Mayor Hayward issues open letter on Pitt’s Slip legal fees

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward issued today an open letter regarding the legal fees regarding the fight over the Pitt’s Slip leases.

“Once again stories of the City’s legal fees are circulating. Those stories do not give you all of the facts regarding the City’s position and its defense of lawsuits which have been brought against it by others.

Read the letter here.

Mayor Ashton Hayward’s statements given to News Journal regarding this issue over the past four years:

After the City withdrew its default letter that it leaked to the media:
“The city is not backing down. I am pleased that Mr. Merrill and Mr. Russenberger have now agreed that there are legitimate issues which exist related to the Pitt Slip lease. Now, because of the agreement, we are able to have an informed discussion.”
—Mayor Ashton Hayward, Pensacola News Journal, 11 Dec 2013.

When the Judge Scott Duncan ruled against Mayor Hayward:
“We’ve been defending ourselves. We didn’t sue anybody. No one wants to litigate, no one wants to go to court. The last thing I want to do is waste taxpayers’ money.”
—Mayor Ashton Hayward, Pensacola News Journal, 08 May 2016

When Mayor Hayward filed the appeal:
“We didn’t want to lose our leverage by not appealing. I do think there’s a deal that can be done and we’re hopeful we can work that out with Mr. Russenberger.”
—Mayor Ashton Hayward, Pensacola News Journal, 03 June 2016

The City fights paying The Fish House’s legal fees:
“Obviously, we were sued, and we have to defend the citizens. Unfortunately, in a lawsuit you have fees, and it’s our position that we don’t owe them.”
—Mayor Ashton Hayward, Pensacola News Journal, 27 July 2016

Judge rules City must pay Russenberger’s legal fees but not the Merrill’s:
“We’re bound by the rule of law. Most importantly our position hasn’t changed from the original. The judge entered an order, which we honor, and the judge ordered that we have to pay Mr. Russenberger’s fees. That was very clear and we’re looking into that right now.”
—Mayor Ashton Hayward, Pensacola News Journal, 17 August 2016

Mayor Hayward loses appeal:
1) “These are people that I’ve known for a long time, and it’s never pleasant for anyone when you get sued by a friend and supporter.”
2) “I’m going to discuss our legal options with our attorneys in order to determine how we’ll move forward.”
—Mayor Ashton Hayward, Pensacola News Journal, 02 June 2017


3 thoughts on “Mayor Hayward issues open letter on Pitt’s Slip legal fees

  1. At the time of the lawsuit, I recall saying that I had searched the city’s online records and could not find a document from the City Manager to the Council that explained the lease. I believe that Rick’s Blog later found it and reported it here. Putting aside whether the legal issue, there is no dispute that The Fish House/Atlas Oyster Bar is a cultural icon on the waterfront every bit as important as Joe Patti’s. My wife Yvonne and I have Sunday brunch there ever few months there is always a big crowd. When people are visiting, The Fish House is a place we take them. My guess is that if you showed someone who had been to Pensacola a picture of The Fish House they would be more likely to recall that it is in Pensacola than know the name of the Mayor. My guess is that an independent economic impact study would show that The Fish House has done more to promote the city and generate real economic activity than Ashton Hayward.

  2. Obviously, you are getting sued and losing based upon your administration’s actions and behaviors that have been found to be viable “causes of action” by plaintiffs and upheld by the courts. Just wait until you get the bill and judgement from losing against Chiefs Schmidt and Glover.

  3. Ashton,

    What about the other Millions of dollars paid for losing litigation? IS it your position that the escalating legal costs are a consequence of good governance and fiscal management? Clearly your record in such litigation ais poor.

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