Tallevast lawsuit with defense contractor ongoing in Tampa

County to consider purchasing landfor transit depot

vmannix@bradenton.comNovember 27, 2012 

MANATEE -- It is expected the postponement Tallevast residents requested from the Manatee County Commission will likely be granted regarding an agenda item at today's meeting concerning a land purchase in the community.

The neighborhood residents are in U.S. District Court in Tampa for a jury trial in a lawsuit against Lockheed Martin for breech of contract regarding environmental consulting monies.

In a Monday email to Laura Ward and Wanda Washington, representatives of Family Oriented Community United Strong (FOCUS), deputy county administrator Dan Schlandt said, "I was not aware that you would be in court this week.

"As you have requested, we will ask that the Board of County Commissioners delay making a decision on this item until the following board meeting on Dec. 11. There will be a brief presentation to the board (today) on general information regarding the land acquisition and the project, but we will ask that the board bring the item back on Dec. 11."

The agenda item concerns a land purchase of 37 acres on the northwest corner of the intersection of U.S. 301 and Tallevast Road for a county transit depot.

"It's up to the commission to agree to the postponement, but it's likely to go ahead and do it," said

county spokesman Nick Azzara.

The lawsuit is part of a protracted legal battle between Tallevast residents and Lockheed Martin stemming from 2000 when the giant defense contractor allegedly found a hazardous leak at its beryllium plant property at 1600 Tallevast Road, but did not inform residents.

Approximately 250 residents are suing Lockheed Martin for personal endangerment issues, but the current trial is about funding.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix.

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