STUART — Environmentalist Maggy Hurchalla and Virginia Sherlock, her lawyer, were ordered to pay developer Lake Point $5,440 in fees for delay tactics in the aftermath of a tortious interference lawsuit that also ensnared former Martin County Commissioner Anne Scott and current commissioners Sarah Heard and Ed Fielding.
While Hurchalla’s relationship with Scott, Heard and Fielding were at the heart of the lawsuit, the three are facing criminal charges for allegedly trying to hide emails to and from Hurchalla in violation of the state’s government-in-the-sunshine laws. Their trials are planned for December and all three face up to a year in jail. The emails they allegedly failed to surrender showed they conspired with Hurchalla to sour a deal between Lake Point, Martin County and the South Florida Water Management District to mine Lake Point’s land then use it to store dirty Lake Okeechobee runoff.
Today, meanwhile, Martin County Circuit Court Judge William Roby decided in a hearing in Stuart that Hurchalla and Sherlock would have to pay each half of the $5,440 in fees to Lake Point, a developer whose vacant land at the edge of the county was at the heart of a five-year lawsuit.
In ordering Hurchalla, 77, and Sherlock to pay up, Roby followed up on threats to sanction them for filing what he called “frivolous” motions aimed at delaying the official recording of the multi-million-dollar judgment.
There was some decent news for Hurchalla, however: Lake Point withdrew a motion to have her jailed over her slow response in filing post-judgment affidavits!
Lake Point sued Hurchalla, the sister of former Bill Clinton era U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, for tortious interference and won a judgement of $4,391,708 in mid-February after the jury was led to believe Hurchalla had lied on the stand.
Hurchalla has since appealed the verdict.
And while her appeal could take a year, Hurchalla is dealing with Lake Point’s attempts to collect on the judgment. She told us at the time of the trial she could not pay for a judgement because she only owns “an aging Toyota and two kayaks,” papers filed in the lawsuit shows she and her husband own extensive real estate holdings and investment and bank accounts stocked with close to $300,000.
In court today, lawyers for Lake Point and Hurchalla haggled over Lake Point’s claim for $311,000 in court costs, money that Hurchalla is also supposed to pay the developer. Judge Roby decided to “discount” the total by 25 percent after he discovered a few discrepancies from the bench.
Sherlock did not reply to an email requesting her comment.