Judge throws out Stacy White’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the All For Transportation tax

stacy white 2
The motion claimed White had no legal standing to file the lawsuit.

Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Rex Barbas on Thursday dismissed Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the 1 percent sales tax voters approved last November to fund sweeping transportation and transit improvements in the county.

Barbas granted the All For Transportation group’s motion to dismiss. The motion claimed White had no legal standing to file the lawsuit in his capacity as a Hillsborough County Commissioner.

Attorney Ben Hill cited the Hillsborough County Charter arguing it does not allow county commissioners to file suit against the county. It also requires any such legal challenges to be voted upon by the board. White did not propose such a vote and one was never taken.

White’s attorney, Chris Altenbernd, argued unsuccessfully White did have legal standing to file the suit because voters approved the tax, not the Board of County Commissioners.

“It has been 128 days since Hillsborough County voters overwhelmingly demanded more funding to fix a transportation crisis that grows worse each day. We expect our county and city leaders to continue taking actions toward the full implementation of the All For Transportation plan,” said All For Transportation Chair Tyler Hudson.

White has 10 days to amend his suit as a private citizen rather than in his official capacity as an elected official. It’s not clear yet whether White will do that. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The judge’s dismissal is a huge win for the All For Transportation group, but their fight is not over.

Temple Terrace resident John Cimino filed a similar legal challenge seeking to overturn the tax as a class-action lawsuit. While White’s lawsuit named all three cities in Hillsborough County, the county and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority as defendants, Cimino’s suit names only the county.

All For Transportation was not named in either, but the group filed successfully to act as intervenors in White’s lawsuit. The campaign has not decided yet whether they will do the same in Cimino’s suit, but Hudson said the group would “keep fighting any attempts to obstruct the will of the voters and further attempts to delay progress.”

Barbas’ dismissal of White’s suit does not indicate any news on whether the reasons White filed the suit are valid or not.

Both lawsuits claim the charter creating the new tax violates state statutes by limiting or removing the County Commission’s authority to determine how to spend revenue. The suits claim two ways in which the charter usurps county authority. The required Independent Oversight Committee would have veto authority over spending plans through required audits aimed at ensuring funds are allocated in accordance with the charter. The charter also predetermines how to spend the revenue by allocating 54 percent to HART and specific amounts to all other funded entities.

Cimino filed his suit last week. That case is still pending.

The All For Transportation group suspects the efforts are linked, though White denies that, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

One of Cimino’s lawyers, Jacksonville personal injury attorney Howard Coker, has ties to two attorneys working on White’s behalf — Martin Garcia and Altenbernd.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


8 comments

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    March 14, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Someone is obviously pretending to be Sharon

  • Sharon Calvert

    March 14, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Janelle Irwin must immediately remove a comment from someone who spoofed me.
    That disgusting comment must be removed now or a complaint will be made to her boss Peter Schorsch.

  • Sharon Calvert

    March 14, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    I sent Peter Schorsch a request to delete the disgusting comment immediately that someone posted as a spoof from me.

  • George Niemann

    March 14, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    The person that left this comment trying to spoof Ms. Calvert needs to get some tutoring in the English language, and grammar. If you want to make lame comments, do it under your own name. The public probably doesn’t care what your education level was, or whether you cut English class continually. We’ll try to respect you. Ms Irwin may not care, however, if someone is trying to spoof a recognized community leader, their comments should be removed immediately.

  • Sharon Calvert

    March 15, 2019 at 5:53 am

    This is the real Sharon Calvert! I would NEVER act like a triggered snowflake and whine to a higher authority that someone’s words on the internet are hurting my feelings! To all my Tea Party Patriots, be the true alphas you are and do not listen to this imposter Sharon who is clearly a screeching snowflake!

    • Sharon Calvert

      March 15, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      Another spoof that needs to be deleted by Irwin and Schorsch. They have email addresses and can figure it out.

      • Sharon Calvert

        March 15, 2019 at 1:38 pm

        You’re a pathetic troll trying to impersonate me. I would never rely upon anyone else to solve my problems! That’s what leftists do! I bet you’re on medicaid and rely on an Obama phone to post this trash.

  • Beth Laytham

    March 15, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Hi Sharon – I know some good attorneys. You’re going to need them when you text messages and emails to Mr.White get exposed through public records requests. We should get coffee again soon – hope you move back to Hillsborough County someday.

Comments are closed.


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