Questions For The Annual Meeting
Just how much of our money has the TAMPOA Board spent to date on the Southard street litigation on The Andersen Firms fees? How much on each lawyer from Andersen? How many hours has each lawyer put in that we were charged for? What is the hourly rate of each lawyer who has worked on the litigation?
Just how much money has the TAMPOA board spent on attorneys who are not from the Andersen Firm on the Southard Street litigation? How much on each lawyer? How many hours has each lawyer put in that we were charged for? What is the hourly rate of each lawyer who has worked on the litigation?
What amount of money is still owed the Andersen Firm for the Southard Street litigation? For other matters?
What amount of money is still owed other attorneys for the Southard street litigation? For other matters?
What does Andersen say will be the cost of future work through the trial of the law suit?
What does Andersen say will be the cost to go through Summary Judgment. (Often cases are decided by the judge without a trial when on certain issues there is no dispute among the parties over the material facts. For example, there may be no dispute about the fact that the City of Key West refused to honor the Contract it entered into with TAMPOA, but only whether the contract was a lawful one. The City's defense is that the contract was not lawful. The judge could decide this issue without a full blown trial, that is, decide the issue by awarding summary judgment to one side or the other.) So, let's find out what the attorneys' fees will be through summary judgment. They should be significantly less than a full blown trial.
What makes the TAMPOA Board think that the City will honor any settlement? After all the City failed to honor the last contract.
What makes the TAMPOA Board think that the City wants to settle the case?
Why are the TAMPOA attorneys, i.e., The Andersen Firm, taking 30 depositions? How will these depositions answer the question of who owns Southard Street, which is the City's primary defense to the litigation? Many of the witnesses to be deposed appear to have nothing to do with who owns the street, but appear to be witnesses to the incident at the guard house with Commissioner Lopez. Judge Mark Jones has already told TAMPOA that incident is not relevant to the current litigation and will have to be raised in a separate lawsuit. Is TAMPOA planning more litigation, like going to Federal Court on some cock-a-mamy reverse condemnation lawsuit? What is the estimate of the cost of that? And who will be the lawyers representing TAMPOA? The Andersen Firm?
What efforts, if any, have been made to rain in the Andersen Firm and limit spending on the Southard street litigation? What instructions have been given the firm about its billing practices, such as itemizing the specific work done, the hours expended, the name of the lawyer performing the work, and the hourly billing rate of the attorney. We have had occasion to see some of the Andersen Firm's billing in the past and it has been very general -- more on the order of "For Professional Services: X dollars." Only a naive client would accept such a bill in major litigation.
Is the gate on Southard Street still a matter of contention with the City? What were the specific proposals made to the City about the gate? (We're not talking about the flapping arms which every knows the City would never agree to, much less issue permits for). Was the gate part of the proposal give to Commissioner Verge in this latest round of failed negotiations?
Why, if Tukey knows, did Shawn Smith and Verge reject this latest offer, which seemed like a pretty sweet deal for the City?
Since, if you want to believe the Citizen, which we don't, Verge appeared to disagree with TAMPOA's proposal, why was the proposal ever made in the first place, unless Verge did a switch-a-roo at the last minute? If this happened and Verge was initially in favor of the proposal, what makes the TAMPOA Board think that it can trust anything that Verge says? Remember, he voted against the last mediated settlement after assuring all he favored it? Why does the TAMPOA Board think it can trust the City at all? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the City Commissioners hate TAMPOA and Truman Annex; are going to do what they want; have no intention of settling the Southard Street dispute; and when the case goes to trial, will blame any adverse outcome on the judge and appeal, while residents of the Annex and the rest of Key West finance the adventure.
Has the very real possibility occurred to the attorneys the TAMPOA Board has representing them that TAMPOA could win the lawsuit with the City and still lose the Southard Street controversy, that is, obtain a ruling that TAMPOA owns Southard Street, but come out worse for it.? It all has to do with a concept called equity. Southard Street has been open and a two-way street since the beginning of Truman Annex. A judge could find that TAMPOA owns Southard street but then rule that the street is to be two way and must stay accessible to all, including the Navy, 24 / 7. While the City would have breached the contract it had with TAMPOA, there would be no consequences, except that the court would rule TAMPOA owns the street. Thus, TAMPOA would have spent, by that time, a million or more with nothing to show for it. In short, the equities would favor keeping the status quo, and our money spent on the litigation would have been wasted.
What is the new TAMPOA Board planning to do as far as who negotiates with the City? Are they prepared to let someone other than Tom Tukey play that role? The reality is that the City residents hate Tom Tukey, as does the City Commission, despite what Verge may say to his face. A new negotiator might be helpful in changing the negotiation climate. This is nothing personal against Tukey, but merely a recognition that as a negotiator, he has done all he can, and it's time for a substitution.
What has the Navy said about the gate? Has it said that there must be access 24 / 7 ? If so, how will pedestrian Navy personnel be accommodated when they want to come past the guard house in the wee hours of the morning? Will they have gate keys or will the guardhouse be open 24 hours a day?
What plans, if any, does the TAMPOA Board have to improve communication with the TAMPOA membership? Is the Board going to improve the TAMPOA website?
At a minimum the TAMPOA Board should have to respond to these questions from the membership. If you go to the Annual Meeting, don't let the Board off the hook. Get some answers!