Saturday, August 17, 2013

No, we don't want to be another Delray, but...

This appeared on "Delray Raw", a page on Facebook. Not sure about all the "accolades" Delray has received recently, but apparently there is reason to celebrate. It seems that at least a few people are happy there.

Neighbors in path of All Aboard Florida horn blasts press for... |

We have nine crossing across the FEC (eastern) tracks in Lake Worth. Quiet zones would be in addition to money cities already have to spend to upgrade the crossings, if the city wants a quiet zone. Here's a bit from the article:
The passenger train will be a tenth the length of a freight train and much lighter, but the horn blasts have to be just as long, just as loud. Wayside horns, which are mounted at the roadway and concentrate the noise toward traffic, are recommended for the project to lessen the effect on surrounding neighborhoods, but some kind of horn blast will sound unless cities get quiet zones in place by the beginning of 2016.
This is the "fast" train that will run first - taking passengers from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach to Orlando - with no local stops. That service is coming, but will follow establishment of this sort of service.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Church of England: fracking opponents are ignoring the poor - Telegraph

Another view of fracking, discuss. Click title for link.

Part III of the August 28, 2012 Closed-Door meeting


August 28, 2012

5:00 p.m. - 6:47 p.m.

7 North Dixie Highway
Lake Work, Florida


Pam Triolo, Mayor
Scott Maxwell, Vice Mayor
Michael Bornstein, City Manager
Suzanne Mulvehill, Commissioner
Chris McVoy, Commissioner
Andy Amoroso, Commissioner
Glen Torcivia, Esq., Interim City Attorney
Brian Joslyn, Outside Counsel


MR. JOSLYN:  The one problem I will tell you we had with this is that, you know, tremendous amount of turnover in the City.  I think since the project started, you are the fifth City Manager.
MR. BORNSTEIN:  Hopefully the last.
MR. JOSLYN:  From your lips to God's ears.
MR. BORNSTEIN:  -- get this thing finished.
MR. JOSLYN:  And all in the other departments. Mr. Krohl has been very helpful, is going to testify at trial.  Mr. Karnes, very helpful, is going to testify at trial, and Corio Gorman (phonetic), who is the City's sort of separate construction manager to handle the project is going to also testify at trial.
     So by April -- at the end of April of 2008, the pool work had been done.  The final zoning approval still had not been obtained because of the challenges to the comp plan at the DCA levels and these two lawsuits.  The suit by Mr. McNamara over the lease, and the suit by the City over the referendum. The City was holding off on doing much with the referendum case because we had attended -- I handled the oral argument at the Fourth, and we were waiting a decision from the Fourth on that, which would clearly determine how we were going to have to handle that referendum case.
     We got the decision later in the year, but by then things with Greater Bay had deteriorated significantly.
     After the pool work was done, the City and Mr. Gorman and Greater Bay were discussing next steps.  You had an upcoming deadline on the $5 million park bond of -- late in the year of August 2000 -- later in the year of 2009.  So what was going to have to be accomplished was site plan be approved, and so that we had design drawings for the work that was going to be funded by that $5 million grant.
     Greater Bay was requested, and I don't have the specific date in mind, but by June or July of 2008, the City counsel voted to request a site plan be submitted by Greater Bay by October 17th of 2008.
     The October date was picked because that got it into the mill of review, so that it would be reviewed and eventually approved early in the year so that all the design drawings could be done so that we could get the park bond money funded.
     Greater Bay never objected to providing the site plan.  There is no time limit in the development agreement about when they are supposed to produce a site plan.  What they produced was not what the City believed ought to have been produced.
     They produced essentially a landscape plan, and it was produced the day -- late in the day, after the close of business on October 17th. At that point, the City was going to reject the plan.
     Mr. Willard, one of the principals of Greater Bay and the fellow who came down from his home in Rochester, New York to the City when required, had a series of meetings with the then City Manager where the City Manager pretty much reamed him out over the pool punch list that was still undone.
     I mean, for example, they charged about -- I can't remember the exact cost.  It was over a thousand dollars each for benches, and all they are is the concrete benches with 2 by 4's on them, and they hadn't even painted them.
     Their argument was, Well, this is pressure treated lumber.  You can't paint pressure treated lumber for six months or something like that. It's just ridiculous stuff we were encountering.
     In October, before the site plan was turned over, it turns out the principals of Greater Bay -- we have a memo for essentially what's an agenda I guess of a meeting or a phone call.
     The two principals have not been deposed yet.  That is going to be done in late October. There were a number of things on there that are of interest.  One was the pool project was about a $400,000 all in item.  There wasn't supposed to be any profit in this number, and one of the first questions on this sheet is where is the $100,000 profit on the pool.
     Another item is, How do we set up for litigation with the City, question mark, title issues, and that was it.  And there were some title issues on the property because of the original bearers for grants, but they had been resolved by that point.
     It just -- we didn't get title commitments or anything, because they weren't in any position to get their financing.  But my partner, Bob Crane (phonetic) had handled the title issues and then sent out a memo to them at the end of 2007 saying, I've got Chicago Title.  They are going to write title insurance for you, and there was never another complaint from these guys, never another comment from these guys about title until that memo.
     After that memo was written and presumably they had their meeting or phone call, we got a letter from their lawyer in mid November of 2008, alleging that the City had breached the agreement by hiring Stratacon to do the structural exam of the building.
     The way that came up was -- and I know this is terribly confusing to you, and to explain in a short period of time, but the building department had decided in the spring of '08 that the building needed to be condemned.  There was -- we had two structural reports at that point that said the building was structurally unsound.  Until these guys actually started doing work at the site, the City was owning and operating a building where you can have falling concrete falling into baby carriages and stuff.
     So the building department said, We are red tagging the building, and we are going to tear it down next year.  That started a big hue and cry in the City.  A lot of people believed that the building was historic.  It should be preserved.
     A number of people believed that the building didn't need to be tore down, and should be kept in operation until these guys actually
started work.  There was a reluctance to throw the tenants out, a number of whom had been there forever.
     So another structural analysis was done after the building department's decision in June -- May or June that said, Yes, indeed it's structurally defective. That report was turned over to these guys, Greater Bay.  One of the issues in this memo -- agenda memo was who's going to pay for the construction of the building.      

