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Appiah files lawsuit against the City of Gainesville

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Today Raemi Eagle-Glenn, representing Tayari Appiah, filed a lawsuit against the Gainesville City Commission, Gainesville City Manager, Gainesville City Clerk, the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections, the Florida Department of State Division of Elections, and Excelsior Defense, Inc.

The suit asks the court to declare Gainesville’s Emergency Order (which provides authority to the City Manager to close City Hall to the public) unconstitutional and enjoin enforcement of the Order, “as it infringes upon Plaintiff’s right to qualify as a candidate for City Commissioner.” The suit also says the Emergency Order deprives “Plaintiff of due process in seeking to run for City Commissioner” and “infringes upon Plaintiff’s right to access public records.”

The suit also asks the court to enjoin the Supervisor of Elections from conducting the At-Large B City Commissioner race “until Plaintiff is given a reasonable opportunity to qualify to run.”

The suit further accuses Excelsior Defense, the contractor responsible for security at City Hall, of negligence in supervising, training, and monitoring its employees and demands a judgment of $200,000 in damages plus attorney fees against Excelsior Defense.

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Appiah says he was denied entry to City Hall on January 29, the last day to qualify for the Gainesville City Commission election. Qualifying ended at noon on that date, but Appiah says he was told by a security guard to come back after noon and that qualifying ended at 5:00, not noon. When he returned at 1:00, he was told that he was too late. Although he discussed his interaction with the security guard with City staff, they refused to allow him to file the paperwork.

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