PB: Attorney Client Nonsense
SDM had a great time enjoying a holiday weekend until our dear Mayor dropped an email on us. The email made no sense, really. Following is the text of the message:
Tomorrow evening, 9/3/13 at 7 PM there will be a Special Council Meeting to announce an Attorney/Client Session to immediately follow adjournment. (see here for more info).
As you may already know, the Attorney/Client Sessions (or Shade Sessions) are held for the sole purpose of discussing litigation strategies and settlement. The settlement of the Palmer Trinity Matter is the topic of this A/C meeting and is also included in the Council Meeting Agenda for next Monday, 9/9/13.
If you have any interest or concerns regarding the settlement of this matter please attend. The meeting will be very brief depending on the number of attendees.
Please call me if you have concerns or questions regarding this meeting.
(Emphasis added by SDM.)
Now, how do you read this message? Is the Mayor inviting the public to the attorney client session? Or, is she inviting people to come to the public pre-meeting to speak on settlement? SDM Wondered why the Village People would be invited to a meeting to discuss a settlement that is not public yet. Hmmm….
Then, a FOSDM forwarded this little gem from Gary Pastorella on behalf of CCOCI:
Palmer Trinity filed lawsuits against Palmetto Bay in 2008 and 2010 which have been amended 5 times. The school has also included CCOCI (Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc.) and several residents as defendants. In an effort to end these lawsuits, settlement talks have been ongoing among the parties.
In 2012, the PB Village Council approved the Palmer Trinity expansion for 1150 students and all of the buildings and athletic venues requested by the school. Conditions to mitigate the negative impacts of traffic, noise, lights, etc. were recommended by Village staff and approved by the Village Council and included in the expansion agreement.
It is important these conditions remain in place in any settlement agreement. To do otherwise would degrade the quality of life for many village residents and set a dangerous precedent for future similar developments.
The Council will undoubtedly vote whether or not to settle the lawsuit against the Village and individual residents tomorrow, September 3. Settling all of the lawsuits globally with the same degree of fairness to the residents, the Village, and Palmer Trinity is in the best interest of all parties. The settlement should not be at the cost of the residents’ quality of life just to settle for political reasons.
The final settlement agreement could possibly change or eliminate the conditions regarding:
1) Traffic management
2) Lights and hours of operation
3) Buffer separating the school property from adjacent homes
4) Noise and loudspeakers
5) Other Conditions
The negative impact of modifying or eliminating the existing conditions could have far reaching impacts on the community.
Please email your Council members and speak at the Council meeting tomorrow night at 7:00 PM to let them know you support a global, fair settlement that protects the quality of life for village residents now and in the years to come.
(Emphasis added by SDM.)
- CCOCI has been given a very detailed briefing on the contents of the settlement agreement and they don’t like it one bit. It appears that the village has adopted a strategic posture: they will give on some non-economic issues like those enumerated above in exchange for fewer dollars out-of-pocket.
- Mr. Pastorella, the other “residents” who have been sued personally (presumably including Councilwoman Joan Lindsay and her husband the finger-man), and CCOCI as a corporate entity, have all been sued. (Mr. Pastorella bleats about his lawsuit at almost every council meeting, now.) Apparently, these self-anointed “protectors of the community” want their personal suits dropped as part of a “global settlement” with Palmer. How very selfless of you…
SDM Says: The village attorney needs to make clear publicly to this council that running around describing the contents of the settlement agreement before the attorney client session may have jeopardized the village’s attorney-client privilege. There is ample case law showing that when a party discloses confidential for self-serving reasons, the privilege may be waived.
Furthermore, it’s monstrously hypocritical that Mayor Stanczyk is ginning up opposition to a settlement that she herself has insisted be withheld from the public. Either the entire public gets access to the settlement negotiations or you must limit the information to the council and staff. You can’t have it both ways Mme. Mayor without risking further corruption of the process. (Yes, we said it. You don’t need money to exchange hands for corruption to exist.)
SDM Also Says: With respect to the settlement itself, keep CCOCI and the individuals out of it. They made their beds and need to lay in them. And, if dropping a bunch of non-economic conditions saves this village some tax money, then strike a reasonable balance and take the deal. Palmer and the Village People need to put this travesty behind us so we can focus on expunging the village council of the last vestiges of the former regime.