UPDATE Tallahassee, FL -- May 17, 2012 10:27pm
It took close to four and a half hours of testimony, but the case between a businessman suing the city of Tallahassee wrapped up a little more than an hour ago.
The judge ruled in the city's favor.
Businessman Erwin Jackson was suing the city of Tallahassee over property he says he had rights to, but was locked out of for months.
Jackson told the judge last year the city locked him out of property he was using as a storage area for equipment his employees use to maintain rental homes near Airport Road.
Representatives for the city then apologized, but Jackson says they did not take the lock. which he says forced him to rent alternate property for his equipment.
But officials with the city argued that Jackson never lost access and therefore should not have to pay for Jackson not being able to use the property for months.
So Jackson filed the civil suit...
Jim English, Tallahassee city attorney, took stand at 9:17
Could not answer many questions
Called Mayor John Marks to stand at 9:24pm. Mayor says he is not familiar with the utility easement at issue. Erwin Jackson asking mayor if city manager discussed issue at hand with him concerning utility easement. Mayor says no. He says he does not recall.
Jackson asked if policies in the city should apply to each citizen fairly.
Mayor answered yes.
Jackson asked mayor several questions that opposing council objected to because Mayor is not equipped to answer legal questions.
Testimony from mayor ended at 9:31pm.
Tallahassee. FL -- May 17, 2012 --8:35pm
We are now three hours into a hearing of a businessman suing the city of Tallahassee over property he was locked out of.
In court today, Erwin Jackson told the judge how last year the city locked him out of property he was using as a storage area for equipment his employees use to maintain rental homes off airport road.
The later city checked property lines and realized it had no right to lock the property... But Jackson says for months he had to rent other space to use and wants to be reimbursed for more than 6,000 for those costs and legal fees he's paid since filing a civil suit against the city in this matter.
The city disputes the claim saying Jackson used the shed commercially in a residential zone .
The city hired a private investigator to look into Jackson when he filed a civil suit against the city last year over use of an easement. The city had blocked Jackson from using an easement that goes to his storage shed. Jackson billed the city for $2,500. But the city sent him a check for only $75. The city disputes the claim saying Jackson used the shed commercially in a residential zone . But it's the city's private investigative practices that worry some commissioners
In a separate issue from tonight's hearing...The city had hired a private investigator to look into Jackson when he filed a civil suit against the city last year over use of an easement.
An issue that Erwin Jackson has also fought publicly.
As of tonight the city of Tallahassee says they recently issue a policy into its use of private investigators.
In that now official policy:
-No surveillance shall be conducted unless approved in advance by both the city attorney and city treasurer clerk.
-surveillance will only be performed by investigators properly licensed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services pursuant to certain state statutes.
-and the Risk management division shall identify qualified and licensed investigative firms through a request proposal process. Only firms selected by Risk Management Division shall be eligible to provide surveillance services
Tallahassee. FL -- May 17, 2012 --
A property dispute has three of Tallahassee's top leaders on a witness list in small claims court today.
Businessman Erwin Jackson had the city's mayor, manager and attorney all subpoenaed to testify.
The hearing got underway around 5:30pm
The dispute started when the city locked Jackson out of a power line easement he uses to get equipment stored at one of his properties.
City Manager Anita Favors admitted the city was wrong to deny Jackson access and offered a $500 settlement.
However, Jackson says his legal expenses far exceeded that figure.
City attorney Jim English then claimed Jackson was using the property illegally.
He hired a private investigator to prove it.