     Obviously if these guys were going to tear down the building as part of their construction, that would normally -- you'd think it would be on them, but it appears from that memo -- we are going to have to find out during deposition -- that they were hoping that they could put that on the City, okay?
     So you have a couple of factions in the City that were vehemently -- one faction vehemently opposed to this project, couple of commissioners at the time vehemently opposed, never passed up an opportunity to say, We have to get out of this contract, it's not going anywhere, blah, blah.
     The company Stratacon was doing work near the casino building out on the beach, and their forte is historic preservation. They made an approach, I believe it was to Commissioner Mulvehill first, at one of her campaign events before she was elected.  I think you then referred him to the -- I can't remember the exact sequence.
MS. MULVEHILL:  I can clarify.
MS. TRIOLO:  Commissioner Mulvehill?
MS. MULVEHILL:  My recollection is that they read it in the paper that John G's was going to be torn down and closed, and they came to John G's, they came to the restaurant.
MR. JOSLYN:  Right.
MS. MULVEHILL:  And whether --
MR. JOSLYN:  I think you were having a function there that day.MS. MULVEHILL:  I might have been.  I don't remember exactly, but that's how they found out about it.
MR. JOSLYN:  So they came to the City and proposed that they do a structural analysis to see whether the building really needed to be torn down.  Clearly they were trolling for work, because --
MS. TRIOLO:  Who is this?
MR. JOSLYN:  Stratacon Construction. But they said they'd do the structural analysis, and they'd come up with some proposals, and it wouldn't cost the City anything.  That was the breach that Greater Bay alleged was committed by the City.
     And if you recall, I said as long as -- the contract said as long as you're not in default or in breach of the agreement, if the zoning approval date isn't achieved byJune 30th, you could terminate. So by alleging that the City was in breach of the agreement, they were trying to forestall the City's ability to terminate the contract, because after a discussion that Mr. Willard had with the City Manager late in the year where he got reamed out, it was pretty clear that the City was aggravated and that they might lose the job.
     We believe, our legal opinion is that they stepped over the line when they wrote the letter alleging breach, because they went way more than that.  They essentially terminated the contract, because they said the only -- we're willing to proceed, but only under a fundamentally altered economic arrangement where the City would indemnify them against all of their expenses until the bond money started coming in.
     We never saw an addendum, this addendum they were proposing that they were willing to operate on was never drafted, never brought to the City, never signed. After we got the letter, Mr. Karnes called me, asked me if I was available for an attorney/client session.  That attorney/client session was held, I believe,December 3rd.
     Mr Willard had been before the City Commission the day before on December 2nd.  The City Commission was unimpressed. The attorney/client session that was held on the 3rd was designed to discuss getting rid of the McNamara and We Love Lake Worth lawsuit by terminating Greater Bay, so you would solve all your problems at one time.
Mr. McVOY:  This is 2008?
MR. JOSLYN:  2008, December 3rd. The Commission voted the next day.
MS. TRIOLO:  Who advised that, December 2008, to get rid of the McNamara suit and the --
MR. JOSLYN:  Mr. Karnes and I.
MS. TRIOLO:  Okay.
MR. JOSLYN:  I was in attendance at the meeting.  Our firm assisted in the negotiation of the development agreement.  We did the zoning research for the changes in comp plan, changes in zoning, although that was handled really internally by the City, and from time to time I would get calls from Mr. Karnes while all this was going on.
     There were a number of points at which the City reached a point with Greater Bay that they were on the verge of terminating.  One was during negotiations.  They were selected in April of 2006.  It took until November to negotiate this agreement with these guys, because they were utterly unforthcoming with necessary information.
     All of this -- I have gone through 40 some thousand e-mails and documents.  I mean, we got -- all of the stuff that I'm telling you is in paper. Corio Gorman recommended to the City Manager at the time in 2006, around September, that we terminate negotiations, because these guys were just not responding.  There was a City Commission meeting held.  Mr. Renaldi, who owns the bed and breakfast here where Willard would stay when he was in town was a big supporter, he sent out an e-mail blast.  There were a lot of supporters at the meeting.
     The City Commission voted to continue the negotiations, and they were finally resolved by the agreement in November, but that was the first point. The second point where a recommendation was made to terminate the agreement was when Greater Bay took over a month to respond to the City after the City had approved a form of this addendum to do the pool work.
     The City approved the addendum in December.  We got no response from these guys at all through early January.
     Mr. Karnes did a memo -- I don't know what you call them -- to the City Commissioner, to the City Manager, recommending that the City do the pool work itself, because these guys were dragging their feet, and we were going to lose the FRDAP Grant money. We got a letter from Greater Bay's attorney in response to that that said, You could hire consultants if you want, you just can't do any work on the job, which sort of undercuts their argument about hiring Stratacon.
     So as to the breach they've alleged, first off, we think they stepped over the line and actually didn't declare breach, they terminated the agreement in November, which now relieves us of any obligation.  We're getting that teed up for a summary judgment notice that we are going to try to get heard in the next couple of months.
     The second thing is that they performed so poorly at all stages of this that -- we believe that they, you know, missed the mark and breached the agreements themselves, and we clearly did not have final zoning approval by the time that termination occurred by the City . So they wrote their breach letter.  The City said, Fine, you're done, and then they sued a year later.
     We've deposed their architect, their engineer, their second land planner, pool contractor.  Did I say traffic engineer?  Every one of those people were stiffed, none of them got paid.  So much for Greater Bay's obligation to pay for their own -- hire and pay for their own experts.
     So our argument at trial is going to be, Hey, we weren't in breach.  Stratacon is not a breach.  Your lawyer said we could hire consultants in his earlier letter.  We provided you a structural analysis separate and apart from Stratacon in May or June of 2008.  You didn't give us a peep about that, and Stratacon did nothing. I mean they did a structural analysis, but it had no effect at all on the work you guys were supposed to be doing or hoped to do.
     So you did a crappy job on the pool, your site plan didn't meet what we considered to be standards, and we had that underlying zoning approval date.  We think we win the case. They are suing for $30 million, which is the profit that their original financing said that they would achieve, and that number is very defective for a number of reasons.
     One, half of this building was going to be a ballroom to rent out for event space.  In their projections, they show that space being rented as if it's regular tenant space at 55 bucks a square foot.  Their projections are that every square foot of space in the new building, the 50,000 square feet, would be rented at 55-dollar a square foot, plainly ridiculous rents.  Their analysis ignores costs associated with the construction, like the debt involved in the parking structure, etc.  So their projections are very suspect.
     We have Hank Fishkind, a very prominent Florida economist.  Dr. Hank Fishkind is our financial analyst.  Our title expert, if they are going to address title issues, is an attorney from West Palm Beach name Al Lasorte, who has practiced for 30 some years in the field of title litigation.  He has -- when deposed, if deposed, has opined that there are no title defects.
     So we believe the things they are alleging are nonsense or wrong, and we believe we are in a pretty clear position based on the letters we received from their lawyer. We had a mediation, gosh, a year and a half ago.  We were originally teed up to go to trial last fall, and for a variety of reasons, that didn't occur.
     We now -- we have a new judge, Meenu Sasser, on the case.  She was a commercial litigator for 20 some years at Gunster, and is a very good trial judge.  So we are set for trial December 17th, specially set to start and finish that week.
     We have -- I also have Carry Killbay (phonetic) at Killbay & Associates, a very prominent land planner to opine, if necessary, on the comprehensive planning and zoning issues, plus Larry Corio Gorman, and so we are pretty ready to go.
     I have the 12 volumes, 12 big 3-inch volumes of -- 4-inch maybe -- of documents in order, chronological order that we put together from all of the e-mails and stuff. The attorney on the other side is a competent fellow from Lake Mary.
     We believe that he's hired on a contingency, and that he's looking to ring the gong.


