose. Indeed, so outrageous is this profligate waste of money that every resident should demand an accounting of the millions frittered away by small-minded bureaucrats in the pursuit of selfish interests.
Given the fundamental truth that all political leaders, whether they govern small villages or large, possess a moral responsibility to set the tone for civility among their citizens and neighbors, it’s pathetic, as one outside observer recently noted, that “The Village of Parks has now become the Village of Hate.”
This is the legacy Stanczyk, Lindsay and Pariser plan to leave behind.
For those who voted for them, are you’re happy now? You voted against your own self-interest.
For the rest of us, recall anyone?
WHAT do you think? Do you agree with Mr. Harris’ points and emotion? Should all residents publicly request an accounting of the Palmetto Bay budget? What can we do as a community to avoid similar disputes in the future? We welcome your opinions and, as always, we encourage residents to submit guest blogs and story ideas about any village issues important to you and your family.