Sullivan, Deile won’t attend ‘shade’ meeting
Both Mayor John Sullivan and Councilmember Bill Deile announced Monday they would not attempt to attend a forthcoming shade meeting in which council will discuss a legal settlement that has both the mayor and Deile as plaintiffs.
Deile and Sullivan have been involved with a lawsuit against the city for several years.
Along with a third plaintiff, Robert Sylvester, the three sued the city over the UEP assessment methodology, which they claimed was unfair.
A mediated settlement was recently filed with the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida says that Deile would receive $5,000, $1,500 of which would be donated to the city’s Charter School System’s Scholarship Fund; and Sullivan would receive $1, which would be donated to the American Cancer Society.
If the settlement is approved by City Council, both Deile and Sullivan would agree to drop the case/claim, and pay all of their own legal bills.
The agreement is a “package settlement” and has to be agreed upon by Deile, Sullivan and Sylvester, who also would be due $5,000.
The settlement must be either approved or rejected by the three parties, and City Council, in its entirety.
City Council is expected to discuss the settlement in a “shade,” or closed meeting.
Following the shade meeting, council is expected to discuss the settlement from the dais, likely through a consent agenda item, but Deile and Sullivan would not be allowed to vote.
Deile said Monday he would not try to attend the shade meeting.
“I’m not planning on being at the shade meeting,” Deile said. “As far as I’m concerned they can have the meeting without my presence.”
Sullivan also said he would not attend.
“I have no intention of being at the meeting,” Sullivan said.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said he would not attend the shade meeting if any of the three plaintiffs were to attend.
“I’m uncomfortable having plaintiffs attend a meeting where we should be able to speak freely,” Chulakes-Leetz said.
City Attorney Dolores Menendez advised council Monday that “plaintiffs might choose to attend,” but did not offer a legal opinion as to whether those plaintiffs have a legal right to be in the meeting.
So far, the city has spent close to $80,000 defending the lawsuit, according to City Spokeswoman Connie Barron.
City Council is scheduled to meet “in the shade” to discuss the Deile/Sullivan Mediation settlement Wednesday, Dec 15, at 4:30 p.m., in City Hall.
According to Florida Law, the meeting’s opening and closing are open to the public, but actual discussion of the mediation will be outside of the public realm.
Also according to Florida Law, the entire meeting must be recorded by a court reporter. No portion of the meeting shall be off the record, and all notes will be fully transcribed and filed with the entity’s clerk within a reasonable time after the meeting.