Beach Lawsuit Changes Tactics

Cathy Salustri

ST. PETE BEACH – Jim Anderson, a resident suing the city of St. Pete Beach, recently changed tactics in his ongoing legal battle with the city. His case alleged the following:

 • The commission violated the Sunshine Law by talking outside of shade meetings and also by hiring a lobbyist without a public meeting
 •The re-adopted Comprehensive Plan has no validity because the city violated the Sunshine Law when it decided (in a shade meeting) to put on the ballot a repeal of the requirement that the voters approve comprehensive plans.
 •The re-adopted comprehensive plan also lacks validity because the city relied on invalid special legislation (that it lobbied for) when it re-adopted the plan.

On October 31, the two sides met in court, at which time a judge asked each side to answer three questions.

Instead of answering the questions, on the day the court was to re-hear the case, Mr. Anderson’s attorney withdrew the motion for a re-hearing and opted instead to file for an appeal..   

In the month leading up to the case, St. Pete Beach spent $57,000 “to prepare and defend two actions filed by Mr. Weiss,” according to City Manager Mike Bonfield.

“This is typical,” City Manager Bonfield said, “of the practices used by Mr. Weiss and his clients in recent years that has now cost the taxpayers well over $1 million.”