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.
“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.