Thursday, June 24, 2010
The ruling may open the door for other property owners to challenge the CRA on current, past and future condemnations.
It is unclear how many properties the CRA may have taken without the proper authorization.
“Based upon the proof presented, the city of Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency was never authorized by Broward County as required by statute and therefore has no fundamental authority to pass a resolution to condemn property,” Luzzo wrote in his June 20 ruling.
“As I said after the hearing with Judge Luzzo, a dismissal of an eminent domain action happens once in a blue moon, and this IS the blue moon and, obviously, the happy result of a lot of prayer. Congratulations!” attorney Charles R. Forman wrote to his client in the case, Derriek Phillips.
DerriekPhillips.JPGThe city has 30 days to appeal, Forman wrote in his letter.
“I’m not aware of any such ruling,” City Commissioner E. Pat Larkins said. “I haven’t seen any ruling, and I had no idea they were going after that property. If the judge has ruled that the CRA was not properly formed and they didn’t have the authority, I don't know what the city can do, but I do know it needs to be looked at quick because nobody told me anything.”
The ruling came in response to a legal proceeding in which the CRA had begun the process of condemning West Side Paint and Body at 691 NW 18th Avenue.
The family-owned body repair shop has been in business for more than 40 years and is currently run by Derriek Phillips, son of 80-year-old Ethridge B. Phillips, the shop’ s founder.
The eminent domain process allows a government to buy property without the owner’s permission. A government that wants to acquire private property through this process generally will send a letter to the owner first. The government will offer a price, and threaten to file a condemnation lawsuit if the owner does not agree to sell.
If the owner refuses, the government can take the matter to court, as the Pompano Beach CRA did with the repair shop property.
“They basically told us we had no options and made us an outrageous offer and said take it or leave it because we will take your property anyway,’’ Derriek Phillips said. “Their offer was more than an insult, so we had no choice but to reject it, so they sued us.”
Attorney Mitchell J. Burstein with the Weiss, Serota, Helfman law firm, which specializes in eminent domain, filed the lawsuit seeking to condemn the Phillips’ property after commissioners passed a condemnation resolution in 2006.
The condemnation of a property is one of the steps that is required to seize property via the eminent domain process.
Burnstein could not be reached for comment. He and his law firm are also involved in the controversy over a special zoning exception granted to the Islamic Centers of South Florida. The exception allows the Islamic Centers to build a 29,400-square-foot worship center, daycare and recreation facility in that same general residential area.
Burnstein also sent letters on behalf of the CRA to owners of properties near the proposed mosque, threatening to take those properties for affordable housing, as well.
It is unclear how Luzzo’s ruling will impact those property acquisitions.
Luzzo said in his ruling that Broward County in 1980 delegated community redevelopment powers to the city of Pompano Beach. The county’s resolution authorized the city to create community redevelopment districts, and to condemn property for the districts, the ruling said.
“Broward County did not, however, authorize the City of Pompano Beach to further delegate these powers to a Community Redevelopment Agency,’’ the ruling states.
Phillips said he believes all condemnations by the CRA since its inception via a city ordinance in 1989 are null and void.
Luzzo’s ruling appears to support Phillips’ position.
“This ordinance was based on findings and declarations set forth by the city of Pompano Beach,’’ Luzzo stated in the ruling. “Neither the ordinance, nor resolution contain any reference to any prior Broward County delegations to the city of a right to create a community redevelopment agency.”
Phillips said he hopes the ruling against the CRA will not stop at his family’s property.
“They have operated without authority and I’m just glad we fought and stood up to them, and hopefully this will lead other property owners to do the same,” Phillips said.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Florida CFO and Gubernatorial Candidate Alex Sink issued the following statement recognizing LGBT Pride Month:
"As Floridians recognize LGBT Pride Month, it is a reminder that every
citizen of our state has a role to play in building a stronger Florida.
Each and every Floridian has a stake in a better and more prosperous
future for our state. It is also a reminder that all Floridians must
be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that our state will not tolerate discrimination of any kind."
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
When President Barack Obama on Sunday called for BP to establish an escrow account to cover damage claims from the gulf oil spill, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum took credit.
"The media has reported today that the President plans to ask BP to establish an escrow account for Deepwater Horizon claims, an action I called for last week ..." McCollum said in the statement. "If the report is true, the President's echoing of my call for an escrow account is welcome."
The press release from his office said "Obama has followed McCollum’s lead."
But really, McCollum followed the lead of state Sen. Dave Aronberg, a Democrat running for attorney general. In a May 5 letter to Gov. Charlie Crist, Aronberg wrote that "Florida should be insisting that an interest-bearing escrow account be established, under the control of the Cabinet or CFO, with each responsible party in this disaster committing a share to total $1 billion." (The total is smaller than the one McCollum proposed, but it was also much earlier in the crisis.)
Posted by John Frank at 10:41:55 AM on June 14, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Please join your hosts:
George Castrataro, MPH, Esq.,
The Law Offices of George Castrataro
Tom Runyan, Esq.,
Runyan Law Firm
to honor, recognize and raise funds for the re-election
of Broward County Mayor Ken Keechl,
Broward County Commission District 4.
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served!
When: July 8, 2010
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Where: 800 N.E. 26 Street
Wilton Manors, FL 33305
RSVP Optional at: LawGC on Facebook
All are welcome, however guests are encouraged to donate a minimum of $50 per person. The maximum contribution is $500 accepted from an individual and/or entity.
About Our Mayor and his Constituents:
Ken Keechl is a native Floridian who has spent his career protecting the rights and values of the residents of Broward County.
An attorney, Ken was a partner at the law firm of Brinkley Morgan et al. where he helped build the firm's commercial litigation and land use litigation practices.
District 4 Municipalities include:
Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hillsboro Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lazy Lake,
Lighthouse Point, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes and Wilton Manors.
As Mayor, Keechl has taken numerous leadership positions including quickly bringing together the Mayors of Florida’s coastal cities to address
and monitor the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that threatens us all.
If you wish to no longer receive emails from the sender, please simply reply stating decline in the subject line.
THE LAW OFFICES OF GEORGE CASTRATARO, PA
800 NE 26th Street; Wilton Manors, FL 33305
Phone: 954-573-1444; Fax: 954-573-6451
Thursday, June 10, 2010
and the Dolphin Democrats
Cordially Invite You to Attend
Presidential Pride Reception
Sunday, June 27, 2010 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
the largest gay and lesbian lending library in America
1320 E. Sunset Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33304
Members $10 / Non-members $20
Free with $35 Membership Renewal
Special Tribute to the Late Rusty Gordon
founding member of antecedent to Dolphin Democrats
a founder of the National Organization of Women (NOW)
a leading women and gay rights activist
Stonewall Museum Exhibit
Where the Gays Are: 50 Years in Fort Lauderdale
Food provided by Casa D'Angelo Wine by the Wine Warehouse