INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - The legal tumbrels now roll on the way to a denouement with the whole sad Grieshaber business, but there are those in this seaside city who watch the events with eagle eyes.
The Grieshaber is Al Grieshaber, the former city manager, who has been sued by the city, filed an answer to that action and then entered a counter-claim of his own.
What the eagle-eyed do not want, absolutely do not want and are dug in about is that they do not want any kind of settlement that avoids bringing to light the details of what happened in the Grieshaber case.
Grieshaber left with a considerable sum of money, paid for supposed "relocation" expenses. That has now been questioned and is the main thrust of the lawsuit in which he is a defendant.
The nub of it, once you wade through the legal rhetoric, is that Grieshaber either did a little "now you see it, now you don't prestidigitation" to get his hands on more than $15,000 - the amount the city is seeking to get back - or the amount paid to him was fully and correctly authorized by city officials.
Someone knows the exact answer to that, but no one is really talking in a way to make it plain.
But the eagle-eyed have made it plain. They want the full and unvarnished story.
Grieshaber's counter-claim involves his seeking what claims is about $4,500 in vacation compensation he never received.
Along the way, in the almost five months that he has been gone, there have been hints (slips of the tongue, really) about settlement attempts with Grieshaber, but every time that notion has emerged some alert burger in Indian Rocks Beach has said, "No way! Nothing doing!"
One of those alert to all these doings is Commissioner Jose Coppen, fresh from a spring vacation, who sent a message to the city's interim city manager, Steve Cottrell, Friday to the effect that in regard to the lawsuit, there should be a complete "discovery process in which the key players are deposed under oath rather than a white-washed settlement."
In that same message, Coppen pointed out that Grieshaber "gained access to the relocation check (some $13,000) by saying that the city attorney had authorized it in an August 15, 2006 e-mail. If he is not telling the truth, he defrauded the city."
Andy Salzman, the city attorney, denies ever giving any such authorization and claims that he never saw the e-mail.
On the other hand, as the talk goes, if Grieshaber acted perfectly appropriately (although an affidavit he submitted would not rise the level of the talent of a second grader it is so ludicrous) and the payment was authorized then there are some very serious questions to address.
Coppen suggested that a private meeting with the city lawyer be held June 5 to go over these points in the litigation and to emphasize avoiding some quick, "brushed under the rug" settlement.
That message of Coppen's sent early on Friday morning was responded to within hours, yay before the clock struck the 11th hour, by Mayor Bill Ockunzzi, equally refreshed by a spring vacation and now back in harness, who addressed a message to Deanne O'Reilly, presumably for distribution to city officials.
Ominously, the e-mail begins, "The general subject matter of Commissioner Coppen's e-mail to (Cottrell) . . . refects some of the reasons why I wanted the entire commission to discuss the settlement offered by the former CM's attorney."
That offer would have settled Grieshaber's claim for 50 cents on the dollar (something like $2,250) but would have wiped out everything else and there would be no production of information on what might have really happened in Grieshaber's final waltz in the city. Everything would have been tidied up and no information produced.
That is exactly what the eagle-eyed want to avoid.
Ockunzzi made clear in his Friday message to city hall that he wants no private meeting with the city lawyer, no examination of strategy, no pressing on a full discovery procedure.
And the eagle-eyed say they wonder why, but some observers feel they really know why the mayor is reluctant to have a full airing of everything.