Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ford offers petitioners waiver to St. Petersburg Pier lawsuit

ST. PETERSBURG — Former City Council member Kathleen Ford has shifted tactics in her suit against the city that has enveloped more than 15,000 petitioners seeking a vote on the fate of the city's Pier.

The suit distressed numerous signers who learned of the legal entanglement after the fact, some from a postcard stating that they must be a part of the lawsuit either as a plaintiff or a defendant.

After an article ran in the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday, several people called to say the only reason they signed the petition was to have a say on the Pier, not to be involved in a lawsuit.

Ford, who did not return a telephone call or email seeking comment, is now offering at least some petitioners "a waiver of interest in lawsuit and agreement to be bound by final court decision."

But Michael P. Allen, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, does not think the new document, dated Jan. 5, will automatically solve the problem.

"Ms. Ford seems to, through the waiver, be trying to say, if you sign this, then you don't need to be a party. I don't think that can be squared with the judge's order," he said, referring to a December ruling by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Amy Williams that said each of the more than 15,000 petitioners is a necessary party to the case.

Ford's suit is just one snarl in an escalating quarrel about the city's decision to demolish the inverted pyramid, built in 1973, that serves as the city's Pier and replace it with a controversial $50 million project called the Lens.

This week, City Council member Wengay Newton, a staunch opponent of the project, accused city attorneys of kicking him out of a closed attorney-client session with other council members about the lawsuit. He also accused the city of targeting city employees who signed the petition. The mayor and city attorneys deny the accusations.

Ford filed her lawsuit last August, seeking to force the city to hold a referendum to amend its charter so as to "preserve and refurbish" the current Pier. The suit also seeks a temporary injunction to halt demolition of the structure pending the court's ruling and outcome of a vote.

She filed the suit days after City Council members declined to put the issue on the November ballot, despite an effort by the group voteonthepier.com that drew 15,652 certified petitioners.

In December, Williams ordered the case to mediation. The city, which has since said the suit was brought on behalf of people not seeking to be part of the legal action, wants it dismissed. It also is asking that the Jan. 18 mediation be postponed. That motion is scheduled to be heard Monday before Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Jack Day.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283.

Ford offers petitioners waiver to St. Petersburg Pier lawsuit 01/10/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 12:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]