MANATEE -- The Palmetto-based law firm of Kallins, Little & Delgado issued a response Tuesday to recent controversy surrounding its upcoming Hardball Halloween Parade and another same-day event now canceled by the CrimeStoppers of Manatee County Inc.
"We endeavored to comply with every one of Mr. Brunner's multiple requests, which we have emails to prove," the statement from the law firm reads. "He requested that we change the time of our event. He requested that we change the direction of the event. We agreed to his entire request."
In an email Friday, Manatee CrimeStoppers Executive Director Frank Brunner announced the board voted to cancel its annual Halloween Safe Kids Night after trying since Aug. 25 to "resolve the conflicts and obstacles associated with the Hardball Halloween Parade."
The parade and the Halloween Safe Kids Night were set for 6 p.m. Oct 31. The parade will take place a few blocks from the Manatee County Fairgrounds at 1402 14th Ave. W. in Palmetto, which is also where the CrimeStoppers event was going to be.
In his email, Brunner said the parade would require closing nearby streets that provide access to the CrimeStoppers event.
Melton H. Little, one of the partners in the firm, told the Herald he met with Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant and her assistant city clerk last week, and reiterated the firm in no way wanted to hinder the CrimeStoppers event.
"We fully supported it. We agreed to move the start time of the parade and, instead of the parade going from the Fairgrounds to Sutton Park -- which is the route the city wanted -- we agreed to move the route from Sutton Park to the Fairgrounds, which is
what Frank wanted," Little said, adding the city chose the original route and start time of the parade. "Why Frank wasn't satisfied with that, I don't know. Maybe he didn't have enough sponsors for the event. ... The reason he canceled his event had absolutely nothing to do with the parade."
Brunner told the Herald the CrimesStoppers' issue is not with the law firm.
"The law firm did attempt to work with us. The problem is that they were not able to in a timely fashion," he said. "Our event takes approximately 60 days to get everything working out with all the players that are involved."
After doing this for 12 years, Brunner said CrimeStoppers was thrown into a holding pattern by the city for a little more than a month.
"We made multiple efforts to work with the city and the law firm, and the cog in the wheel was City Hall," Brunner said. "And you know what they say about trying to fight City Hall."
Reached by phone Tuesday night, Groover Bryant said the law firm's event should have had no bearing on CrimeStoppers' plans.
"It's very unfortunate that it worked out that way but I don't think the parade was the final factor because they made the decision before they heard the results from our lunch," the mayor said.
Groover Bryant added the law firm's intent was to do something nice for the city of Palmetto.
"I don't believe that they deserve this," she said. "Their intents were trying to do something nice."
According to a Sept. 28 email Scott Kallins sent to Palmetto City Commissioner Brian Williams, the law firm stated it was amenable to Brunner's wishes for the parade to begin at 5 p.m. Oct. 31 at Sutton Park and conclude at the Fairgrounds.
"Apparently there's some underlying issue there that I'm not familiar with," Little said. "Nothing that our office did was designed to affect or impact his event and, in fact, we did every single thing that he asked us to do."
Anyone interested in entering the Hardball Halloween Parade can contact Heather Junqueira at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.