Palmer to PB: Show me the Money!

by SDM

It appears – merely appears – that the Palmer litigation is on the road to a final, out-of-court settlement. We here at SDM feel like we are burying a relative after a long, protracted illness. We’re glad it’s over but we’re going to miss the old bird.

After reading Palmer’s settlement letter (find it here), SDM understands why CCOCI and Gary Pastorella called it a “take-it-or-leave-it” deal. It’s pretty clear that Palmer is in a strong position legally, or at least their attorneys believe this to be the case. Their offer wipes out dozens of ridiculous conditions imposed by the council in 2010. (See SDM’s post PB: My Kingdom for a Grammarian for a discussion of these absurdities.) The result is the kind of resolution that the village would customarily grant were the transaction friendly from the beginning.

Your faithful scribes do not know whether the village sent a message to Palmer saying that they agree to the deal. Probably, the only thing the council could agree to do would be to bring the matter to a final public hearing. September 9 would be the logical date for such a public hearing, but we can’t find any mention of the matter on the agenda. Perhaps a special meeting is being scheduled.

SDM figures dropping the onerous and unworkable conditions saves Palmer hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add in the $200,000 in cash and $600,000 in waived fees and the deal must be worth close to $2 million. Not a bad payday, though it hardly makes up for six long years of torture and bad blood.

Should the village council fail to agree to the resolution – or to try to amend it – taxpayers will be on the hook for a roll of the dice. Most lawyers prefer to agree to a deal rather than let a judge make the call. Judges can be unpredictable in cases where one side or the other appears to have been unreasonable. SDM is eager to hear the village attorney’s opinion of a low and high figure a court might grant if the settlement fizzles out.

Here’s one thing we feel confident in saying: The settlement letter is dated August 21 and the CCOCI email opposing it dropped last weekend. That email was uncannily accurate with respect to what Palmer was demanding in return for a cessation of hostilities. It’s not hard to conclude that someone leaked Palmer’s letter to them before the shade session was held. Remind us again why the attorney client meetings should be secret, Mme. Mayor?

The other point to note is that the settlement only deals with Palmer and the village. What happens with the other defendants? Councilwoman Joan Lindsay and another resident were named as defendants in the 2008 suit. Is Mrs. Lindsay still a litigant? If so, how can she vote on the new resolution? Seems like she has a pretty obvious conflict if she is still in court with Palmer.

Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwoman Lindsay – if she votes – are surely going to vote against the settlement resolution. So it will be up to village voters next fall to evaluate them. We plan on reminding the Village People early and often about their failure to protect us from an $800,000 loss this year added to years of village legal expenses of at least $600,000. That’s without mentioning the hostile political climate they and their minions continue to foment around town.

SDM Says: Palmetto Bay deserves leaders who don’t piss away $1.5 million and then tell us they want to drain the reserve by $6 million. Something’s very wrong with this picture and we need a change.

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