In the last Gulf County Commission meeting an individual was allowed to ask if I was ready to make an apology to Gulf County for the “frivolous” law suit that supposedly cost the county a lot of money. I thought most intelligent people understood the event and what happened but to clear this once and for all, I will speak to this.
Keep in mind that I am the initiator of the complaint and suit filed against the County Commissioners as a direct result of their behavior immediately prior to the 2012 election and because I filed the suit, only I could stop it. It was my decision to stop the suit not theirs. In case you do not know, Frivolous law suits result in whoever filed the suit having to paying for all attorney fees and the fact that the county agreed to pay their portion is evidence that an injustice was committed on their part. This was NOT a frivolous law suit by any stretch of the imagination. It was and still is a very serious breach of the public trust. Consequently, they knew that was the best route to take was to pay their fees and hope this went away. But, they keep allowing the subject to come up so let get to the truth.
The deal breaker for me on the complaint and suit was a legal glitch found after detailed research which gives immunity to a degree for elected officials from what they say. When this was discovered, I realized that a lot of the complaint and suit would be overturned but that did not in any way prove they were innocent. They in fact planned and deliberately attacked in public the PAC, myself and others that were their political opponents. They created lies about all of us and tried to demonize a group of citizens who only want the best for the county but did not agree with them. They used their political connections to influence the SAO office to have an investigation against me and others on drummed up false charges which was proven not to hold up.
Let’s address the so called cost to the county; First of all if they had behaved properly, it never would have happened but they have our tax dollars to use as a weapon against anyone who challenges or questions them so they do not care.. If you file a law suit, unless the attorney agrees to take in on a contingency then you pay and have no public funding to abuse and risk as they did. So in a way, as a tax payer I was paying both ways. There were two very serious workers comp claims along with some other claims that had an impact on the counties insurance premiums. My law suit had little impact on the new cost. If you know insurance company underwriters, it is all about risk when they determine new costs. For example, if you have several wrecks or tickets for driving badly then your automobile insurance will increase accordingly. I think the underwriters took a hard look at our Commissioners and realized the risk had increased considerably from their actions and behavior and that was the main reason for the increased cost. They knew that if these Commissioners continued that other law suits would follow and sure enough they have.
If you honestly believe that the Gulf County Commission, the $104,000.00 a year County Administrator, the $180,000 a year County Attorney are not all wrapped up with each other for personal benefit and not for the people, then you have not been paying attention.
I am very sorry for the following:
1. That the Commissioners electioneered the last election to their advantage.
2. That we do not have County Wide Voting and the elected are dragging their heels in the background as they know we can easily get it but it does not work to their benefit.
3. The ethics commission believed that Commissioner Yeager does not work for Preble Rish in Gulf County and has no influence on votes.
4. That Sunshine Laws have been repeatedly broken by McDaniel, Smiley and McLemore resulting in my current filing a complaint about them.
5. That the Commissioner changed the comp plan to allow McLemore’s illegal river house to become legal after the fact.
6. That the Land Development Regulations were changed recently to destroy what we love about this county by allowing dense construction which will bring about congestion and crime like Panama City.
Yes, I am sorry for all this and more than you realize but I am not sorry for filing the suit and will never apologize for protecting my rights and freedoms.
Chairman, Citizens Improving Gulf County