SARASOTA -- A judge and jury found in favor of Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, issuing a final judgment awarding him more than $6.4 million in connection with a business dispute.
Circuit Court Judge Peter Dubensky on Friday issued the judgment incorporating the jury award in a case involving Sam Kazran, the congressman's former business partner in a Jacksonville car dealership.
Kazran's case named as defendants Buchanan and his 1099 Management Co. LLC.
"We're obviously pleased with the outcome, it was a very long road, and one that involved a resolution of a case that never should have been brought in the first place by his business partner," said Charles Bartlett, Buchanan's attorney.
The judge issued a directed verdict, and a jury sided with Buchanan in his countersuit during a trial last month in Sarasota County, said Bartlett.
The ruling directed Kazran to pay interest from the date the judgment was entered until it is paid off. The court also retained jurisdiction to award reasonable attorney's fees and costs, Bartlett said.
Asked how much attorney's fees might be, Bartlett guessed it could be "more than $500,000, given the fact this case has been going on for many, many years."
Kazran's attorney, G. Michael Keenan, of West Palm Beach, was unavailable for comment late Tuesday, according to a person who answered the phone at his office.
The final judgment affirmed the judge's earlier oral ruling. In a partial transcript, Dubensky was quoted as saying: "I don't think I've ever seen a case so lacking in proof to sustain the allegations." Kazran, who filed suit in 2008, had said settling the financial dispute had been conditional on him signing an affidavit stating that the congressman wasn't involved or aware of improper reimbursements dealership employees made to his political campaign. Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.