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Sullivan, Deile opt not to attend closed meeting to discuss mediated lawsuit settlement

By Staff | Dec 16, 2010

Mayor John Sullivan and Councilmember Bill Deile were not present for city council’s “shade meeting” to discuss a proposed mediated lawsuit settlement Wednesday.
Council met in closed session to discuss the settlement for a lawsuit in which Deile, Sullivan and a third party named Robert Sylvester are plaintiffs.
The lawsuit claims that an unfair assessment methodology was applied to their lots during the Utilities Expansion Project.
A mediated settlement filed with the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida states 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 did not make a decision on the lawsuit during the shade meeting, instead discussing its terms and how they will handle it. They are expected to vote publicly, but neither Deile or Sullivan will be allowed to vote.
State law allows meetings to discuss legal strategy in pending or on-going litigation to be closed.
While the meeting was not public, a court reporter was present to record the meeting’s minutes. Those notes, once transcribed, will be made public. According to Florida law, no portion of the meeting was supposed to be off the record.
It’s unknown when city council will make its final vote on the lawsuit. In attendance at the meeting were council members Chris Chulakes-Leetz, Erick Kuehn, Kevin McGrail, Marty McClain, Pete Brandt and Derrick Donnell.
City Manager Gary King, Assistant City Manager Carl Schwing, City Attorney Dolores Menendez and Stacy Lentz from the city clerk’s office were also in attendance.