Thursday, March 22, 2007

Judge throws out Alachua election hopefuls' petition

Sun staff writer

A circuit judge on Monday dismissed a petition that would have allowed Alachua City Commission candidate Charlie Grapski to run against Mayor Jean Calderwood rather than Commissioner Bonnie Burgess in the city's April 10 election.

Attorneys Gary Edinger and Joe Little had filed the petition on behalf of Grapski and Michael Perkins, also a commission candidate, on Friday. It asked that a judge order the city to allow Grapski to run against Calderwood rather than Burgess.

The city last month disqualified Grapski and Perkins, who had filed to run against Burgess, and Lowell T. "Bud" Byrd, who filed to run against Calderwood, from competing in the election, claiming their paperwork was improperly filed.

The three candidates filed a legal challenge to that decision March 6. The next day, the city called an emergency meeting to extend its qualifying period to allow the three to "correct deficiencies" in their paperwork.


At the Monday afternoon hearing, Roundtree addressed a trespass order the city had issued Grapski on Feb. 12 after city officials said he was disruptive when seeking public records at City Hall.

Grapski had filed an injunction to overturn the trespass order, which prohibited Grapski from returning to City Hall. But the city filed a response to the injunction that said the warning prohibited Grapski from coming back to City Hall only the day it was issued. Edinger said he wasn't sure that's what the city originally intended, but said he planned to dismiss the injunction anyway.

"I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth," Edinger said.

Attorney Robert Rush, who represented the city, said the trespass order was clearly worded to apply only to the day it was issued.

Click the title to go to the original article.

Thanks to Denise at Howard Empowered for the link.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Civil Court | 201 East University Ave. | Third Floor

Judge Robert Roundtree will be taking action tomorrow (Monday March 19) on a number of cases involving legal disputes between citizens and Alachua city officials. The public is welcome to attend this hearing.

The Alachua cases currently before the Circuit Court include the following:

  1. a lawsuit challenging an unconstitutional trespass order against Charlie Grapski;

  2. a lawsuit filed by Charlie Grapski and Michael Canney claiming violations of open records laws by Alachua officials, involving abuse of the consent agenda and public records violations;

  3. a lawsuit filed by Charlie Grapski claiming that Clovis Watson's employment as City Manager and Police Commissioner violates Florida's constitutional prohibition of dual office holding;

  4. a false arrest civil suit filed by Charlie Grapski against Watson and the City of Alachua for a wrongful felony arrest in City Hall on May 1, 2006.

A lawsuit by Eileen McCoy and other Alachua voters claiming election fraud and misconduct in Alachua's 2006 city commission election is on appeal after being dismissed by Judge Roundtree on a technicality.

Grapski trespass order
Judge Roundtree will hold a non-evidentiary hearing on the City of Alachua's trespass order against Charlie Grapski, issued on February 12 by APD Chief Robert Jernigan and APD officer Jimmy Smith on orders from Clovis Watson. Grapski, who had gone to City Hall to request public records, was told he would be arrested if he returned to the City Hall property for a period of one year. He and attorney Gary Edinger filed a challenge to the trespass order, claiming it is an illegal infringement of Grapski's constitutional rights, and should be nullified by the Court.

Case status conference
Judge Roundtree has asked that the cases involving the City of Alachua be conjoined, and a case status conference will be held tomorrow to determine what the next step will be in the lawsuits. A new mandamus petition was filed on Friday March 16 by Alachua city commission candidates Mike Perkins and Charlie Grapski, replacing an earlier writ that was filed following the city's disqualification of three candidates. It is not clear whether Judge Roundtree will take any action on the mandamus writ on Monday.

For more information search these websites:

- Renee*in*Ohio

Labels: , ,