Hard to keep up with Comp Plan, Lake Point lawsuits

An illness and unexpected hospitalization of one of the lead attorneys challenging Martin County’s Comp Plan rewrites resulted in postponement of the administrative law hearings set to begin Feb. 13; they will begin instead on April 14.

Martin County and the other three landowners currently challenging the Comp Plan amendments agreed to the postponement.

Commissioner Sarah Heard’s hearing in a separate case filed by Lake Point remains set for Feb. 24 in Martin County Circuit Court, although Ethan Loeb. of Smolker, Bartlett, Schlosser, Loeb & Hinds, P.A., in Tampa, who fell ill earlier this week, also is the lead attorney in that case.

Heard’s hearing will determine if she will be compelled to sit for a deposition to explain missing email correspondence with former Commissioner Maggy Hurchalla regarding the Lake Point Water Restoration Project from her private email account, along with her efforts to retrieve the missing emails.

A court decision compelling her to provide either copies of the emails, or an explanation of her attempts at recovery of them was issued last fall.

The evidence from Heard’s hearing, according to court records, is important to Lake Point’s case against former County Commissioner Maggy Hurchalla for allegedly making false statements to county commissioners with the intention of interfering with Lake Point’s ability to conduct business. Lake Point filed suit at the same time against Martin County and the South Florida Water Management District for breach of contract.

Lake Point filed a motion in January seeking permission from the court to amend its lawsuit to charge Martin County with tortious interference. A public records request filed by Lake Point with County Attorney Michael Durham asked for copies of all correspondence, public and private, between three county commissioners and Hurchalla regarding Lake Point. Apparently the request was ignored for a year.

Martin County filed a motion to dismiss the amended motion, which was denied by Judge James McCann on Jan. 29.

In another unexpected twist this week, Hurchalla’s insurance company that covers her for liability, filed suits against her, Lake Point and Martin County claiming that they are not liable for Hurchalla’s legal expenses; Hurchalla says they are.

An executive session among County Attorney Michael Durham and the County Commissioners in the Lake Point cases is on the agenda for the County Commission’s February 18 meeting.