Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado dropped Miami-Dade as a defendant in her lawsuit over SkyRise Miami as her attorneys narrow their arguments to avoid questions involving local-government charters.
The move, which eliminated two of the three counts, followed a failed effort to delay the case until Florida’s Supreme Court decides whether to consider a lower court’s decision restricting charter challenges like Regalado’s.
The two-term Miami-Dade School Board member, joined by auto magnate Norman Braman, claims the county violated a charter provision protecting local governments when it allocated $9 million for SkyRise late last year. Miami voters had already approved SkyRise in a 2014 referendum that described a “privately funded” observation tower on the city’s waterfront.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez supported the grant, and a spokesman Friday welcomed the “good news” that the county had been dropped from the “frivolous” lawsuit.
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“The bad news is that thousands of taxpayer dollars have been wasted as part of the process,” spokesman Michael Hernández said.
Regalado’s suit continues, resting on a lone count against Miami that challenges the ballot language the city sent to voters. “It all keeps turning on the same thing,” she said. “What defines a privately funded project?”
The suit has her litigating against the city led by her father, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, and the Supreme Court matter stems from a failed suit by Miami City Commission candidate Grace Solares to block a Coconut Grove development. An appeals court in May threw out the suit, ruling that citizens can’t use the courts to enforce local charters unless they have a personal stake in the matter.