Residents of the quiet Village of Bal Harbour continue to voice their opposition against Village Mayor Gabriel Groisman and Council members, for allegedly “denying Village residents” the privilege of seeking a referendum regarding the expansion of the upscale Bal Harbour shops.
Residents who publicly protested Village officials this past weekend, first filed a lawsuit against the their local government, contending that Village Clerk Dwight S. Danie refused to count 200+ valid petitions that were collected to force the referendum in question.
The Shark Tank spoke to Danie about the allegations. To give you a little background about why the lawsuit was filed, here is an excerpt of a previous story written about the lawsuit:
Residents that oppose the expansion believe that if any commercial construction or expansion is to take place, an up or down vote with 60% approval needs to take place.
One resident says that Danie “refused to accept the signatures” because the petitions collected were “not correct.”
While he claimed that the petitions were invalid because they “did not follow the format the Village” has used for the past 10 years, Danie said that the decision to not accept the petitions was solely his, and that said petitions were never destroyed and are “permanent record.”
Attorney Juan Carlos “J.C.” Planas, who represents residents via the Bal Harbour Neighbors Alliance, stated in a press release that “A municipal government has a duty to treat its citizens with honesty and integrity. Bal Harbour Village has violated that duty in every way possible.”
In the same release, one resident, Ree Kelly believes that Bal Harbour’s elected officials are trying to “silence” her and her neighbors by hiring attorneys to do their bidding.
“All we are asking is for the hundreds of petitions we submitted to be counted and verified. We had to sue the Village because our elected officials and the clerk have denied us our rights time and time again,” said Bal Harbour resident Lynne Bloch Mullen. “Now these same elected officials are paying attorneys thousands of dollars to make sure they can silence us. We will not allow it, we are ready to continue fighting for our rights as life-long residents of this community.”