Gulf Stream: No resolution of legal cases in sight

By Dan Moffett

    It should surprise no one in Gulf Stream that Mayor Scott Morgan and the town’s two litigious residents, Martin O’Boyle and Chris O’Hare, look back on 2015 with radically different opinions about their dueling court cases.
    O’Boyle and O’Hare have dozens of lawsuits pending against the town, most dealing with hundreds of public records requests. In recent months the two men have publicly trumpeted their successes.
    Most notable is a federal judge’s dismissal of the town’s RICO conspiracy suit against them in June, a decision the town is appealing. Then in November, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Richard Oftedal made a similar ruling, and dismissed the town’s request for an injunction that would have prevented the two men from making more requests for public records.
    O’Boyle and O’Hare have criticized Gulf Stream’s legal counterattacks against them and the resulting bill for taxpayers of about $1 million in attorneys’ fees over the past year.
    But Morgan believes that, despite the setbacks, the fight-back legal strategy is paying off. The mayor cites several successes.
    “One is the O’Boyle Law Firm, which everyone knows was started by Mr. O’Boyle and run by his son, and which really was the scourge of the state of Florida, across municipalities in every county of the state,” Morgan said during the Dec. 11 town meeting. “Most of its lawyers have fled and the couple left are handling the existing cases they have. But its effectiveness is really in question.”
    The O’Boyle firm is “essentially denuded,” the mayor said, and he cited the reported demise of Citizens Awareness Foundation, Inc., a group affiliated with O’Boyle, as another positive sign.
    “That sham nonprofit organization set up by Mr. O’Boyle to be essentially the bank of money that would come in from all those public records cases, it would be tax-free as well,” Morgan said, “that company is essentially shut down.”
    The mayor said that Joel Chandler, the former executive director of CAFI, has “turned whistleblower and he will shortly be testifying on behalf of the town of Gulf Stream” against O’Boyle and O’Hare.
    “So with that in mind, I think we’ve had a pretty good year,” Morgan said. “Keep things in perspective, and stay the course.”
    O’Hare used expletives to characterize the mayor’s assessment.
    “A bunch of lies, sir,” he told Morgan. “You are full of bull.”
    Oftedal made two more rulings in December that went in favor of O’Hare and O’Boyle. The judge denied the town’s request to consolidate dozens of the cases, and he rejected a motion for a rehearing on the November ruling.
    O’Boyle told the commission that he is willing to sit down and negotiate a settlement. He blamed the town’s attorneys for refusing to come to the table, and commissioners for “squandering dollars” of taxpayers on legal defenses. Morgan has said repeatedly that the town is willing to enter negotiations as soon as the two men drop their lawsuits.
    “You’re using our money,” O’Boyle told the commission. “There is no accountability with you folks, and that I find to be outrageous. … The town in my opinion has forgotten many of the basic tenets of honor and integrity, and it’s my belief they’re out of control.”

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  • The only trumpeting I recall was Mayor Morgan and his attorney pals bragging to fellow commissioners that their fictitious RICO lawsuit was going to stifle public record requests and save the Town's bacon. That trumpeted tune wasted public tax money, wasted the courts time, and damaged some innocent people. Now the Mayor is singing a different tune. He claims his failed  malicious efforts are  paying off. He declares a law firm to be a scourge of the state, essentially denuded, and its effectiveness is in question. Then he declares Joel Chandler will be testifying against me. He seems to conveniently have forgotten that Mr. Chandler, as reported in this paper, already exonerated me. Despite this the Mayor thinks the Town had a pretty good year.

    After listening to Mr. Morgan's bully pulpit fictional ravings at the last meeting I had had enough. Since elected, he routinely ignores the Town's decorum policy by denigrating certain residents and characterizing requests to inspect public records as frivolous and malicious. He claims sovereign immunity for his slanderous comments and apparently believes he can continue spewing false propaganda with impunity. I continue to believe Mr. Morgan knows he is misleading the public, he knows the Town is wrong and he knows that if he ever stops showering his attorneys with tax money that eventually everyone else will know it too.

    The Town WILL have a good year when it no longer has a mayor that slanders residents, slanders law firms, puts the Town's public funds at risk, destroys the Town's brand, directs his staff to continue to break the law and rewards his ineffective counsel with bucket loads of Town funds to prevent or forestall a fair hearing on the cases.

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