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Lawsuit challenges Madeira Beach commission appointment

MADEIRA BEACH — The appointment of Housh Ghovaee to the City Commission earlier this month violated the Sunshine Law, according to a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court last week.

Residents Bill Gay and Cathy Moore are asking the court to effectively remove Ghovaee from the seat previously held by Pat Shontz.

Mayor Travis Palladeno and Commissioners Terry Lister and Nancy Hodges were specifically named in the lawsuit. Commissioner Elaine Poe, who voted against Ghovaee's appointment, was not listed.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys Ken Weiss and Timothy Weber, alleges the commission picked Ghovaee over two other applicants by secret ballot filled out before a public meeting and that he was formally appointed later without debate.

The legal action follows another lawsuit filed by the same lawyers on behalf of residents Jennifer McCoy Parker and Linda C. Hein, who allege the city violated its own laws and procedures in approving two hotel developments, the Holiday Isle Marina and the Madeira Beach Town Center. They are asking the court to invalidate the development agreements for those projects.