ST. PETE BEACH ó The bucket containing millions of dollars of red ink the city poured into development-related legal fees over the past decade got a little smaller last week when its former attorneys agreed to return $567,000 they had been paid by the city.
The settlement will result in the dismissal of a malpractice lawsuit the city filed against the Bryant Miller Olive legal firm last year.
The suit alleged the law firm gave the city bad advice during closed meetings relating to resident James Andersonís legal challenge to city development regulations.
The lawsuit against BMO was filed following a 2nd District Court of Appeal ruling last year in a case filed by Anderson that found the City Commission had violated the state Sunshine Law during those closed meetings.
Not all of the settlement money will flow into city coffers, however, as the city must pay its attorney, Jim Rolfe, a 40 percent fee less $10,000, as well as about $25,000 in expenses. The net to the city will be about $325,000, according to City Attorney Andrew Dickman.