Attorney Tom Cloud yesterday notified Councilwoman Sherri Myers that he had not consented to her and her fellow council members meeting alone with the CRA’s attorney, Doug Sale.
Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward hired Tom Cloud of Gray Robinson law firm to represent his administration in the lawsuit concerning him not following state law when the mayor did not have the Community Redevelopment Agency approve the $50/year lease of Bruce Beach to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. The CRA was also required to issue an RFP for Bruce Beach.
Gray Robinson handled the mayor’s appeal concerning the local option gas tax allocation.
The CRA held a special meeting this month and hired Sale because the CRA, not the Pensacola City Council, was named in the lawsuit.
On Tuesday, Inweekly reported that Cloud was attending a series of private meetings that Sale scheduled for today with each individual CRA members.
Couuncilwoman Myers questioned Cloud about having the mayor’s attorney in the room.
“Please understand that I consider your presence in that meeting a conflict of interest,” wrote Myers in an email Tuesday afternoon. “Therefore, I will not meet with you in a meeting with Mr. Sales.”
She did agree to talk Cloud today. “However, I will schedule a meeting for you to have a private meeting with me tomorrow. Please let me know your schedule as soon as possible.”
Myers asked for Cloud to bring “all correspondence you have had with any person, including the City Attorney, regarding your representation in this matter.”
Cloud replied, “While I disagree with your conclusions, I will respect your request. Mr. Sale is aware that I have not consented to his meeting alone with a member of city council and my position on that has not altered.”
In a phone interview, Myers said that the mayor and CRA may be in conflict in the lawsuit and the mayor shouldn’t have his attorney listen in on their meetings with Sale.
“For eight years, I have tried to get the various outside attorneys that the mayor has hired to talk with me about their litigation,” she said. “They refused, saying they worked for mayor.”
She continued, “Now, the mayor’s attorney is saying he also represents the council. Well, Mr. Sale is meeting with us, his client, as CRA members not council members.”
Myers is worried that her fellow board members wouldn’t understand the distinction. She said, “I’m an attorney, they aren’t and may compromise our position in this lawsuit.”