John Dingfelder’s public records lawsuit could delay vote on Gandy development

dingfelder
Applicants want John Dingfelder recused, and more time for a public records request to be complete.

A Tampa City Council vote to rezone two parcels of land along Gandy Boulevard for use as a housing development could get another delay Thursday night because of an ongoing lawsuit against Council member John Dingfelder.

A public hearing on the project was continued from May. Ethan Loeb, attorney for applicant John Lum, on Monday asked for Dingfelder’s recusal and for the hearing to be continued until March 10.

“A continuance is the only way to ensure a fair hearing for the applicant, John Lum, “Loeb wrote in a letter addressed to City Attorney Gina Grimes and Council Chair Orlando Gudes. “Accordingly, the applicant and Mr. (Stephen) Michelini respectfully request that the City Counsel waive the 180 day requirement and continue the November 18, 2021 scheduled hearing on REZ 21-04.”

REZ 21-04 is the agenda item pertaining to the proposed Gandy Boulevard Housing development.

Loeb represents both Lum, the applicant, and Michelini, a development consultant suing Dingfelder over a public records request. Dingfelder is accused of using his wife’s email account to conduct public business and of intimidating Michelini when the consultant made a public request for those emails.

The suit stems from Michelini’s involvement with the project and Dingfelder’s reluctance to approve developments in the Gandy area, which Michelini’s clients are hoping to build up.

An amended complaint also accuses Dingfelder of purposefully dragging his feet to comply with the request.

Loeb said his client won’t get a fair shake at a hearing if Dingfelder is voting and if he doesn’t have time to review any information that could be revealed in the public records request.

Loeb has recently expanded the request to include text messages he said Dingfelder sent during a City Council meeting regarding current business, which is not allowed.

Loeb said the March date should give ample time for the suit to be resolved and for the records to be produced.

The city’s legal staff can make recommendations to Council members, but it will ultimately be up to Dingfelder to chose if he will recuse himself and the rest of City Council to vote on granting a continuance.

Dingfelder has denied any impropriety or intimidation and said he is still working to produce the documents.

The rezoning hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday.

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected]


One comment

  • Stephanie Poynor

    November 19, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    180 days, is the limit for a Rezoning. Why does 4465 need more? Inquiring minds want to know!

Comments are closed.


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