MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Mexico Beach City Council held an emergency meeting Monday after the town’s mayor filed a lawsuit against the council.
She’s claiming council members have violated the city charter by voting to hire Chris Hubbard as the city administrator, and by allowing Hubbard to be the sole keeper of the city’s financial records. Miller also claims she’s been denied access to financial records since April 28
Last Thursday the city of Mexico Beach’s insurance company denied coverage of the lawsuit Mayor Michele Miller filed earlier this month, meaning council members needed to determine how to move forward.
Days after the lawsuit was filed, council members bumped up the property tax millage rate to 5.99 mills to help pay legal costs, even though Miller said the city’s insurance would cover it.
“If the lawsuit goes to fruition and somebody wins or loses at the end and depending on the ruling of the judge, then, yeah, the city taxpayers could pick up the tab for both sides,” City Administrator Chris Hubbard said.
On Monday, council members moved forward with hiring an attorney. Initially, Mayor Miller was leading the meeting, but not for long.
City attorney Clint McCahill recommended she recuse herself and hand the gavel over to Mayor Pro Tem Richard Wolff.
McCahill said he can’t represent either side in this lawsuit because it would be a conflict of interest and there was a possibility he could be called as a witness. So instead, council members voted to hire the Sniffen & Spellman law firm.
“Highly regarded in local government legal work and we received several recommendations that those are attorneys that we should contact because of the short time we have in responding to the lawsuit, it was decided that based on their reputation and the time we have remaining to go with them,” Hubbard said.
News 13 has received the following statement from Mayor Miller’s attorney, Marie Mattox.
Below is the full transcript of the sworn statement mentioned in the news release above.
A regular council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 6.