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Sullivan team: motion for appeal improperly filed

April 8, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Former Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan and his fellow plaintiffs could soon be running out of time to save their appeal of a decision to deny a redo of last Nov. 5 mayoral election and to order them to pay court costs and legal fees.

The Sullivan team filed their motion incorrectly, it was discovered Monday, and now have 20 days to get their new lawyer to get the corrected appeal in, meaning it has to be in by April 28.

The motion was filed March 31 by the Sullivan camp's former attorney Leigh Fisher, who has since walked away from the case, citing an "ethical problem in that there will have to be a hearing in regards to the awarding of fees and how much, which could have an adverse affect on his client."

David Carr, one of the plaintiffs, said he believed the body of the letter was missing from the appeal.

"The thing I thought was getting filed was the three or four paragraphs stating the reasons of appeal, and they were missing from what I saw," Carr said, adding there was confusion over who would file the letter, Fisher or whoever their new attorney is.

Carr said as of Tuesday afternoon, they were still trying to find an attorney to represent them.

"We've met with these attorneys, but haven't engaged them yet," Carr said.

Sullivan could not be reached for comment.

Sullivan lost the Nov. 5 election to current mayor Marni Sawicki by 121 votes, just over the half-percent threshold to trigger an automatic recount.

Sullivan filed a lawsuit for a recount, which was changed to a motion to have the results thrown out and a new election staged shortly before the February trial.

Sullivan claims the canvassing board was improperly constituted, that there were people voting illegally, that one precinct had closed early and that Sawicki's wide victory in early voting was odd considering Sullivan won the Election Day and absentee vote.

Judge Alane Laboda rejected the original case, saying the case was "meritless" and ordered the plaintiffs to pony up the court costs and legal fees for the defendants, which has exceeded $175,000 at last count.



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