The Breakers Bath House and Casino 1905

Two Palm Beach County men accused of making and selling fake... |

From page B5 of today's Palm Beach Post. Click title for link.

Would This Insanely Complex Diagram Help You Navigate a Subway System? - Henry Grabar - The Atlantic Cities

I consider myself fairly adept at reading maps. However, having to rely on these to navigate the Tokyo subway system might be a challenge. The good thing is that I found the north arrow. I also think it would if you knew Japanese it would improve your chances. Click title for link.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lloyds of London and their take on the Herbert Hoover Dike - if you read nothing else today, read this.

Click title for link. This is the first report they have EVER done. From the report:
Because we believe the potential for catastrophe in this region may not be fully accounted for by all insurers, in either the modelling or pricing of potentially affected policies, we have decided to make this the focus of the first Lloyd’s Emerging Risk team’s report.
 And these are two of the five points from the report:
 2 A report was commissioned by the South Florida Water Management District in 2006 to review the stability and safety of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee. Report concludes “The current condition of Herbert Hoover poses a grave and imminent danger… … [The dyke] needs to be fixed. We can only add that it needs to be fixed now, and it needs to be fixed right. We firmly believe that the region’s future depends on it.”
3 A separate report also concludes that the dyke is vulnerable to failure caused by water seepage and piping at high water levels, whether this high water level is produced by long-term changes in rainfall or by hurricane events. The findings from the research led to the re-evaluation of the design of the dyke improvements which the US Army Corps of Engineers had begun to implement. 

Beware! A Developer Watch Group is forming...

Fane Lozman - Local Activist 08/16 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Politics Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he again welcomes Fane Lozman to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. You might remember that Mr. Lozman was the man who successfully brought his case against the City of Riviera Beach to the Supreme Court - and won! The case revolved around the city's taking of Mr. Lozman's house(boat). In fact, Chief Justice Roberts later revealed that this was his favorite case that the Court has heard so far during his tenure. We will catch up with Fane as he continues to pursue justice and compensation from the city and all that is going on related to his case.

