Mayor Hayward spent over $80K battling Bayview Cross lawsuit

Thanks to several public record requests, Inweekly obtained Beggs & Lane’s invoices from June 2016 through April 2017 for its charges to defend the Bayview Cross. Mayor Hayward paid out $80,442  to prepare for the trial.

Yesterday, Judge Roger Vinson ruled the cross was unconstitutional and had to be removed in 30 days.

The Beggs & Lane invoices for May and June were not available yet, so the city’s legal expenses for the case could top $100K, and that does not include what legal fees the City may have to pay for The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Legal Center that filed the lawsuit against the City of Pensacola.

Bayview Cross – Legal Fees
Invoice Period Total
79743 6/23-9/2/16  $44,398.54
79974 9/7-9/30  $11,381.50
81832 10/10/16-1/30/17  $13,479.50
83069 10/30-4/24/17  $11,182.50


Invoices:  Cross79743_Redacted    Cross79974_Redacted    Cross81832_Redacte  and 83069


8 thoughts on “Mayor Hayward spent over $80K battling Bayview Cross lawsuit

  1. This bad decision is the result of fear. Xtians and politicians are ruled by it. Those of both ilk are now calling for appeals. A real leader would bite the bullet and obey the law… not pander for votes. Just move the cross to a better spot on private land and this can end. The MCC church offered to take it.
    Sadly, this is not the only case of local govt giving xtian privilege. The County Commission, School Board and ECUA all censor minorities offering to give prayers at their meetings. It’s only a matter of time until they are sued for such discriminatory blurring of lines obetween church and state. And it’s all to win the votes of fear mongering but dwindling xtian dominionists. How embarrassing it has to come to this.

  2. We have exceeded the point of gross negligence about $2 million dollars of losing legal fees ago when the Mayor started the “independent” investigation of the Fire Chiefs that will surely end up costing the City millions in judgements/settlements.

  3. Wasn’t this summary judgement? Meaning the defense didn’t present anything that even warranted discussion before the judge? Great job guys. Ashy’s lawsuit streak is still perfect. When do we get to the point of gross negligence?

  4. $80,000 could certainly have helped the City’s Sanitation Department maintain it’s fleet of aging trucks. Instead, the City has raised the monthly Sanitation service charge by 9.5% with no explanation, to include a new Sanitation Equipment Surcharge, presumably to cover the cost of leasing garbage trucks which the City is currenty having to do.

  5. It would be interesting to see here a legal analysis of the issue done by the City Attorney or by Beggs & Lane. As Judge Vinson very clearly pointed out in his ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Establishment Clause pointed the way to his ruling perhaps made a bit easier because Mayor Hayward openly admitted the plaintiff was right. At some point, someone should have done an objective assessment of the merits of the city’s case and considered an alternate solution that I guess might even include mounting the cross on a trailer and rolling it out for specific permitted events. One issue still not resolved is the role of the City Council in deciding to file a lawsuit or defending against one. Before voters voted on the new Charter in 2009, Charter Review Commission Chairwoman Crystal Spencer emphasized that the role of the new Mayor was largely the same as the role of the old City Manager. In fact, when you review the old Charter side-by-side with the new Charter, the old City Manager had more administrative authority than the new Mayor. It would be interesting to know what authority the old City Manager had if any to make unilateral decisions about litigation.

  6. The mayor acts as though the legal budget of the City of Pensacola is his own cooler full of Natty Lights.

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