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The evidence shows lawsuit is an anomaly

Published Sep. 26, 2005

The idea that Seminole might be sued by the Indian Rocks Fire District over its placement of a new fire station, or that Seminole might sue Indian Rocks to settle the dispute quickly is nearly unprecedented in this city.

City Attorney John Elias said he can't recall any lawsuits by or against the city of about 10,000 residents in his 18-year tenure. There was one auto negligence suit stemming from a Fire Department wreck, he said, but that happened before the city took over the Fire Department from the independent Seminole Fire District.

A handful of people have threatened to sue the city over the years, Elias said, but they never followed through, leaving Seminole litigation-free.

"I guess you could say it's because they have a good lawyer," Elias said with a smile.

SOME DISCOUNT: Dunedin City Commissioner Janet Henderson was surprised and delighted last week when the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office told her that three people were arrested in connection with a break-in at her home and that her stolen jewelry was found.

The theft occurred the morning of Jan. 14 while Henderson and her husband, Clearwater business man Phil Henderson, attended a Chamber of Commerce breakfast downtown. He returned home later that morning to find the house in disarray.

Initially, Mrs. Henderson thought the burglars had taken three pieces of jewelry valued at $3,000. But she said that as the week went on, she found more and more pieces missing. She estimates the jewelry was valued at $4,000.

After making the arrests, sheriff's detectives found her jewelry in a Tampa pawnshop.

But the kicker is, to avoid delays in getting the merchandise back, "I had to buy it back from the pawnshop," Henderson said. "Cash."

She paid the pawnshop what it paid for the rings and bracelet _ the bargain price of $320.

_ Times staff writers Wilma Norton and Deborah O'Neil contributed to this report.