Click title for live show between 12 and 1 p.m. on 8/16 or for the archived version after the show airs. Thanks!

NET Cleanup September 7, 2013

Corps: Getting quality sand for beach projects to require... |

Interesting forecast on beach re-nourishment in south Florida over the next 50 years. Sand, at least of beach quality, is an exhaustible resource and its quality decreases over time. From the article, click title for link.
Beach renourishment will become increasingly more expensive as dredged sand will need to be moved farther and cleaned of rocks and shells. At a meeting next week, Palm Beach officials will consider a special tax assessment for coastal property owners to help pay for beach protection that is expected to cost the town $85 million over 10 years.
On Tuesday, the Palm Beach County Commission approved a Beach Management Agreement, which requires all local and state agencies to work in tandem on permitting. The agreement covers 15.7 miles of coastline that includes Palm Beach, South Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Manalapan and Lantana.

Lake Okeechobee dike sprouts leaks as water levels stay high |

Two condition 3 sites - water leakage without sediment - are getting special attention. The dike is a 143 miles long! According to the article, the lake is getting rid of water faster than it is taking it in - the first time in a long while. Click title for link.

5 of Manhattan’s Narrowest Buildings | Untapped Cities

Ranging between 9.5 to 12.5 feet wide, they all have interesting histories. So Lake Worth's 25 foot wide lots seem spacious in comparison. Click title for link.

Click here for more information on one that sold recently

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates

Acceptance speech, Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, November 21, 2008. And perhaps foreshadowing the fate of the casino building and the height issue. Annabeth, are you taking calls?

Top 10 City Skylines | LAN

Spoiler alert: Lake Worth didn't make the list. This is from a landscape architecture website. Click title for link.

Start of the next segment - a good summary of where things were if you have missed anything...


7 North Dixie Highway
Lake Work, Florida

August 28, 2012

5:00 p.m. - 6:47 p.m.


Pam Triolo, Mayor
Scott Maxwell, Vice Mayor
Michael Bornstein, City Manager
Suzanne Mulvehill, Commissioner
Chris McVoy, Commissioner
Andy Amoroso, Commissioner
Glen Torcivia, Esq., Interim City Attorney
Brian Joslyn, Outside Counsel


