Longboat Key town commissioners and a property owner contesting a record code enforcement fine found middle ground Monday, thanks to the possibility of litigation.
“We’re not here to rattle any swords; we’re not here to make any threats,” said attorney Morgan Bentley, who was offering to settle property owner Randy Mann’s $49,100 code violation liens for $25,000. “We’re here to try to make a deal and get this thing back on track.”
The Town Commission and Mann ultimately settled for a $37,500 payment within 10 days.
Still, as town commissioners debated whether to seek the full fine, Bentley said doing so would lead Mann to pursue a write of certiorari appealing the town’s Nov. 7 decision to deny a lien reduction for his property, 549 Hornblower Lane. Mann, using the firm Airmann LLC, originally sought to have the fine to be reduced by half after investing $170,000 renovating the residence.
“I’m not going to tell you how much (Town Attorney Maggie Mooney-Portale) will charge you, but it’s a $20,000 to $40,000 item — it just is,” Bentley said of potential legal fees.
But Mooney-Portale said she disagreed that Mann could successfully challenge the the reduction denial, and that he would incur greater legal fees during the process than the town.
“They will have the burden of bringing the case forward to the court to have it heard and we will be the respondent in that action,” she said during the meeting.
Mann has listed the home for sale for $1.8 million, and bought a unit in the Ritz-Carlton residences, Sarasota for $2.8 million in October.
“The commission has the right to settle any disputed claim,” said Mooney-Portale Tuesday. “They elected last night to control their own destiny.”
Earlier: Two months after the Longboat Key Town Commission upheld a $49,100 code enforcement fine for a Country Club Shores homeowner, representatives of Randy Mann will return with a $25,000 settlement offer.
At tonight’s meeting, town commissioners will hear a request from Mann’s attorney Morgan Bentley to settle liens on 549 Hornblower Lane.
Mann accrued the record fine for three code violations that occurred over periods ranging from 160 to 219 days. The Code Enforcement Board recommended the fine be upheld in October.
• A deteriorating, rusty fence. A $100 fine per day was imposed June 8, 2015, after no response to notices.
• Roof and drainage issues. A $100 fine per day was imposed June 8, 2015, after no response received.
• Unsound stairs. Daily fine of $50 imposed Nov. 16, 2015, after no response.