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Date of Issue: May 26, 2010

Anderson calls Barford ‘despicable’

Attorney Jeremy Anderson, who represents Robert and Nicky Hunt of 303 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, called Mayor Fran Barford “despicable” in a letter to the city May 19.

Anderson claims the mayor stepped outside her authority when she asked attorney Ricinda Perry, who represents Pine Avenue Restoration LLC, to provide the Department of Community Affairs with “additional information on behalf of the city.”

Anderson represents the Hunts in a complaint to the DCA regarding the city’s method of calculating density in the ROR.

But Barford said Anderson has his facts wrong and never bothered to call her about the issue.

“That’s not the way it happened,” she countered.

Barford said PAR principal Mike Coleman initiated the contact and asked her if Perry could provide city attorney Jim Dye with information about density that might prove useful to the DCA to make an informed decision.

“I told him I had no objection to him contacting Dye but he’d better make it a quick call,” Barford said.

The mayor said she never asked Perry for assistance with the DCA and neither Perry or Coleman ever asked to contact the DCA on behalf of the city.

“They never said they wanted to e-mail the DCA on the city’s behalf. I would never authorize that for the city. I know what I can and can’t do. I know better than that,” Barford said.

 “I wish Anderson had called me about this, but he never does,” she said.

“Apparently there was some miscommunication between Coleman and Perry,” Barford observed.

Barford is not aware of whether Perry called Dye on the subject.

Perry said she sent the letter to the DCA merely to provide further information about how density in the city is calculated and why. It was a mischaracterization to say the information was provided on behalf of the city, she indicated. Her efforts to reach Dye prior to her DCA letter of April 23 were unsuccessful, she said.

Perry said further that Anderson has taken her letter too far.

“I’m not quite sure what’s wrong. We did this for free, we didn’t charge the city, and anyone can contact the DCA with additional information about a complaint.”

She said Anderson’s description of Barford as “despicable” was “unprofessional, odd and inappropriate.”

Barford noted that the city and PAR are not together on the density issue with the DCA. “We each have to look after our own interests,” she said.

The mayor also objected to Anderson’s characterization of her hugging a major developer at city hall as somehow inappropriate.

“There are two people I don’t hug. Jeremy Anderson and Michael Coleman. So I don’t know who he’s talking about.”

Anderson warned in his May 19 letter that he was “reviewing” the ethics laws to determine if any violations had occurred.

The DCA website states that anyone can contact the DCA with information about an investigation or issue. The DCA will listen, but it doesn’t have to take anyone’s advice, information or counsel into consideration.

Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus has also e-mailed the DCA regarding the density issue.

And Anderson also represents Barbara and William Nally in a lawsuit against the city related to PAR site plan.