Monday, February 12, 2018

Maggy Hurchalla on trial in Martin County ... by gimleteye

The following is from Donna Melzer, a Martin County activist following the trial of Miami-native Maggy Hurchalla.

We've written about Maggy's contributions to Florida at length. You can read our archive, by clicking here. This week, Miami realtor/rock miner George Lindemann Jr. has been called by the defense as a material witness to claims that his company suffered damage from Hurchalla's alleged interference in a contract that has -- despite the lawsuit -- proven extraordinarily lucrative for him.

Last year the Miami environmental group founded by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Friends of the Everglades, gave Hurchalla its highest honor: Defender of the Everglades. (I am a volunteer board member and conservation chair of the organization.)

COMPLY WITH THE COURT DIRECTION: TREAT THIS AS YOU WOULD A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE. I do not intend nor believe that I am sending to any juror, but just in case...

Yesterday Was the START of Maggy Hurchalla's Story Being Told
(Monday - Thursday were about Lake Point's stories and Maggy's defense to testimony in Lake Point's stories).

(No story found today - maybe later.)

Lake Point is NOT suing Maggy on Open Government law.
Maggy is NOT being accused of Sunshine Laws or Public Records violations.

Lake Point has asserted that Maggy caused them $4Million in lost rock sales -- claiming damages going out beyond 2030.

Lake Point did not produce one cancelled contracts, no loss of existing clients.

But Lake Point claims damages about $22 millions. But Lake Point is "only asking" for $4Million, crediting Maggy for Martin County and SFWMD gave them $18Million. The testimony was lost business for reputation and ignored reputation issues of suing partners, of rock that didn't pass quality muster.

Lake Point excluded evidence about a benefit of litigations valued at about $50Million per their own expert. If that were "credited" to Maggy, the damages would be ZERO since Lake Point got settlements that are negative to the public but super positive toward them.

Lake Point attorney yesterday argued that any time the government has a contract that is not 'at will' any resident complaints are subject to a tortious interference with a contract and not protected by the right of residents to petitioner their government. (A transcript of the exact statement has been requested and will be shared.) If we call about garbage problems, will we get sued? If residents believe there is animal abuse but there's a contract, will residents get sued for hundreds of thousands if not millions?

Caveat: Lake Point's attorneys had some setbacks yesterday but seem smug as their actions delayed the trial. Why?


Motion for Directed Verdict by Maggy Hurchalla's Attorney Virginia "Ginny" Sherlock - Maggy's attorney argued that the case should be dismissed - that Lake Point failed to prove in their case that Lake Point was party to the Interlocal Contract between Martin County and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD); failed to prove there was a breach; failed to prove that Maggy Hurchalla's conduct was a cause of the claimed breach; failed to prove the Express Malice required to overcome the Qualified Privilege when residents voice concerns to their Elected Officials.

Witness One - Martin County Growth Management Dept Director Nicki vanVonno answered questions about what ACTION Martin County Commissioners and Staff actually took, not just the rhetoric. Nicki was used to get important government records into the record and to establish Maggy's continued action over the years of questioning studies and problem projects.

Witness Two - Nathaniel Reed.
Nathaniel "Nat' Reed's extraordinary credentials were listed. Mr. Reed worked for two(2) Presidents and six Florida Governors in various agencies including acting as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Mr. Reed was one of the authors of the Clean Water Act and of the Endangered Species Act. He has worked for the Everglades restoration for 50 years, 25 years with Everglades Foundation including being Chairman. Mr. Reed moved to Florida after his military service in 1960.

Nathaniel Reed and Maggy Hurchalla are two of the only 6 Hall of Famers named by Everglades Coalition.

Mr. Reed testified that he has worked with Maggy Hurchalla since before 1977, but it was 1977 when they became close friends which friendship and respect continues today. Mr. Reed testified that Maggy Hurchalla has worked on every conceivable matter affecting Martin County, Hobe Sound and Jupiter Island. He testified about Maggy's many awards from many state and federal organizations for her work for water, our lagoon, comprehensive planning for Martin County and the state since the beginning when Governor Graham got that Comp Plan Act adopted. Maggy became an advisor to the Governor and to various communities about the Comp Plan. Locally, Maggy Hurchalla was among two 2 or 3 leaders to put together the Martin County Comprehensive Growth Management Plan. That locally and statewide, Maggy is known for her in-depth knowledge, her expertise, her hard work, her knowledge of law and growth management.

Ms Hurchalla is known for asking questions, collecting information, reviewing science information. She is among the best and brightest for science review and is widely admired.

Ms. Hurchalla has reached out to the business community and residents and organizations. She spoke at luncheons of all kinds of business groups.

Asked if Maggy Hurchalla would ever lie, Mr. Reed strongly responded "NEVER."
Lake Point objected to that claiming they didn't say she lied, just that she misrepresented.
Lake Point had that response stricken, clearly wanting to limit what the Jurors heard.
Lake Point previously tried to get Nathaniel Reed from testifying at all.
Lake Point did not cross-examine Nathaniel Reed at all.

Witness Three - Tom Conboy began testimony as an expert there to offer opinions about the incorrect environmental claims made by Lake Point.
Lake Point tried to get him excluded, expressing indignation that in his deposition he had not told them his opinions.

But Howard Heims, Esq. for Maggy (with same law firm as Virginia Sherlock) strongly defended his right to testify and read the detailed list of opinions he would be offering in Pretrial exchange of Witnesses information. He asserted that Lake Point had deposed Mr. Conboy back in August 25, 2016, when trial was eminent (and Martin County had numerous experts taking similar positions).
Judge Roby gave Lake Point the opportunity to depose the expert on Friday. The expert will testify on Monday.

There is a continuing sense that a part of this trial is to try to bolster Lake Point attorney and past employees claims against Sarah Heard's with the State Attorney including having a computer "expert" testify - more against Sarah than Maggy.
Lake Point's expert testified that he could tell just from a written report that Sarah had erased specific emails. The prior report was by a court-required expert who inspected Sarah's actual computer and testified that Sarah's email was hacked. It was hacked on multiple occasions.

Courtroom Misconduct: Barbara Clowdus, one of Lake Point's biggest supporters who spreads their claims by her "martin county currents", was expelled from the Courtroom and the Courthouse about noon for breaking rules, taking pictures of the trial despite the Court providing numerous warnings.
Clowdus unsuccessfuly ran against Sarah Heard in 2014 -- her campaign was greatly added by contributions directly and indirectly from Lake Point.

Sent by Donna Melzer, volunteer activist in Martin County for schools, for the environment, for conservative fiscal budgeting for more than 25 years. David and I are parents of one of Maggy Hurchalla's attorneys, Daniel Melzer.


Anonymous said...

"George Lindemann Jr. has been called by the defense as a material witness to claims that his company suffered damage from Hurchalla's alleged interference in a contract that has -- despite the lawsuit -- proven extraordinarily lucrative for him."
Lake Point LLC has NOT been profitable since it's conception and, in my opinion, was never intended to be the profit maker. If you look at all the financial information that was excluded from the trial by the judge, you will see that Lake Point was a big fat scam.
You are now watching that scam being perpetrated on the citizens of Martin County.

Anonymous said...

And the reason I comment as anonymous is I don't want to end up in court like Maggy. We all have freedom of speech until a big money developer/scam artist/felon decides we don't. Stand up for Maggy while you can! They want to silence citizens who only want the best for our community.

Unknown said...

Call to action?- what would you like the readers to do to help Maggie?