A Letter to the Nassau County Commissioners and County Attorney:
Nearly two years ago, the Amelia Tree Conservancy, Sanctuary Property Owners Association and other members of the community sought outside legal advice concerning the proposed Riverstone development and threatened litigation.
We were seeking an honest assessment from highly regarded land use attorneys concerning the merits of Riverstone’s positions. Our interest was simply in knowing, in stark terms, where we stood.
We selected the firm of Gray Robinson, with nearly 300 attorneys and professionals in Florida. The team included Julia Mandel, former counsel for the City of Tampa and one of the most respected land use attorneys in the state.
Attorneys from Gray Robinson discussed the issues on several occasions with Mike Mullin, then County Attorney for Nassau County. Their opinion, after reviewing the record, the law, and discussions with Mr. Mullin was that Riverstone had a weak case and was simply hoping to “bully” the county into submission.
In January 2022, we asked Gray Robinson to put its views in writing, in a form that we could circulate to the commissioners. At that time their conclusion was clear:
“In our opinion, Riverstone’s Notice of Claim should be viewed as a “hail Mary” attempt by a property owner looking to cash in on hypothetical development possibilities at Nassau County’s expense.”
Recently, we have again sought their opinion concerning the proposed settlement with Riverstone. That letter is also attached. It concludes that:
“The proposed agreement with Riverstone is premature, deeply flawed and does not represent a good deal for the taxpayers and citizens of Nassau County. It rewards the efforts of a developer to rollover the county and its citizens by awarding development and other rights without following applicable laws.”
It should be noted that Gray Robinson has not been permitted to speak directly with the commissioners concerning this matter. They have not had access to discovery, if any, that has been produced in the early stages of this case.
Their advice has been very informative to us, as citizens, in forming a response to the very unfavorable proposed settlement now before us. We share their work with you in the hope that it will be helpful to all citizens and the commissioners before any settlement is entered.
Lyn Pannone, Amelia Tree Conservancy
Creighton (“Corky”) Hoffman, Sanctuary Property Owners Association