Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco golf course battle heads to next round

NEW PORT RICHEY — The court battle over the former Gulf Harbors golf course is heading to its second round.

Circuit Judge Declan Mansfield has denied Pasco County's motion to dismiss a lawsuit from Gulf Harbors residents Susan Levine and Diane Theriault Kobernick, who are challenging the validity of the purchase.

"Fabulous,'' Levine said when she learned of the ruling. "We'll have to see what (Pasco's) answer is to our complaint.''

The women contend the county acted illegally last fall when commissioners voted to acquire the closed course for $1.2 million and to split the cost with neighborhood property owners. The county is preserving the land through its Environmental Lands Acquisition and Management Program, and 1,791 neighbors are being asked to pay a five-year assessment to offset half of the purchase.

Levine and Kobernick say the county failed to provide proper legal notice of the Sept. 27, 2016, public hearing and commission vote and that creating the municipal service benefit unit to collect the assessment violated the county's own codes.

"The county will file an answer and affirmative defenses, and then a motion for summary judgment," Senior Assistant County Attorney Nicki Spirtos said after receiving the ruling.

Spirtos had argued for the dismissal, saying the women's claim was legally insufficient and failed to state a cause of action. The county also said it met the legal requirements for notification and noted that both Levine and Kobernick attended the September commission meeting and offered testimony during the public hearing prior to the commission vote. During the commission hearing, Levine said she didn't oppose the park preserve, just the assessment on property owners.

On April 17, the two sides argued for 90 minutes on the county's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Two days later, Mansfield signed the ruling, which states: "It is the court's position that the motion to dismiss filed by Pasco County is lacking and is therefore denied.''

The 50-acre golf course opened in 1971, but was shut down more than a decade ago. County acquisition keeps the site from potential development. The purchase cost is being split because the sale price of $1.2 million was twice as high as a county-obtained appraisal. The seller had sought $1.7 million.

Comments
The all-time NBA draft — the best pick from every slot

The all-time NBA draft — the best pick from every slot

There’s a definitive answer every year to the question of who is No. 1 in the NBA draft. But who is the No. 1 pick of all No. 1 draft picks ever? Or No. 1 among the list of No. 2 draft picks? Those are questions that have no definitive answer, except...
Updated: 6 minutes ago

Updated: 23 minutes ago
Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

His name was Berry and berry was his passion — the strawberry that put his beloved Plant City on the map.Alfred "Al" Berry was born with the name, but he took on his role as chief promoter of Plant City through his four decades of work with the commu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Column: How the U.S. cornered the market for skilled immigrants

Column: How the U.S. cornered the market for skilled immigrants

Countries are constantly competing for the most talented workers and, according to the best available immigration statistics, the United States has been winning.The United States is home to just 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but in 2010, it ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For once, scientists found good news about West Antarctica

For once, scientists found good news about West Antarctica

At least since 2014, the news has been dire: The West Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice, and its retreat may be unstoppable. It may be only a matter of time (granted, maybe a very long time) before it adds as much as 10 feet to global sea-level rise....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Zephyrhills bank robbed, suspect flees on bicycle

Deputies: Zephyrhills bank robbed, suspect flees on bicycle

A Suntrust Bank in Zephyrhills was robbed early Thursday afternoon, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.At about 12:50 p.m., deputies said, the man walked into the bank at 34511 State Road 54 and presented a note demanding money, though he...
Updated: 1 hour ago
First lady’s ‘I don’t care’ jacket causes a stir

First lady’s ‘I don’t care’ jacket causes a stir

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — First lady Melania Trump boarded a flight to a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents wearing a jacket that read "I really don’t care, do u?"The green hooded spring military jacket has the words written g...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Islanders hire Barry Trotz as coach fresh off winning Stanley Cup

Islanders hire Barry Trotz as coach fresh off winning Stanley Cup

DALLAS — The New York Islanders have hired Barry Trotz as their new head coach. President of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello announced the move Thursday at the NHL draft, two weeks after Trotz won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals and thr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 2 hours ago