New lawsuit against Martin County


From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor:

Ethan Loeb, the attorney who prosecuted the Lake Point lawsuit against Martin County and Maggy Hurchalla, has filed a new lawsuit against Martin County alleging breach of contract and tortious interference with contract on behalf of a recycling company that provided services at the County landfill.

The suit (attached) claims that the County engaged in unethical and wrongful conduct in allowing a company owned by the son-in-law of former landfill manager Patrick Yancey to be awarded a no-bid contract to haul materials from the landfill with the knowledge and consent of former public utilities director John Polley.

The complaint says the County Administrator and other staff were aware of the improper conduct but failed to disclose the relationship between Yancey (who resigned from the County earlier this year after a County Clerk’s audit of the landfill disclosed a number of irregularities) and his son-in-law’s company.  Polley retired from the County several months ago with a “retirement agreement” that apparently was intended to shield him from responsibility for any of the irregularities.

The lawsuit alleges that public records were destroyed by the County after a preservation notice was sent by Loeb demanding that all records related to the dispute be saved.  

Late last week, County Attorney Sarah Woods responded to a demand from Loeb for pre-suit mediation rejecting Loeb’s selection of Cynthia Angelos to mediate the dispute.  Angelos was the mediator in the Lake Point case that produced a multi-million windfall for Loeb’s client, Lake Point, in settlements with the County and South Florida Water Management District which include guarantees of no-bid contracts for Lake Point to supply aggregate for public projects.

The County, pursuant to the terms of the subject contract, selected a Supreme Court certified mediator, but Loeb responded by filing the lawsuit rather than engage in settlement discussions supervised by someone other than his chosen mediator.

It will be interesting to see whether the County Commission majority jumps at the chance to give away still more taxpayer dollars to settle another tortious interference lawsuit filed by Loeb.  

One candidate for election, Stacey Hetherington, was represented by Loeb’s law firm during her deposition in the Lake Point case in which she testified on behalf of Lake Point and against the County.

The lawsuit names the County as well as Polley, Yancey, and Yancey’s son-in-law’s company as defendants.

View the filing: JUSTIN.LAWSUIT (1)

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