LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — A contractor who was already suing the city of Lynn Haven, along with the city’s former mayor, city manager, and attorney, has added a local construction company to his list.
At issue is the recovery process after Hurricane Michael destroyed the area in October of 2018. Lynn Haven city officials chose to use debris pits that were owned by politically connected individuals even though the city allegedly had a cheaper and closer option available.
According to the plaintiff — Byrd Enterprises and Land Development Inc. — the decision cost taxpayers at least $1.8 million, lined the pockets of several local business owners, and slowed the recovery process.
The decision is also one of the facets of an ongoing federal criminal case against former Mayor Margo Anderson and James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Construction. Former City manager Mike White and former City Attorney Adam Albritton have already pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme. Anderson and Finch maintain that they are innocent.
In an August filing, Byrd Enterprises now accuses GAC Contractors, a business co-owned by Derwin White and former Florida Speaker of the House Allan Bense, of a civil conspiracy, interfering with a business relationship, and common law fraud.
The lawsuit also states that White “was on a mission to hinder ” Byrd from receiving any of the disposal work from Lynn Haven. It adds that White threatened Byrd Enterprises owner Allen Byrd and that Byrd moved out of the county because he feared for the safety of himself and his family.
White died in July of 2021. GAC was sold in March. The other civil lawsuit filed by Byrd against Lynn Haven is ongoing.