That is what some Truman Annex residents are asking about TAMPOA's assurances that it owns Southard Street. It seems that there are still some TAMPOA members who are wondering if TAMPOA really has proof that it owns Southard Streeet. They are wondering whether there is "specific documentation" that exists that shows this to be the case and have asked TAMPOA to show it to them.
According to Tom Tukey, President of TAMPOA, "We own all the streets within the HPRD (Truman Annex) including Southard and anyone, including Commissioners, who recklessly states otherwise may be committing slander of title." Slander of Title? Oh, please! Take me back to the middle ages of American or English law.(This had to be one of those legalisms from TAMPOA legal). Well, of course, the City has denied that TAMPOA owns Southard, so maybe the City is slandering the title too, among all its other alleged misdeeds. And this is the stuff of which lawsuits are made and money is needlessly spent. Assert, counter-assert, allege, counter-allege -- the "dance" goes on.
From our perspective and the perspective of many Annex residents, the real question is "when will we see the beef?" If TAMPOA owns the street, then let's see the hard evidence. Mr. Tukey says it's there, but if it is, why are we not looking at it? Isn't it in the interest of everyone to get this matter over with?
What we don't understand is why, if as Tukey asserts, ownership of Southard is a done deal, why TAMPOA has not filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on this issue -- asking the Court to award a judgment to TAMPOA without a trial because the fact of ownership is not seriously in dispute. In fact, if TAMPOA owns Southard, and TAMPOA has the "beef" on that, why has TAMPOA not filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the whole lawsuit? This could have been done months (or years) ago, and we would have an answer by now.
What irritates a lot of people is that who actually owns Southard street is just a side issue in the whole dispute with the City -- an issue the City raised among it's assorted, and sometimes flakey, defenses. And the TAMPOA lawyers have let the City get away with this for so long without moving for Summary Judgment. Why? Because TAMPOA wanted to be kind, generous, good hearted, and liked to spend money? We don't think so. TAMPOA lawyers have now spent a bunch of money and taken some 34 depositions. Now what? When are they going to the next and obvious step?
The real -- and the only real -- issue in the lawsuit is whether the City violated it's agreement with TAMPOA. This is a fairly simple question and should not take months or cost a million dollars to to put before the judge to decide.
As for the City, we think the City is bluffing, just as it did in the Duck Tours case, and Key West Citizens eventually are going to be led down the primrose path to nowhere and loss of the waterfront property by this Commission, but in the interim, the City has played a masterful game of Poker with very few good cards and a little rope-a-dope thrown in for good measure. You've gotta love the theater.