Konish: City litigation strategy is flawed

Letter to the editor

In order to get a preliminary injunction to stymie Clemons’ bill, the City must show:

  1. Irreparable harm
  2. A strong likelihood of success on the merits

Neither is at play. GRU ratepayers will suffer irreparable harm if GRU does not dramatically change course, and our City Commission will not do it.

The supremacy of the legislature’s powers over the City of Gainesville is beyond serious doubt.

If the City sues, they will have to engage with the State of Florida:

  1. House of Representatives
  2. Senate
  3. Governor and
  4. Attorney General

The Governor can easily stop a lawsuit by removing and replacing belligerent City Commission members.

Courts are wary of utility disputes due to the complexity, wide-ranging impacts, and huge sums of money at stake.

At no point thus far has our City Commission recognized any problem with our current political GRU governance structure.

GRU’s balance sheet and operational woes, debt downgrades, and out-of-control General Fund Transfers, coupled with concomitant excessive City spending, all pose real threats to the GRU revenue stream that has been pledged to secure the massive GRU bond debt.

It is difficult to imagine why GRU bondholders would side with our current City Commission in any litigation. They certainly would be interested parties.

There is little to no chance that a long-shot lawsuit could benefit either the City or GRU ratepayers. Bondholders could call their bonds, and the City of Gainesville would “tumble.”

GRU ratepayers would not be well served by a partisan and futile custody battle over GRU with the State of Florida.

Jim Konish, Gainesville

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • That’s not the only flaw walking the halls of City Hall.

    Just glad that someone finally decided to make the call.

  • Yep, and who ever thought the city’s leaders were up to par on the whole matter? The state would relish the opportunity to make Gainesville more industry investment friendly.

  • If I am not mistaken, I believe in a meeting Ms. Chestnut asked the city attorney about suing the state and his response was the state has a broad range. When it comes to utilities, they have a right to take it over.
    I also read representative Clements made a remark that if the city sues they would have to open up their books in the discover process. I wonder what interesting reading would be found if they do.

    • That Hanrahan & co got kickbacks going biomass to stop climate change & stuck us with that 30 year purchase agreement and the “deal of the century” purchase of the POS? It’s the blame game on who ruined GRU and put us a billion$ in debt…

      • Yep. They either got nice kickbacks or were simply extremely out-played in the biomass debacle. And we’re left holding the bag.

    • Except where exempt by legislative action, city’s/GRU’s books are public record. Clemons and the JLAC don’t need the discovery process of a lawsuit.

    • Gainesville.

      University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law

      Admitted to the FL Bar in 1980.

      ‘Doesn’t sound like he’s willing to take the commission’s case…..

  • Well, the CC said “fire fees and property taxes are going up”…that will be passed on to tenants and rents will be going up. Go woke, go broke.

  • ‘Nice summary, Jim.

    The risk/gain model doesn’t favor the commission or Gainesville in any court action scenario.

    The commission’s application for injunction would fail on the ‘clean hands doctrine’ alone.

    A common tactic used by activists is to file civil lawsuits (under $500 fee/service in Alachua County), get considerable publicity, then allow the lawsuit to ‘die on the vine’ prior to any public hearing. It’s the best advertising deal in America!

    The issue of bondholders is another animal should, for example, investigations discover criminality in the GRU-City relationship.

    The renown British philosophers Jagger-Richards foresaw the inverse reality in which city commissions choose to exist:

    “Just as every cop is a criminal
    And all the sinners saints
    As heads is tails
    Just call me Lucifer
    ‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint”

  • Well written and to the point. The best case scenario at this point would be for the governor to remove these self-serving commissioners from office, so hopefully they will not be able to restrain themselves.

  • The 7 stooges should most definitely sue and open up their books since 2000 and lets really give them and GRU a real well deserved forensic audit and follow the money all the way back to the biomass 8.

    • A forensic audit would be a beautiful thing to see! The City of Gainesville has used GRU (in reality – their ratepayers) as a slush fund for decades. We have the highest rates in the state so they can fund their pet projects. ENOUGH!

  • Another hostile takeover attempt by DeSantis and the GOP, in this case led by local guys who can’t win an election in Gainesville like Konish, Clemons, and Perry but want to take away power from the winners. I guess we can hope that the same clowns who thought they were taking over Disney – hey what could go wrong with the state trying a hostile takeover of a private company which happens to be Florida’s biggest employer and tax payer (without which Orlando would be the orange juice capital of Florida) – orchestrate this losers parade.

    Get lost carpet baggers!

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