Judge rules against Port Authority in foreclosure

Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:08 AM.

Gibson said because the central issue in the case is a constitutional question, any appeal could be heard before the Florida Supreme Court rather than the First District Court of Appeals.

Gibson said the Port Authority’s Tallahassee-based attorneys handling the foreclosure believe there is a viable appeal based on the judge’s decision, which they assert was in error.

What the cost would entail and whether the Port Authority would choose to mount an appeal will likely be decided in the next several weeks, Gibson said.

The foreclosure lawsuit was the result of the Port Authority’s default on a $7 million line of credit drawn in 2006 and subsequent 2010 loan of approximately $350,000.

The current debt has been estimated in recent Port Authority meetings at $4-$5 million, though Capital City Bank will provide final figures in its order of foreclosure to the Circuit Court.

The primary issue, Fishel noted in his summary judgment order, was the contention by the Port Authority’s attorneys that the mortgages in question were void because the mortgaging of public property without a public referendum was unconstitutional.

Fishel concluded a “referendum was not required” and noted that the Port Authority’s legal stance was contrary to the “representations made by and on behalf of the Port Authority” when the loan transaction took place, as detailed in a resolution passed at the time by the Port Authority.

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