In 2018, the three cities on anna maria island spent money on lawsuits that involved taxpayers and taxpayer money.
They mostly lost. And they paid some pretty big attorney bills.
The city of Anna Maria, fortunately, had insurance to help pay a $1 million settlement in late 2017 to a contractor who was libeled and prevailed in 2018 in its challenge against another contractor over inflated permit claims.
Holmes Beach is still paying to put to rest — and demolish — the treehouse built without permits, encroaching on city and state setbacks.
The treehouse owners even made an attempt to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal of a lower court decision that halted their attempt to get the treehouse put to a vote by the city electorate.
Now they are representing themselves — have the donations to their cause dried up? — to halt the city- imposed fine and to avoid the demolition order.
The local court is likely to spit out an angry order barring them from the courthouse.
And what will follow? A lawsuit by the city to recover its costs?
The treehouse owners should have come to the city begging for mercy years ago — and maybe their money could have gone toward dismantling the tree- house. They would have had a better shot at starting over and following the proper process.
And maybe they’d be lounging in the treetop by now.
Worst of all, Bradenton Beach is spending tax- payer money to the tune of more than $100,000 in a fight with its own city residents.
The six defendants resigned long ago as volunteer board members, after the city was convinced to join the lawsuit by its attorney, who hid the fact that the lawsuit was initiated by a bitter ex-mayor. The city attorney put blinders on the public during her presentation “for” the lawsuit. I’m just guessing, but maybe the commission majority knew what was going on before they voted to approve funding the lawsuit.
Now the depositions eat up more taxpayer money as city employees and officials are paid for time spent in legal offices rather than time on the job.
“City sues taxpayers” is a headline that should scare the people who live in a town that tolerates spite- ful officials who sue their citizens.
Those officials should hide in the treetops.
And taxpayers on Anna Maria Island should place a higher value on their votes