BELLEAIR BLUFFS – Mark Naedel, who appears to be the chief spokesman for his family in its fight with the city, appeared at the City Commission Monday night apparently loaded for bear, but nary bagged a rabbit.
In a meeting that was largely devoted to routine business, other than a plea from Peter Ferrara that a light be installed near the Harbor Club condominiums when the new bridge is built, Naedel’s performance was an example of what could have been a blaze being quickly extinguished.
Naedel showed up with a stenotype reporter and an armload of materials for distribution to the commission and press and gave the impression that a full-dress legal proceeding was about to unfold.
That created a mystery because there was nothing on the agenda in reference to the months-long battle over the property on Bluff View.
It all began simply enough with a city contention that there was a code violation and has worked its way through the courts to the point where Naedel’s mother, Barbara Granholm, the property owner and defendant in the court action, is facing fines of almost half a million dollars or more as a result of defying a court’s order.
The fine situation is in the nature of a contempt of court. The parties agreed to a stipulation in May and this was never carried out by the defendant.
The court entered an order and a deadline for performance and that has come and gone. The order listed a $5,000 a day fine for every day compliance is not met.
Judge Brandt Downey is scheduled to hear the city’s motion for sanctions in January by which time fines will have amounted to $455,000.
Naedel had a chance to speak Monday night only because the agenda allows citizen comments. But a citizen is limited to three minutes and Naedel could not possibly present the mountain of material he apparently was prepared to exhibit.
When four minutes had gone by Debra Sullivan, the city clerk, called the clock on Naedel. Mayor Chris Arbutine allowed Naedel to complete reading a letter he had sent to Arbutine.
That letter attacked Arbutine and Tom Trask, the city’s lawyer, using such terms as “vicious behavior,” “terrorizing elderly widow,” “extorting $445,000,” etc.
Ironically, the epistle ended with “Respectfully Yours.”
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