Thursday, January 09, 2014

Eric Soroka's Sweetheart Deal -- Enbar Cohen, why did you vote for this?

I wrote about this recently - January 02.

I found this article in the Biscayne Times, written by Jay Beskin, same topic different info (It will make you sick):
Eric Soroka, Aventura City Manager, with his wife Teresa, Aventura City Clerk.
It takes a long time for lawsuits to wend their way through the court system. The plaintiff files the complaint, the defendant states that the plaintiff hasn’t made a case. The plaintiff amends the complaint to surmount the defendant’s objections.

The plaintiff or defendant, or both, then claim in a motion for summary judgment that there are no important facts in dispute, and that the moving party is entitled to win based upon the law. If the judge denies the motion for summary judgment, there is endless discovery to find out what the facts really are: requests for admissions of facts, interrogatories, depositions, notices to produce.

On and on it will go until if, on the eve of trial, the parties settle; or if not, the actual trial. The trial is supposed to settle the matter, unless the losing party believes that the trial judge made an error that affected the trial’s result.

Then the losing party appeals the verdict. There are the notice of appeal, the appealing party’s brief, the respondent’s brief, the appealing party’s reply brief to the respondent’s brief, and then the oral argument before the court.

Almost 14 months ago, Katherine Murphy, the former principal of the Aventura City of Excellence charter school, persuaded a jury of her peers to award her $155 million against the City of Aventura and city manager Eric Soroka for harassment and unjust termination that ruined Murphy’s health and reputation. It was one of the largest verdicts ever against a municipality, and the fourth-largest jury verdict in the United States in 2012.

The verdict included $500,000 in punitive damages assessed against Soroka specifically. Not even a week after the trial, though, the judge overturned the jury’s verdict and left Murphy with nothing. Of course, the judge’s ruling supported the city’s defense that neither the city nor Soroka had engaged in any impropriety. To Murphy and her lawyers, the ruling was grievously flawed and Murphy filed an appeal. We still await the decision of the appeals court.

Curiously, this past July 17, the Aventura City Commission did something that belies its own position. Someone is nervous and wants to hedge his bets. By a vote of 6-1 (Mayor Susan Gottlieb in the minority), the commission amended Soroka’s employment agreement to provide that in the event that he loses the punitive damages portion ($500,000) of the appeal, the city will pay for any amounts assessed against him.

In other words, if the appeals court finds that Soroka acted badly -- so badly, in fact, that he costs the city tens of millions of dollars -- the city will reward him by ensuring that he will never be out of pocket for even one cent. Aventura tax dollars will be hard at work for its residents!


Anonymous said...

How much has this cost the city already legal fees? Some say he has a history of this behavior. Could this be part of a golden parachute?

Plus Heyman quietly pushing for incorporation of neighboring Highland Oaks. Incorporation always a tough sell, Horror stories from other recently incorporated towns make voters hesitant

Anonymous said...

I don't like municipal governments. I like county commissions that sit locally, but have to run for election county-wide.

Anonymous said...

Wow. The lawyers are making a fortune. The taxpayers are getting screwed.