THE CLERK: We are in private session now.
MR. TORCIVIA: As I indicated, we have this litigation called Greater Bay Group versus the City. Our outside counsel has been Brian Joslyn, I think from the inception of the case, and Mr. Joslyn requested this session so we could provide you with an update, talk about the settlement options and litigation expenditures.
MR. JOSLYN: Thank you. I know a couple of the commissioners are very familiar with the case. I will give you a real brief sketch. You had a development agreement with a company called Greater Bay Group, LLC. It was a two person, two company limited liability company that was going to develop your casino, pool area, finance that subject to the development agreement that was signed between them and the City in November of 2006.
As a result of poor performance by these guys, and as a result of their declaration of breach of the development agreement in November of 2008, where they alleged -- sent a letter to the City, alleged that the City was in breach of the development agreement. The City -- well, their letter actually, we believe, has the legal effect of terminating the agreement. They accused the City of anticipatorily [sic] breaching the development agreement by hiring a company, at no cost to the City, called Stratacon to do an engineering survey of the casino building.
There's no prohibition in the contract for such an action by the City. We have some internal memoranda from the company. It was turned over in discovery where as early as October, they were looking for ways to set up litigation with the City.
They sent a the letter saying the City was in breach, and that they were still ready to proceed, but that the City would have to execute an addendum to the contract that would fundamentally alter the economic relationship.
They were responsible for paying everything other than what the City's contributions were. The City was obliged to provide them with money from a FRDAP Grant. They were going to get a payment of a $5 million park bond issued from Palm Beach County, and a contribution of money that the City had in its beach fund, which at the time the development agreement was signed was around -- somewhere around a million dollars.
Separate from that, they were responsible for everything else, and the project they projected or came to the City with was going to cost around $20 million, so they were going to have to finance about $13 million of this job. The agreement had a provision in it that said that if they did not receive their final zoning approvals for the project by June 30, 2007, either side of the arrangement could terminate the contract as long as that side wasn't in breach of the agreement.
So there is a recognition that the zoning and the comp plan for the beach was going to have to be changed, because the preexisting comp plan designation did not permit a private use of the property. That change was made. The City accomplished the zoning changes, and the comp plan changed by May of 2007. We had a lawsuit filed, the comp plan, that went up to the DCA, and a challenge was filed by Lawrence McNamara.
Post June 30th of '07, there was a lawsuit filed by Mr. McNamara, and another fellow whose name escapes me at this point, challenging the development agreement, because the lease under which Greater Bay was going to operate the property after construction provided for a 20-year lease, plus several five-year options that ran a following year charter that prohibits more than 20-year leases.
The lease was amended to accomodate [sic] to that provision or that challenge, but zoning approval was not obtained by June 30, 2007, because of these challenges. There was also a referendum that was a petition that was circulated to bring the whole issue to the City citizens for a vote.
The City attorney at the time, Larry Karnes (phonetic) believed that that referendum was illegal, because it ran afoul of the restriction in Florida statutes that says you can't bring a referendum to challenge zoning changes that affect five or fewer parcels. The City simultaneously was in a lawsuit on that very specific issue with a group called We Love Lake Worth -- no, excuse me not We Love Lake Worth, Save Our Neighborhood.
The City lost at trial, and the case was on appeal during this period of time on the issue of what affects five or fewer parcels means. The judge in the case, on the Save Our Neighborhood case, said it wasn't the subject of the zoning change, but the impacts on surrounding properties that could be factored in, in order to determine whether this statute restricted or not the referendum rights.
Late in the game, the Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled for the City, and it's the first case in Florida that defined what that means. And as a result, City won that case, and then the referendum challenge was -- we were trying to get the referendum challenge resolved by having them recognize that the law was on our side, because there weren't five or fewer lots out there -- or there were five or fewer lots out there. So let me backup -- Any questions?
MS. TRIOLO: Mr. McVoy?
MR. McVOY: Since I was an involved party at that point, the one piece you left out is the way that it was resolved, is that the City sued We Love Lake Worth at that time --
MR. JOSLYN: That's true.
MR. McVOY: -- for the record.
MR. JOSLYN: City sued them, and I think the decision was made at that time was because Mr. Karnes was concerned that once he rejected the petition, that there would be suit for mandamus, and the law on mandamus does not permit the government to file a counterclaim challenging.
So we wanted to raise the issue -- discussions with Mr. Karnes, we wanted to raise that issue, because he felt pretty firmly about it, five or fewer parcels. So the City filed suit against We Love Lake Worth. Those two lawsuits were pending by June of 2007.
So the City got a letter from the attorney for Greater Bay that said because of these lawsuits, we do not have our final zoning approval, and the final zoning approval under the development agreement was a condition for them to -- their time clock to start on obtaining the financing.
Once the final zoning approval was obtained, they had 90 days to get their financing lined up to get a commitment letter. They said because of these lawsuits, final zoning approval hasn't been obtained. We don't believe we should have to start getting our financing, and the City agreed.
So we said your time for obtaining financing hasn't started yet, but we have a problem, because the 200,000 and change we were going to get from the FRDAP, F-R-D-A-P, Grant expired at the end of April of 2008. So we had about a seven, eight-month window to arrange work on the site that would allow that money to come into the project.
And what was decided upon was to alter the sequence of work that Greater Bay had originally planned, to do the pool work first, rather than at the end of the whole casino redo.
By the way, the project that Greater Bay Group came up was to -- they were going to knock down the casino building, and they were going to replace it with a building roughly twice its size, about a 50,000 square foot building.
To accomplish that, they were going to have put in a parking structure, and it was pretty complex, although we never saw any design drawings or anything like that. So the City went to Greater Bay, said, We need to realter this work, so you can get that FRDAP money, and over a very long period of time, from the City's perspective, we finally negotiated an addendum to the agreement that altered the sequence of the work, allowed them to do the pool work. They accomplished the pool work sort of, by the time the FRDAP money came in, and that's where we were by the end of April 2008.
The pool was shoddily done. The fellows who came to the City building department had a -- what architects call cartoon drawings, a hand drawing of what they intended to do with the pool with stick figures and stuff. That was rejected by the building department.
They said, Since you have to replace the heaters on the pool, we need engineering for that. It's required by law. These guys didn't have an engineer lined up. They-- the City then hired an engineer to do the design drawings for the pool heaters and stuff, and it was realized at that point that we were going to have segregate out the pool heaters from the rest of the job, because the engineering and all of that wouldn't be accomplished in time for them to get the work done by the April 30 deadline.
So they did the pool work with the understanding that some of this heater work was going to be done later. We had a pretty significant punch list that was sent to them in May that they never addressed all of those issues. There were a number of them that they just plain dropped the ball on. There were some defects in the pool work that have subsequently come to light.
I have given your pool report that was just done by your pool consultants to Joe Krohl (phonetic), who used to be your building official and is going to be a witness in the trial to try to pars out from that the defects that have been identified, and which ones we can assign to Greater Bay as defects to discuss at trial --
MS. MULVEHILL: For a correction, he was --
MS. TRIOLO: Commissioner Mulvehill?
MS. MULVEHILL: Yeah, he was never our building official, Joe Krohl. He was our Public Works director, just for the record.
MR. JOSLYN: I will have it straight by trial.
MS. MULVEHILL: It's okay.
MR. JOSLYN: The one problem I will tell you we had with this is that, you know, tremendous amount of turnover in the City. I think since the project started, you are the fifth City Manager.
MR. BORNSTEIN: Hopefully the last.


End of Summer Neighborhood Fair - ROLOH

Water Wars Pit Florida vs. Georgia in What Rick Scott Calls a 'Bold, Historic Legal Action' | Sunshine State News

This is turning out to be a historic fight about water use between states. Atlanta's growth affects the Florida Panhandle's shellfish industry as well as Alabama's future water needs. Click title for link.

FAU’s proposed project to harness Gulf Stream’s energy reaches...

You know, not that long ago, when Ms. Jennings graced the dais, we heard of fantastic claims that the city was working with FAU on generating energy from the ocean. She made it sound like it was going to happen soon and actually used it as part of her campaign platform the second time she ran. You saw vestiges of it in Christopher McVoy's We Love Lake Worth letter which talked about using tidal energy for electric generation at the beach. It seems that things are a little far off, still - click title for article.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Governor Scott was here this week...

Coming attraction...


