By Dan Moffett
On a 4-1 vote May 4, Ocean Ridge commissioners decided the town should enter the court case and oppose the recall movement against Commissioner Richard Lucibella.
Town Attorney Ken Spillias told the commission he had examined the recall petitions and believed “they were not legally sufficient.”
But a bill from Lucibella’s attorney, Sidney Calloway, was more persuasive. Calloway says he’s run up $30,000 in legal expenses so far, and the town could get stuck with some or all of those fast-growing charges if it stays on the sidelines and the recall effort dies in court.
Commissioner James Bonfiglio told commissioners the town would have no leverage to protect its interests and be little more than “a cheerleader from the peanut gallery” if it didn’t get involved.
Mayor Geoffrey Pugh agreed. “Morally, the town has an obligation to intervene and do this,” he said.
The Lucibella case has a trial date set for Wednesday, May 6, beginning at 10:30 a.m., when Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Keyser will hear arguments over whether the petitions are legally valid.
Commissioner Lynn Allison, who voted against the town’s intervention, said she believed commissioners should have stayed out of the case until after the trial. “I think we should have waited for the judge’s decision,” she said.