IRB Litigation Foe Makes Offer of Settlement But Facts Need to Come Out
by Leo Coughlin
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - The city's litigation against its former city manager, Al Grieshaber, seems to be dragging, but this often is the nature of lawsuits.
"Dilatory" is a word that may not be familiar to Mr. and Mrs. Citizen, but it ranks high in the vocabulary of lawyers; right up there with "deny."
In short, Indian Rocks Beach is suing Grieshaber, now ensconced in a similar job in mid-Central Florida, due west of here, for the return of funds the city claims that Grieshaber should not have received.
Grieshaber has filed a counter claim in which he seeks money he did not receive but says he is entitled to.
That is the gravamen of the case.
Now comes Grieshaber's lawyer and makes an offer that both parties drop all claims and thus vacate the suit.
What is really at stake for Indian Rocks Beach - its elected and appointed officials and the citizens is getting to the bottom of the whole story and find out who did what and when.
That has to be the overriding concern in the city because the city's effort to get money returned does not stand much of a chance.
A look at the whole case reveals that disposition could well go in Grieshaber's favor. Why he wants to drop everything is a puzzlement.
The grounding of it all goes back to the contract Grieshaber had with the city. It allowed him to do just about anything he wanted.
He could be the own judge of his compensatory time; he was entitled to receive money for relocation; he had free rein with a city vehicle; no constraints whatever were put on him. And he took full advantage.
In fact, he got well more than $13,000 in relocation money which the city now wants returned. But some observers of legal matters find scant chance of this.
First off, Grieshaber can argue that he was entitled to the money as a matter of contract; the money has already been paid; city officials accepted a laughable affidavit (so bad and clumsy and non-legal it defies description) in support of the payment.
Arcane words in the law like estoppel and waiver might apply here.
As to Grieshaber's claim, he says that as a matter of contract he is entitled to money the city failed to pay him at the time of his separation from employment last January.
It would seem he has the best of that, too, as a matter of contract.
What the city wants to do is repudiate a contract that was poorly done in the first place.
Not much has been done on the lawsuit so far. Discovery is no where near completion. Some questions have been raised on the relationship of one of the lawyers to an IRB official who is certainly involved as a witness.
A settlement would sweep key information under the rug putting possibly implicated persons in safe harbor and the whole mess would have become a colossal waste of time.
Settlements often result when people get tired of having the subject around - "The heck with it; let's move on" is the sentiment.
There is strong sentiment in Indian Rocks Beach that the case not be settled, that all avenues of it be fully explored and that all the chips fall as they may.
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