August 28, 2012

5:00 p.m. - 6:47 p.m.

7 North Dixie Highway
Lake Work, Florida

Reported By:
Sara Glazer, Court Reporter
Notary Public, State of Florida
Esquire Deposition Services, LLC


Pam Triolo, Mayor
Scott Maxwell, Vice Mayor
Michael Bornstein, City Manager
Suzanne Mulvehill, Commissioner
Chris McVoy, Commissioner
Andy Amoroso, Commissioner
Glen Torcivia, Esq., Interim City Attorney
Brian Joslyn, Outside Counsel

MS. TRIOLO: I would like to call this Tuesday August, 28th City Commission Special Meeting to order, and ask the clerk to call the roll, please.
THE CLERK: Mayor Pam Triolo?
MS. TRIOLO: Present.
THE CLERK: Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell?
THE CLERK: Commissioner Christopher McVoy?
MR. McVOY: Present.
THE CLERK: Commissioner Andy Amoroso?
THE CLERK: Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill?
THE CLERK: Interim City Attorney?
MR. TORCIVIA: I am here to request an attorney/client session regarding the case of Greater Bay Corporation, LLC versus City of Lake Worth, and I would like to advise you regarding the pending litigation and litigation expenses and settlement strategy.
I anticipate it will take no more than two hours, and we have a court reporter present and all the members of the Commission, and Mr. Brian Joslyn, our outside attorney.
THE CLERK: Thank you. Pursuant to Section 286-0118 Florida Statute, the City Commission is commencing a closed-door attorney/client session for the purpose of discussing the pending litigation in the case of Greater Bay Group, LLC versus City of Lake Worth, Florida.
Again, the estimated length of the session is approximately two hours. The following individuals will be in attendance: Mayor, Vice Mayor, City Commissioner, City Manager, Interim City Attorney, and Attorney Brian Joslyn and Court Reporter.
At this moment, we will recess at 5:10, and we will reconvene.
(Whereupon, a break was taken.)
THE CLERK: We are in private session now.


Is This Really Beijing's Most Outrageous Illegal Structure?

How would this look on top of the Gulfstream Hotel? Oooo....still a little sore, are we?  This is really amazing, click title for link to story.

Strange sight(s) today downtown...

All of the streetlights were on. And many buildings also had their security and decorative lighting on - at 2 in the afternoon.  ??

Palm Beach County considers burning trash from outside county... |

Meanwhile, the County is doing its best to gain a monopoly on trash to energy generation. Click title for link.

Lake Worth looks for ways to control spending in budget |

Nice summary by Lona O'Connor of where things sit with the budget. The meeting on 8/24 is unusual in that it will take place on Saturday afternoon and solely focus on infrastructure needs. Click title for link.

Video captures water agency execs on phones and computers...

Oops! The City Commission here does pay attention when the public speaks. I do wonder about the iPad that Commissioner McVoy uses and if that is used to communicate to others in or outside the room. There was an issue a few years back, when Jeff Clemens was Mayor, about use of smartphones and other means of communication from the dais. 

But this video of a water management meeting - about water quality in the St. Lucie estuary due to water releases from Lake Okeechobee - is telling. Can we put down our phones, please?
Click title for link to article. Also check out some of the comments on YouTube.

Monday, August 12, 2013






Tuesday, October 11, 2011
2:33 - 4:08 p.m.

7 North Dixie Highway
Lake Worth, Florida 33460

Reported by:
Kathleen Lusz, RPR


Rachel Waterman, Mayor
Suzanne Mulvehill, Vice Mayor
Jo-Ann Golden, Commissioner
Scott Maxwell, Commissioner
Christopher McVoy, Commissioner
Susan Stanton, City Manager
Elaine Humphreys, City Attorney
Brian Joslyn, Esquire

(The following proceeding was had:)

MS. LOPEZ: Mayor Waterman?
MS. LOPEZ: Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill?
MS. LOPEZ: Commissioner Scott Maxwell?
MS. LOPEZ: Commissioner Christopher McVoy?
MS. LOPEZ: Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden?
MAYOR WATERMAN: Okay. We have a city attorney announcement?
MS. HUMPHREYS: Yes. Pursuant to Section 286 011(8) of the Florida Statutes I desire advice concerning pending litigation in the case of Greater Bay Group, LLC, versus The City of Lake Worth.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Okay. So pursuant to that same Florida Statute cite, we are going to commence a closed door attorney-client session for the purpose of discussing pending litigation regarding the case of Greater Bay Group, LLC, versus The City of Lake Worth. Shut the door at this point?
MS. LOPEZ: Then you have to state the estimated length.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Oh. The estimated length of this session is one-and-a-half hours. And the following individuals will be in attendance: Myself; the vice mayor; all city commissioners; city manager in her part, the designee; the city attorney, Brian Joslyn, Esquire, and our court reporter. And your name is?
MAYOR WATERMAN: Thank you. Okay. So we have to recess now?
MS. LOPEZ: If you recess the special --
MAYOR WATERMAN: Recess the special meeting.
MS. LOPEZ: Yes. To go into the closed door.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Okay. So at this time I'll recess the special meeting. And I would like to reconvene a closed door attorney-client session.
MS. LOPEZ: When you reconvene, come get me. I'll come back.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Okay. 2:35. Thank you.

(Ms. Lopez exited the room.)


