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Open Letter About LBTS Reimbursement For Legal Fees

Dear Residents of LBTS,

I would like to take this opportunity to clear up any misconception that it was illegal as stated by the soon to be ex- Town Attorney for the town to reimburse Julio Omana and myself for costs incurred for hiring legal representation after being sued in a SLAPP suit.

I have written notes from the time this occurred and as stated many times before, at no time did the soon to be ex- Town Attorney inform me of any legal help that might be available from any other resource other than hiring my own counsel.

In fact the soon to be ex- Town Attorney advised me I should have representation soon in order to not be in default, due to a date certain on the legal papers I was served with.

This was in line with what my Attorney, Mr. Ross Shulmister represented from the podium the other night to the soon to be ex- Town Attorney.

If the soon to be ex- Town Attorney had done as he now claims and told me of the League of Cities legal help that may have been a possibility, I am sure that it would have been information passed on from both Mr Omana and myself to our Commissioners, friends, each other and the counsel we had to employ.

Mr Omana and I separately were told it was our “problem” and for us to take care of.

Mr Omana and I spoke at the Commission right after this incident and both publicly told our stories of the exchange each of us had with the soon to be ex- Town Attorney, maintaining that we were never told of any help available or forthcoming.

Our story has never wavered, I cannot say the same for the soon to be ex-Town Attorney.

We are being reimbursed for legal fees incurred precisely because, we were at no time informed that we would be represented by anyone through the town, and we could not be found in default due to not hiring counsel.

There was absolutely no reason if the soon to be ex-Town Attorney knew the League of Cities representation was indeed possible, for he and the ex- Town Manager not to expedite their inquiry into this, in between the several phone calls he made to me to see if I had yet been served.

He had possession of the papers before I was even aware of being served and Mr Omana was served days before I was.

A Town Attorney and Town Manager acting in the best interest of a resident who volunteered their time on a Town Board would have done so immediately, showing their due diligence.

Furthermore, I was surprised to hear Mayor Minnet inform the residents from the dais that she knew of such representation, which I believe is untrue, due to the fact that at a P&Z meeting preceding my being served a fellow member of the Board asked this question and Ms Minnet as Chairwoman remained silent on her supposed possession of this information. (Perhaps it was not written out on a card that evening?)

Therefore, I believe it is right to be reimbursed,.

I stated the other night I had asked to be left out of the request by Commissioner Dodd, but he insisted, therefore I intend to take my reimbursement and donate it to the town for a program for all new Board Members to be aware ahead of time what their rights are and how they will be protected for serving their community.

Barbara Cole LBTS Resident

A copy will be sent to both local papers and The Pompano Pelican for publication.

Although they reported the facts from the soon to be ex- Town Attorney stated that evening, I believe he was incorrect in his assessment, and that these papers should have interviewed the counsel that represented Mr Omana and myself.

UPDATE: a copy of this open letter to LBTS Residents has been faxed to By The Sea Times/Pompano Pelican with a letter mailed to By The Sea Future.

Whether they decide to publish it …we will see.

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