Political Retribution Hearing in Tallahassee

By: Eyewitness News
By: Eyewitness News

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...

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UPDATE --

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.

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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

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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.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by George Location: Tallahassee on Jun 5, 2012 at 05:02 AM
    They all need to go including the Sheriff. People are tired of corruption. People are tired of all of these life long politicians and self promoters.
  • by Stalin on May 19, 2012 at 06:07 PM
    What I don't understand is where is the outrage that the city government spends taxpayer money to spy on taxpayers? There should be protestors outside the mayors office day and night screaming for his resignation. Yet the locals just accept it as typical for north Florida. Can someone explain?
  • by bambam on May 19, 2012 at 04:02 PM
    What happened to the FBI investigation concerning the Mayor? I am not taking sides; just want to know what happened and what are the facts.
  • by Mazie Location: Tlh on May 19, 2012 at 02:41 PM
    According to the article, the mayor, ( a so-called lawyer with randolph,knowles firm, is not equipped to answer legal questions and Jackson's questions were objected to by the city attorney there, dumbo, if he can't (won't is the correct word) why is he a lawyer? Why does he claim to be a lawyer and not know anything. This is the city's style, after they harangue you, torment you, bust you financially, when they get to court, they have a sudden lapse of memory, can't recall, don't know, don't recollect, or else don't show up at all, as their mother-in-law is sick, or they have to suddenly go out of town. But when it is time to steal the taxpayers' money, they are all, grabbing everything and every trip they can get their hands on. When will the idiots ever learn in this stupid town, and next election, somebody besides aikens should be a county judge, one, that can't be bought off.
  • by Fed upT Location: Tlh on May 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM
    WCTV: You need to do an investigative report on the half million dollars Jimbo English spent of the city taxpayers' money for under handed/outlaw detectives to investigate people he does not like, and print the names of all those targeted. We probably need a class action lawsuit as long as it has been going on, about 30 years he has been sucking from the trough. Also, do a report on the former chicken plucker, "Judge" Aikens and all the cases (which is everything he has ever sat on) he has mishandled through his corruption and incompetence, phone calls and closed door meetings with who he wanted to rule for, since he has been on the bench. Has the FBI left town?
  • by Why Listen to him Location: Tallahassee on May 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM
    The title of this article says it all, "Political Retribution Hearing". This shows what the media and this station feel or believe. It is certainly the belief of Dr. Erwin Jackson. But it is not true. The hearing was over the zoning issue and to show the city does not owe Jackson more money as he is violating the zoning of the area. It appears the judge-who has been a judge for a long time now- followed the court procedures and the law. As previous stated here, it appears to most now Dr. Jackson is somewhat of a bully and wants things his way. If any decision is made in his favor he is happy, if not then there is a conspiracy afoot and government is bad. He had his day and lost. Now lets move forward with real concerns and not be dragged down by a loudmouth who is only happy when things go his illegal and improper way. He reminds me of the sterotypical old man standing in his yard yelling at everyone who walks by to stay off his yard, stop talking so loud, slow down your car, etc when none of that is happening. Too bad the media wanted one side to come out and when it did not had nothing to report. They should report on it truthfully and show Dr. Jackson's responses to the judge. This would hopefully show Dr. Erwin Jackson for what he is.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM in reply to Why Listen to him
      And we've been shown who Marks is.
      • reply
        by Why Listen to him on May 18, 2012 at 01:16 PM in reply to
        Maybe, but this article nor this hearing was to address Mayor Marks and his actions and decisions. It is to address Jackson and his actions and allegations in conjunction with the City Attorney's decision to say he is violating a zoning ordinance. There is a time and place for everything. This article nor hearing shows Marks' actions at all.
  • by Mr. Haney Location: Hooterville on May 18, 2012 at 07:43 AM
    We all knew the judge was a Marxist. This will not deter Mr. Jackson.
  • by Openyoureyes Location: Tallahassee on May 18, 2012 at 07:39 AM
    I have been following this since it's inception. However, the media here is so one-sided I decided to go see for myself yesterday. Many of you who posted here should have done the same thing! The Judge was very clear on the reason for the court proceeding, Jackson sued the city for storage and legal fees he felt the city owed him. That's all, nothing more. The Judge made it clear this was not going to be a forum for Jackson to rant and rave. The Judge had to repeatedly direct Jackson to answer questions that he was asked. He did everything he could to avoid that. When finally pressed,the truth came out. He billed the city for $2000 in storage fees that he said he had to rent due to not being able to utilize his storage shed at the Airport Dr location. He submitted a handwritten bill. He billed for 3 trailers and all other equipment. When pressed, he moved ONE trailer to a vacant lot that he owns via another company that he owns! When asked if his employees could still access the storage shed on Airport the answer was yes! Speaking of hiding things and being untruthful! Mr. Jackson has lost all credibility and should be seen for what he is. He's the one with a personal vendetta against anyone who doesn't do what he thinks they should do or he wants done. When asked other questions, Jackson stated that he couldn't know everything that went on with his company otherwise he couldn't get any work done. Isn't that exactly what he accuses City officials of saying and doing? Why didn't any of our local media sources report any of this? Wake up Tallahassee and open your eyes, there is always more to the story!
    • reply
      by Citizen on May 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM in reply to Openyoureyes
      I am much more concerned about legitimate and consistent revealations about Marks etc. Thank you for your time on this. WCTV (and othe media) have reported on Marks' shenanigans. Lately about the fence project at the airport and that his law firm had on their webpage advertising Marks position w the city. I supported Marks as mayor in the beginning. His silver-tongued explaining about his board status with that Atlanta company paying him about $20,000/year. This is bad. Yes, you did the work on EJ, he's a shifty kook with an agenda, fine. That doesn't mean he is not right about Marks. I ( and you) really are tolerating a Mayor whose ethical standards are simply too low for him to serve in any capacity as an employee of the City of Tallahassee. We are a great southern city and this is not good for us. The world will be looking at us (again) in November 2012.
      • reply
        by Openyoureyes on May 18, 2012 at 02:27 PM in reply to Citizen
        I understand your thoughts about Mr. Marks and respect your opinion. My point was that this court proceeding was about a locked gate and what Jackson felt the City owed him, nothing more. If Jackson has issues with the mayor and others, this was not the forum. Jackson sued the city, the city was defending itself. Yes, the media has jumped at any chance to report issues with the mayor, why not report fully and without bias? Preston Scott, the Democrat and WCTV have given Jackson so much press time and they seemed to have believed him. When the facts came out in open court in which allow the media present, why not provide all of the facts, even the ones that showed Jackson in a less than positive light? They sure don't mind jumping on something any city official does, hard and loud and front page. Why not give Jackson that same treatment. Honest, unbiased and true investigative reporting is sorely lacking in this area.
        • reply
          by Bobby on May 18, 2012 at 03:07 PM in reply to Openyoureyes
          When McClatchey sold The Democrat to Gannett it wasn't just a change of format.
  • by SNA on May 18, 2012 at 06:45 AM
    This was a legal beat down that was well deserved and wasted time and money. Jackson can rant and rave all he wants but he never had a legal foothold. He's a rabble rouser that wants the City to follow every little detail but those standards don't apply to him? Turnabout is indeed fair play.
  • by pollywonk on May 18, 2012 at 06:41 AM
    Obviously Mr. Jackson has not yet contributed to Judge Aikens' 2012 re-election campaign.
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