COMMISSIONER MCVOY: But anything that we've heard or discussed here today --
MR. JOSLYN: Correct.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: -- is strictly verboten?
MS. HUMPHREYS: Yes. It is within the walls of this room at this time.
MS. HUMPHREYS: And you can talk to Susan or me about it no problem, but not each other or --
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: Or anybody else.
MS. HUMPHREYS: -- or anybody else. You know if somebody asks, one of your constituents asks a question, just say it's in pending litigation and you cannot discuss it under advice of counsel.
MR. JOSLYN: I would tell you this, I mean I'm not sitting here telling you I don't see that they -- I don't think -- I wouldn't be here telling you you have a good case if I didn't think you have a good case. Okay? I would be telling you something completely different, because it's not my job to blow sunshine at anybody. It's my job to explain what the probabilities are, how you can get there and take your goals into account, and tell you what your chance is.
MS. HUMPHREYS: Do you have a number probability that you see here, Brian, or is it really that fuzzy?
MR. JOSLYN: I think we're -- I really think we're around 60 percent probability of success on this. And the Perry Mason slam dunk case I would put at 80 percent. So it's --
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: It's getting up there.
MR. JOSLYN: I'd rather have our case by far than have their case.
MAYOR WATERMAN: But with all due respect, you understand our current condition is we just lost two big cases that we were told there was no problem.
MR. JOSLYN: I'm not telling you there is no problem.
MAYOR WATERMAN: I know you weren't the lawyer on those cases. But, you know, we as commissioners our somewhat brought in, you know, further along in the process. Unlike the city manager, I have not read through every single page of those books. So we have to sort of take --
MAYOR WATERMAN: -- take the information we are getting and --
MR. JOSLYN: Yeah. I'm not telling you that this is a slam drunk. Okay. I'm not telling you that there is no way you are not going to lose.
You're right, or whoever it was that said it, if you get a jury of people who have had bad experiences with Lake Worth or bad experiences with their towns, you could have a problem. There is no doubt. I think we do everything we can to minimize it and certainly know how to do those things. But, yeah, you could get a person on that jury that slips through the cracks or something.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Well, it's been in the paper. We've had two very visible cases in the paper within the last months of -- you know, that really made the city look bad and poorly prepared and arbitrary.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: Is it fair to ask – Let's say all of that is accurate and that maybe the 60 is optimistic, and it's really 50.
MR. JOSLYN: Uh-huh.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: Does any of that influence the number that we should go into the mediation with?
MR. JOSLYN: Not at this point for me, no.
COMMISSIONER GOLDEN: You have not seen our bank account.
MR. JOSLYN: Assuming you had the money, I wouldn't be recommending anything more than the nuisance value at this point. Okay?
COMMISSIONER MAXWELL: If I might, I understand the concept of the nuisance value, but this has been dragging on for how long?
MR. JOSLYN: Two years.
COMMISSIONER MAXWELL: Plus whatever he thinks he's out of pocket leading up to the suit. I don't think -- If it were me, just playing devil's advocate, see you in court offering $300,000.
MAYOR WATERMAN: That's right. That is going to be the answer. That is going to be the answer.
MR. JOSLYN: We know that.
MAYOR WATERMAN: That's why it's not a good faith value.
MR. JOSLYN: That's why the mediation is occurring early, and we're both certain -- I shouldn't say certain. I'm pretty darn sure that we're not going to settle. I mean I've seen stranger things happen, but not on 40,000 -- or 40 million, 300,000 split.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Okay. Just for purposes of discussion: If the number were a million, do you think they would settle?
MR. JOSLYN: Maybe. Maybe. It's a round number.
COMMISSIONER MAXWELL: It is a round number.
MS. HUMPHREYS: It's a long number.
VICE MAYOR MULVEHILL: They take their chance, because that number could go down I mean in the next time around. But we don't have a million. The problem is we don't have that kind of money.
COMMISSIONER MAXWELL: And can you call it a nuisance --
MAYOR WATERMAN: Well, you're also not calculating the expense. We have 300,000 in our legal defense for this case, but we're also not calculating the money in Elaine's salary and in Susan's salary that's being spent on this case, not to mention the 61 cents an hour for us sitting here.
MS. HUMPHREYS: And also the city clerk's office has had to come up with all the departments to help put all the documents together for the discovery, not just for our side and Brian's office but also to respond to the other side.
MAYOR WATERMAN: So we're really looking at a half a million in expenses.
MR. JOSLYN: A 2,000 page index.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: I mean I understand somewhat the logic of saying, well, should we go up in our mediation our proposal on the risk that we might go to trial and we might lose. But there is also a counterforce in this it seems to me is if it's true that these guys basically never had any intention of building much of anything and were setting the whole thing up as a money-making scheme, do we not have a responsibility as commissioners and as city officials or city staff to our residents? We're giving away taxpayer money, a million dollars, because somebody is harassing us.
If it is pretty clear that, you know, their track record is pretty poor, and we breach -- we didn't breach the contract, we canceled the contract for pretty legitimate reasons, it seems to me hard to argue that we should from a position of fear say here is a million dollars, go away, don't bother us. And by the way, it's not our money. It's our taxpayer money.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Well, I need to say I'm not coming from a position of fear. I'm coming from a position of, you know –
