March 7 2018
A hearing was held on March 5 at the courthouse regarding the case of Diane Kobernick VS Pasco County. Mrs. Kobernick was represented by Weber, Crabb and Wein, her new attorneys that she hired after the medical issues with her previous counsel. The county was represented by Nicki Spirtos, and the Intervenors were represented by Frederick Reeves. Recall that the Intervenors include several members of the Gulf Harbors Civic Association board, including the sitting president. Mr. Reeves also represents the Orsi Trust, that holds the first lien on the golf course. Mr. Reeves offices with Hobby and Hobby, who themselves have their own lien on the property, and also represent the golf course owner. In the hearing, Ms. Spirtos stated that she and Mr. Reeves have collaborated, and she allowed Mr. Reeves to speak and make all the arguments at the hearing. I know what to “collaborate” means, but look up the definition of “collusion”. The lawsuit was filed against Pasco County to prevent the county from buying the golf course and taxing in perpetuity the owners in Gulf Harbors for the majority of the purchase price and all of the future maintenance and improvements, but counsel for the Intervenors is apparently taking over the legal battle for the county.
As far as the results of the hearing, the summary judgment filed by the county, as well as the summary judgment filed by the Intervenors, were not heard since the judge allowed Diane’s attorney to amend the original complaint. Also, two of your neighbors wanted to join the suit as co-plaintiffs because they felt strongly that their rights were violated by the county, but that request was denied by the judge.
So the case will continue, and the county will continue to spend county resources and taxpayer money defending a case that could have been resolved in 2016 if the county had only conducted a fair vote, which they are still refusing to do.
Feb 24, 2018
A new law firm has been engaged to continue to fight against the imposition of an MSBU on Gulf Harbors property owners to tax them for the county’s purchase of the golf course. The law firm of Weber Crabb Wein is now representing Diane in her fight. Some of you may recognize that name, as this firm recently won a case against the Pasco County School Board for violating the Sunshine Law. This suit is also about the county not following the law, so is a great fit for them, and they are very confident about achieving a successful outcome for us. In an earlier post it was discussed that the previous attorney had to withdraw for serious medical reasons, and the county and the intervenors refused to allow an extension to the impending court deadlines to give Diane time to get a new attorney, even though in cases like this attorneys always agree to such an extension out of professional courtesy. This new attorney has just filed his appearance in the case, and has also filed several other motions to ensure that the county does not run over us. One of those motions is to allow him to amend the original complaint that was filed by Susan and Diane. This is standard practice, in particular since there is a new attorney in the case, and is usually something that the attorneys on both sides would just agree to. He reached out to the county attorney to get her cooperation, and she refused to agree to it, so now the judge will have to decide. There is already a hearing date on March 5 for the county’s motion for summary judgement, and he set the hearing for his motion to be heard at the same time. There is a large body of case law that supports granting his motion, and were the judge to deny it, that would be an automatic appeal. The attorney is prepared for either outcome, and is prepared to see this to the end.
Jan. 31 2018
The current attorney that is needing to withdraw has requested that the case schedule be extended by 30 days to allow time for new counsel to be found. Since he is withdrawing for medical reasons, usually the opposing counsel would have the courtesy to agree to such a short extension. However, in this case, the county and the intervenors have both refused to allow such an extension, so the attorney was forced to file a motion in court to request the extension. The motion he had to file is below:Mtn to Withdraw and Stay