Firm drops suit against Palm Beach County over unpaid $100k bill for Ballpark of the Palm Beaches


UPDATE: County Attorney Denise Nieman said on Monday, Jan. 9, that Oldcastle has dismissed the case.

A firm has sued Palm Beach County for $109,854 it says the county failed to pay for concrete pavers for the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Audrey Wolf, the county’s director of facilities development, told staffers and commissioners late Tuesday afternoon that the county sent a check for $105,219.37 on Dec. 20 and the various entities are trying to resolve the difference.

Oldcastle Coastal, based in Tampa, filed the suit filed Dec. 20 in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

The suit says the county agreed to a purchase order April 5 for materials that include concrete block, mortar and sealer. It says the county received the supplies between June 21 and Oct. 21 but did not pay the full bill. It says the total claimed includes an 18-percent a year finance charge for late payment.

“I believe we’ll work it out amicably with the county,” Dave Toolan, an attorney for Oldcastle, said Tuesday from Atlanta. “We’ve done business with the county for a long time and always been able to work out issues.”

County Attorney Denise Nieman Tuesday repeated her policy of not commenting on active suits. New York-based spokespersons for Orlando-based Hunt Construction Group, the primary contractor, also did not return calls.

The $148 million future spring training site of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals is scheduled to open Feb. 28.

Construction began in November on the 160-acre plot south of 45th Street, which will house a stadium, 12 major and minor league practice fields, public soccer fields and a park. A steel superstructure above the 7,500-seat ballpark will allow 360-degree views of the action.

Judge tosses suit challenging comment times at Palm Beach County Commission meetings


A judge has tossed, for now, a suit by two regulars at Palm Beach County Commission meetings who claim the county’s limit on their comments


violates state public meetings laws.


In a Friday afternoon email to commissioners and staff, County Attorney Denise Nieman said that Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Lisa Small had earlier that day dismissed the complaint but had given the plaintiffs 15 days to submit an amended one.

In a suit filed Feb. 17 in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Alex Larson and Fane Lozman, citing the state’s Government in the Sunshine Law, demanded the county either stop using a “consent agenda” or not limit speakers during that discussion.

The county has argued that the plaintiffs failed to show an injury that would occur if the court did not rule for them. The county’s March 28 motion to dismiss said it has the right to limit comment times and people are free to submit written materials and even items such as PowerPoint presentations in advance of the meeting.

The consent agenda is a list of items, most of them housekeeping, which commissioners dispense with in a single vote unless someone wants to pull one in advance for more discussion. Members of the public get three minutes to comment on a regular agenda item. But, the suit said, at the Dec. 15 meeting, when Larson rose to speak on nine items on the consent agenda, she was limited to three minutes total for all nine.

Lozman sues Riviera Beach over street address


Fane Lozman, who fought the city of Riviera Beach all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, now is suing it over his address.

Lozman famously beat the city when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it wrongfully seized his two-story floating home, saying just because something floats doesn’t necessarily make it a boat. Now, in a suit filed Feb. 12 in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Lozman alleges the city is trying to punish hm for his victory.

The suit, which Lozman filed without an attorney, demands a judge order the city to assign street addresses for the five Singer Island lots of what he calls his “Renegade” complex. Without one, his suit says, his location can’t be entered into the city’s police and fire dispatch system. He said he called dispatchers once and spent several minutes trying to explain his location; “when seconds count, this needless delay could result in serious injury or death,” his suit says.

Lozman also demanded the city be stopped from abandoning a public road near his property, an act he said would remove his access to the beach and ocean, just 50 feet away. He said the property “has a vested right for the last ninety-two (92) years.”

The suit claimed city Building Official Peter Ringle and Community Development Director Mary McKinney both have told Lozman his properties never will be issued an address. It  said the county’s property appraiser’s office wrote the city calling for the address designation, concurring that it’s mandatory for 911 service, and also saying the appraiser needs an address to mail its notice of proposed taxes. But, the suit said, the city has ignored the calls.

Neither Ringle, McKinney or Riviera Beach City Attorney Pamala Ryan could immediately be reached Tuesday.

In December 2014, a federal jury rejected Lozman’s claims that the city was abridging his free speech rights.

Last week, besides the Riviera Beach suit, Lozman and another regular at Palm Beach County Commission meetings, Alex Larson, sued the city over time allotted for public comment on the commission’s “consent agenda.”

Regulars sue Palm Beach County over “comment” limits


Two regulars at Palm Beach County Commission meetings have sued the county, saying limiting them during some public comment violates the state’s public meetings laws.

 In a suit filed Wednesday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Alex Larson and Fane Lozman demand the county either stop using a “consent agenda” or stop limiting speakers during consent agenda discussion.

The “consent agenda” is a list of items, most of them housekeeping, which the commissioners dispense with in a single vote unless one wants to pull one in advance for more discussion.

Larson said that at the commission’s Dec. 15, meeting, she rose to comment on nine of the several items on that day’s consent agenda. She said she was limited not to the usual three minutes per item, but three minutes in total. Lozman said he wanted to speak on two items and also got only three minutes total.

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