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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Rumors of lawsuits floating around Bradenton Beach

Legal thunderstorms may be looming on the horizon of Bradenton Beach.

Rumors of lawsuits against the city have been floating around for a week or more. Nothing has been filed in court as yet, but attorney David Wilcox has admitted that "given the events of the last several weeks, we are examining our alternatives and will be making a decision in the near future."

Wilcox demurred to answer questions regarding "events," "we" and "alternatives." However, there are several possible matters that could bear legal scrutiny.

Former Building Official Bob Welch resigned from the city effective Jan. 2, stating in part that "actions by public official have made it impossible for me to continue working for the city." He highlighted a letter written by City Commissioner Lisa Marie Phillips and actions by Vice Mayor Anna O'Brien in his letter of resignation.

Welch retained the services of Wilcox at that time.

Resident Ronald Ockerman was involved in a "verbal argument" with Phillips Jan 3. on 22nd Street in what has been described as a road-rage incident. Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene and, after an investigation, closed the case with no charges filed.

Ockerman retained the services of Wilcox at that time.