The village of Palmetto Bay is seeking a court injunction ordering a council candidate — one of the most vocal critics of the mayor and his allies —to stop using the city’s official logo on campaign literature.
David Singer,who is running for Council Seat 2 in the November elections, was sued for using “the village seal improperly” on campaign posters and on his election website, said the village’s attorney, Dexter Lehtinen.
Singer was notified by the village the same day the suit was filed, took down the official logo and replaced it with a different logo with similar elements that a graphic designer created for him.
“In his advertisements, Singer is circulating, using and publishing documents which simulate the seal of the Village of Palmetto Bay,”said the lawsuit, which was filed July 1. “It is clear that Singer is completely disregarding and disrespecting Palmetto Bay’s code.”
Screen shots of Singer’s website and Facebook posts using the village’s official logo were attached to the lawsuit. One advertisement says: “Help save our quality of life!”
According to the village’s code, anyone who wants to use the city’s logo must get written authorization by the village. Lehtinen said Singer never got permission, and now the village is asking a judge to prohibit Singer from using the seal.
“This is a second-degree misdemeanor but we are giving him the courtesy of only filing a civil injunction and not seeking criminal penalty,” Lehtinen told the Miami Herald, adding that the legal action does not carry monetary penalties.
Singer said he “had no idea you couldn’t use the logo.” He said that former election candidates have used the village logo on video campaign advertisements in 2014. He posted the political videos on Facebook, one of David Zisman , a candidate in a previous election, and another of current councilwoman Karyn Cunningham.
“The use of the logo by political candidates was obviously for purely political purposes,” said Singer’s attorney, Mark. S. Auerbacher. “It follows that the lawsuit was only filed against Mr. Singer — without any notice or opportunity to cure — for political reasons. Mr. Singer’s sharp criticism of certain commissioners and village employees appears to have at least in part motivated the recent lawsuit.”
For several months, Singer has sent out mass emails and mailers to Palmetto Bay residents attacking the mayor and other city officials.
Lehtinen said Singer’s criticisms “are totally unrelated.”
“Just because he’s a vociferous citizen does not give him an exception from the law,” Lehtinen said. “ I’m not aware about what others have done. It wasn’t brought to our attention. And what happened two years ago by somebody else is not relevant to David Singer. That’s never a defense, that somebody else did it two years ago. Singer will say everything except that he did not do it.”