Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Indian Rocks Beach wins lawsuit, loses money as a result

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — More than two years after suing a former city manager, it appears the city will spend much more money than it says the manager was improperly paid.

Thus far, the city has spent $33,734 in legal fees in its effort to get back the $15,650.05 it says former City Manager Al Grieshaber Jr. overcharged the city for compensatory time and reimbursed moving expenses.

The city won its case in court, but also was ordered to pay Grieshaber the $6,620.70 in vacation pay the city withheld when the dispute began in 2007.

The city, therefore, will net $9,029.35 from the split jury award.

It is legally barred from getting back any of its legal fees. The city does hope to get back $3,227.18 in court costs.

In the best case, this would result in the city getting back $12,256.53, or only about one-third of its legal costs.

The city's loss on its legal investment could increase even further, however, if Grieshaber wins his effort to force the city to pay part or all of the $31,866.05 he spent on attorney's fees and court costs.

City Attorney Maura Kiefer told the City Commission last month that Circuit Judge John A. Schaefer says Grieshaber should be limited to no more than one-third of his legal expenses, since he lost the major part of the case.

That would mean the city might have to pay Grieshaber $10,622.02, reducing the city's best-case net return to $1,634.51.

No money has yet changed hands, and a court hearing is scheduled for January.

City Attorney Maura Kiefer defended the city's decision to pursue Grieshaber in court.

"I still stand behind what the city for what they did. Everybody complains about government waste, and here is the city trying to do something about it. The jury did find Grieshaber made negligent representations to the city," she said.

Grieshaber, who is general manager at Sun n' Lake, an improvement district near Sebring in Highlands County, resigned his post in Indian Rocks Beach in 2006, less than a year after he was hired.

Shortly after his announced resignation, but before he actually left, the city questioned several checks it had issued Grieshaber for moving expenses. The city said the expenses were not properly documented.

Grieshaber never provided that documentation, instead signing an affidavit that the money was spent only for moving expenses. He told the city he had traded personal goods and/or cash to friends and individuals who helped him move.

Grieshaber also maintained that his contract was "not subject to interpretation" and allowed him to take whatever comp time he deemed appropriate.

Grieshaber was the second in a series of city managers who quit over disputes with the City Commission.

John Coffey, who was promoted to city manager in 2003, resigned in 2005 after coming under sharp criticism for his handling of the firing and subsequent rehiring of a popular building official.

Grieshaber was replaced by Steve Cottrell, who resigned after less than a year, saying he "regretted" taking the job.

The current city manager, Chuck Coward, remains popular and has not experienced the difficulties experienced by his predecessors.

Indian Rocks Beach wins lawsuit, loses money as a result 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 3:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. North Korean missile launch may be testing rivals, not technology


    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea's latest missile test Monday may have less to do with perfecting its weapons technology than with showing U.S. and South Korean forces in the region that it can strike them at will.

    A woman watches a TV screen showing a file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday,. North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile that landed in Japan's maritime economic zone Monday, officials said, the latest in a string of test launches as the North seeks to build nuclear-tipped ICBMs that can reach the U.S. mainland. [AP Photo/Lee Jin-man]
  2. PolitiFact: Fact-checking Samantha Bee on Florida felonies

    State Roundup

    Comedian Samantha Bee traveled to Florida, where she says "retirees and democracy go to die," to shed light on how the state makes it difficult for felons to regain the right to vote.

    Samantha Bee hosts Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS. Bee portrayed some of Florida’s felonies as not so serious on her show.
  3. For some, Memorial Day comes around more than just once a year


    ST. PETERSBURG — It is shortly before nine on a Friday morning, and the heat is already approaching unbearable levels at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

    Iles carefully digs up the St. Augustine grass so that it will continue to grow when it is placed back on the gravesite. He tries not to disturb the root base.
  4. State budget uncertainty has school districts 'very concerned'


    While waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to approve or veto the Legislature's education budget, the people in charge of school district checkbooks are trying hard to find a bottom line.

    It has not been easy.

    The unsettled nature of Florida’s education budget has left school districts with questions about how they will make ends meet next year. []
  5. Ernest Hooper: Removing Confederate symbols doesn't eliminate persistent mindset

    Human Interest

    The debate has begun about removing a Confederate statue from outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse, and its removal is long overdue.

    Robert E. Lee Elementary, 305 E. Columbus Drive in Tampa, originally opened its doors in the early 1910s as the Michigan Avenue Grammar School. [Times file]