I moved to Manatee County over 22 years ago and have been a full-time resident, taxpayer and voter ever since. My first taste of Manatee County justice was in the mid-1990s. I brought a civil case then trying to rectify some of the injustices against the elderly in our community.
Hiring what I thought was a good local lawyer from a prominent legal family (cost at about $20,000), I figured I would get my day in court. Wrong!
The morning of our hearing my lawyer asked to see me early before court. Meeting on the court steps with the lawyer, my wife and I were told that he'd met with the judge at a function the night before and ... we were told the judge's decision before he even heard our arguments!
This prominent lawyer then said that he would deny everything if we ever repeated what transpired. Mark one for the "good old boys."
Never miss a local story.
Still living in the same community/subdivision with 353 residences in a proclaimed voluntary property owners association where only 144 homes belong to the association (41 percent), the judge ruled they have authority over everyone. This association filed controlling papers on all our lands.
To achieve their means the association filed paperwork in Tallahassee and Manatee County, illegally stating they are a mandatory organization overseeing the entire community. They own nothing except their own homes. The streets are county and another couple owns the common areas.
Why have statutes and laws on the books if they will not be enforced? Why reward people for falsifying legal records? Why pat lawyers on the back for deliberately misleading the court?
Oops ... I almost forgot, this is Manatee County where justice is not only blindfolded but deaf and dumb also. This is not contempt of court, just plain old disgust.