Congressional hopeful Raquel Regalado was hit with a deposition request this week over a $1,172 litigation expense that her last opponent, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, says he’s owed from her failed bid to kick him off the ballot last fall.
A judge earlier this year ordered Regalado to pay Gimenez $1,172 for his share of the cost of an October deposition in the lawsuit she filed against him about a week before Election Day. “We want her to pay for her own stunt,” Gimenez lawyer J.C. Planas said Thursday.
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Regalado lawyer Peter González says he sent the check weeks ago and accused Planas of trying to embarrass his client as she pursues the Republican nomination in the 2018 contest to replace retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “He’s completely wrong,” González said. “I guess he’s doing this because he just wants to create waves and get his name in the paper.”
The original suit asked a judge to disqualify Gimenez as a candidate for reelection over a flubbed date on a filing check that the mayor filed in June.
Gimenez’s campaign filed a corrected check before the June 21 filing deadline after the Elections Department flagged the error. Regalado’s suit claimed Gimenez was given a pass by a county department he supervises as mayor. But the judge overseeing the case quickly dismissed Regalado’s suit as a misguided attempt to have the election decided by “fiat” instead of by the voters.
While the Nov. 3 ruling ended Regalado’s legal gambit, the court fight resumed after Gimenez’s 12-point win on Nov. 8. Judge Michael Hanzman denied Gimenez’s attempt to collect legal fees from Regalado. But the judge did agree to make Regalado pay the bills tied to an Oct. 29 deposition of a county election administrator arranged by Regalado’s lawyer.
The county itself, a co-defendant in the suit, won the same order from Hanzman for its $1,172 bill for the deposition, which the court reporter hired to document the session billed equally to the three parties in the suit. Planas said there wouldn’t be a dispute if Regalado had paid the recording fees for a deposition her lawyer demanded.
Court filings show the county’s elections chief, Gimenez appointee Christina White, withdrew her demand for reimbursement after reaching a settlement with Regalado. Details were not revealed. González said he arranged payment with a county lawyer.
In an email to Planas on Thursday, González said that despite “clownish” behavior from the Gimenez lawyer he did send a check several weeks ago to Planas’ office. “Mishandling of yet another check,” González wrote. “Go figure.”
Planas said he emailed González asking about the reimbursement payment, which Hanzman awarded Feb. 6. After receiving no answer, Planas filed a notice to take Regalado’s deposition on June 27 about the reimbursement. “We have tried on several occasions to reach you regarding the payment by your client of the costs awarded by the Court in the lawsuit she filed,” Planas wrote in an email accompanying the notice.
González said he discovered the earlier emails in his firm’s “junk” folder after Planas demanded a deposition. “Pick up the phone and call me,” González said.