MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Attorneys for Mexico Beach have filed a response to Mayor Michele Miller’s lawsuit. Miller filed the lawsuit on September 1, the city had until October 25 to respond.
Miller’s lawsuit claims city council members violated the city charter when they hired Chris Hubbard as city administrator, then making Hubbard the sole keeper of the city’s financial records. It goes on to say Miller has been denied access to financial records since April 28th.
Citing conflict of interest, the regular city attorney is refusing to handle the case. Council members hired Sniffen & Spellman, P.A. to defend them. Sniffen & Spellman’s response said Miller’s lawsuit fails to include all the facts, such as her role and the city administrator’s role under the charter. To emphasize their argument, they include ordinances, which can be seen in the document below.
Other public records detail the facts of Hubbard’s hiring and Miller’s refusal to sign Hubbard’s contract even though the council voted him in by a 3 to 2 vote.
The council’s law firm makes the argument that Miller’s lawsuit is about power and her winding up on the losing side of the city council’s votes.
City attorneys are calling this a wasteful charade of a lawsuit and say it should end because Miller cannot show the facts underlying her claims. They also submitted a separate document, making sure all the city records were filed in the court system.
News 13 received the following statement from Miller’s attorney Marie Mattox about the city’s response: “This looks a lot like smoke and mirrors and that they have not even meaningfully addressed the issue that we have raised about Mayor Miller’s access to financial records to see not only what is being spent now, but what has been spent in the past, to be able to show the citizens that the money has been properly or improperly spent. So they kind of deflected attention on issues that are not real issues. So I would like an opportunity to respond in greater detail, which we plan to do. We are reviewing it now, and I will have a more detailed response hopefully within the week.”