MAYOR WATERMAN: Pragmatism so...
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: Have another jelly bean.
MR. JOSLYN: I think I have to go. But I will say this to your comment, Mr. McVoy. Establishing intent of the jury's mind, if that's the proper legal process, good point. The other side of that is they could also establish the intent on the city to have scuttled the project in the first place.
And that's really what we are talking about here. It's a grey area. It could go either way. And I'm scared.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Regardless of what the truth is.
MR. JOSLYN: Oh, sure.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: They certainly will go that route.
MR. JOSLYN: It doesn't have anything to do with truth.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Nothing to do with truth.
MR. JOSLYN: Okay. It has to do with what you can prove in court.
MAYOR WATERMAN: That's right. And we are not Boca.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: And here would be a legal opinion question for you. There's no question that we had a commissioner who ran on the platform that related to the beach. Exactly what the platform was there might be some interpretation but save the building or whatever. But how persuasively is somebody going to be able to argue that the fact that you had a commissioner who chose to run and that was part of their platform that that constituted intent on the part of the whole city to do whatever? It seems to me that's --
MR. JOSLYN: I don't think it does.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: -- a strong argument.
MR. JOSLYN: Look, it's the same thing as, you know, the congress passes the health care reform in one year, and then two years later you've got a new slate of people in and the trend reverses. I mean it's no different than that.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: Right. Right. And you can't say that that was intent over --
MR. JOSLYN: Right.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: -- a period of five years of some, you know, organized plan.
MR. JOSLYN: Right. We also we think have a argument to make that when people -- when commissioners or governmental people sit as legislators to make a legislative decision, which is sort of what you were doing, that their intent isn't relevant to any issue of the case. So really the deal here is was the city in default of the contract on December 4th. If not, you get to terminate the contract. So the rest of it is all --
MS. HUMPHREYS: Smoke and mirrors.
MR. JOSLYN: The rest of the stuff we're talking about is to counteract their arguments. But it really does come down to something that simple.
But I mean if you have 300,000, 300,000. If you have 500,000, I would say the limit should be $500,000. If you had a million bucks, I might recommend a million dollars just for the certainty and peace of mind that comes with no appeals down the road, no judgments, nobody trying to levy on your firetrucks or whatever I mean, you know, if they win the case. There is a premium I think to peace of mind in a case like that.
But given that you don't have that, the maximum authority I think you can give the city manager is what should be given, because we don't really see a huge chance of settling the case.
MS. HUMPHREYS: I guess the city manager -- You know, I know I have $300,000 in my budget to pay for the litigation. And, you know, subtracting off what Brian has done to date from that. So I don't know what else can be found in other funds.
MS. STANTON: If we have to find it, we find it but --
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: At this point it's going to be squeezing it out of something else. It's not that there is money just laying around.
MS. STANTON: I don't think the timing is right to put a ton of money on the table at this point anyway.
COMMISSIONER GOLDEN: Right. You can always do it later.
MR. JOSLYN: You can always do it later.
MS. STANTON: We come to mediation. We have a nuisance value of $300,000.
MR. JOSLYN: Well, he's the one who wanted to push for an early mediation as opposed to one later --
MR. JOSLYN: -- where we know all the story from all the witnesses. I think there is a peril to that, and the peril is I think at this point that he's going to get a low number.
MS. STANTON: And I've settled cases. After this election clearly think, oh, gosh, it's time to settle.
MS. STANTON: So there is plenty of time to ultimately do what the mayor is suggesting if we get to that point.
MS. STANTON: We're not there yet. We're not there yet.
MR. JOSLYN: It's a very good point to start.
COMMISSIONER GOLDEN: And, Brian, make yourself feel better before that happens.
MR. JOSLYN: Oh, no, I'll be fine.
MS. STANTON: Because of how important this thing is, I am spending a lot of time with them. I'm reading those books. I'm trying to --
MR. JOSLYN: Believe me, what you need to know 12 volumes of this, I think I'll go with War and Peace.
MS. HUMPHREYS: It might be shorter.
MS. STANTON: It's an important case.
MR. JOSLYN: No, there is no doubt about it. It is. And we are taking it as seriously as it deserves to be taken that's for sure. All right.
MR. JOSLYN: Nice to meet those of you I have never met, those of you I have sued and never met.
VICE MAYOR MULVEHILL: Did we take consensus? I don't think we did.
MAYOR WATERMAN: I think the consensus was 300,000.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Is that a consensus with everybody?
MAYOR WATERMAN: Was it 300,000 minus what's been spent to date? Or was it 300,000?
MAYOR WATERMAN: And I have to reconvene the special meeting.
MS. HUMPHREYS: Yes. Let me get Mary to call Pam back in to close the meeting.
COMMISSIONER MCVOY: We are now at step five.
MAYOR WATERMAN: We are about to jump into step five, yeah.

(A short recess was had in the proceedings, and Ms. Lopez entered the room.)

MAYOR WATERMAN: I'd like to reconvene the special meeting.
MS. LOPEZ: Okay.
MS. LOPEZ: At 4:08 p.m.
MAYOR WATERMAN: All right. And now I take a motion to adjourn.
MS. LOPEZ: I'm sorry. I didn't hear who made the motion and second.
MAYOR WATERMAN: Commissioner McVoy.
MS. LOPEZ: Thank you.
MAYOR WATERMAN: And seconded by Commissioner Golden. And anybody not in favor? Okay. All in favor.

(The proceeding was adjourned at 4:08 p.m.)