Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In St. Pete Beach, Metz sues Garnett to force refund

ST. PETE BEACH — The long-running fight over development rules took another turn Friday when former Vice Mayor Harry Metz sought a court ruling to force current City Commissioner Beverly Garnett to refund more than $4,000 in legal fees that the city paid for her.

Metz contends that the payment was unconstitutional and Garnett "intentionally defrauded" taxpayers, "fraudulently induced" the city to pay her legal fees, and "breached her fiduciary duty to taxpayers."

Garnett could not be reached for comment.

Metz says the city's payment of Garnett's legal fees is an "injustice to taxpayers." His lawyer is Ken Weiss, who also represents residents Bill Pyle, Bruce Kadoura and Richard McCormick, who, either individually or collectively, filed about half a dozen lawsuits against the city and the citizens group Save Our Little Village in an attempt to block implementation of a voter-approved comprehensive plan.

So far, the lawsuits Weiss filed on behalf of his clients have cost the city more than $300,000.

SOLV proposed a referendum changing the city's comprehensive plan and redevelopment regulations. The referendum passed in 2008.

Garnett was a member of SOLV and was named individually in one of the lawsuits. She was sued, she said, "as a harassing tactic" because she was running for a seat on the commission. SOLV's attorneys started out representing her, but after Garnett took office as a city commissioner, City Attorney Michael Davis advised her to hire her own lawyer.

The commission approved paying about $4,000 in legal bills that Garnett incurred after being elected to the commission in March 2009.

At the time, Davis told the commission that she was entitled to be reimbursed for attorney's fees because they arose out of her commission duties.

Before Metz was elected to the commission, he was a member of Citizens for Responsible Growth, a group opposed to extensive redevelopment, particularly of high-rise hotels and condominiums.

Metz, who originally sued both Garnett and the city in December, voluntarily dismissed the city as a defendant in the case earlier in the week.

In a letter to the city's attorneys, Weiss said Metz did not want to add to the city's legal bills.

He said Metz's offer to dismiss the suit against Garnett as well was rejected when Garnett refused to agree to pay her own legal fees in the suit.

In St. Pete Beach, Metz sues Garnett to force refund 05/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 28, 2010 5:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Allegiant Air reports $400 million in revenue for second quarter

    Allegiant Air CEO Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. | [Courtesy of Tony Jannus Aviation Society]
  2. Dade City's Wild Things touts cub encounters as conservation, but experts say they lead to too many tigers languishing in cages


    DADE CITY — A lifelong animal lover, Lisa Graham was intrigued when she saw photos on social media of friends cuddling and petting baby tigers at zoos.

    A tiger named Andy is seen at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Big Cat Rescue is a nonprofit sanctuary committed to humane treatment of rescued animals, often coming from exploitive for-profit operations. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times

  3. Once close to death in Ukraine, sick girl finds hope in Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    Everything was packed for Walt Disney World. Clothes for three nights. The pressurized air vest and pump that travel with her. The dress she would wear to meet Cinderella.

    Marina Khimko, 13, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment Dec. 7 at the Shriners Hospital for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  4. What you need to know for Thursday, July 27


    href=""> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Marina Khimko, now 14, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment at the Shriners Hospitals for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]
  5. Colors and culture in Cuba overwhelm first-time visitor


    I landed in Havana with many questions about what we would witness in our brief visit. There was so much rich history and culture I wanted to experience, but the stories I had heard from Cuban refugees rang in my brain. After the death of Fidel Castro, some Cuban immigrants danced in the streets of Tampa and told …

    Havana is a photographer's dream. Bright colors abound, from the walls to the classic cars to the streets filled with tourists, musicians and locals. All of these elements are a part of photographs that were so rare for Americans to capture until very recently. I loved photographing this scene in front of this perfect yellow wall.