City to Pay Nearly $50 Million In Parking Garage Lawsuit

The city of Sarasota will compensate Buck-Leiter Development $49,792,431 for damages caused by breaching an agreement with the developer regarding the Palm Avenue Parking garage.

While negotiating with the garage’s developers back in the summer of 2008, Sarasota commissioners backed out of the deal amid questions concerning designs and finances. Buck-Leiter pressed charges on the city in 2010, claiming that the city had breached the terms of an agreement, but in 2015, the 12th Judicial Circuit Court ruled that the terms in question were not part of a formal contract, and therefore the city did not breach any agreements. However, in 2017, an appeals court found that the agreement in question actually was detailed enough to constitute a formal agreement, overturning the 2015 verdict and reopening the case. A new verdict was reached this Monday in favor of Buck-Leiter.

The cost of the damages will not be covered by the city’s insurance. City Attorney Robert Fournier will convene with the City Commission toward the end of the month to discuss the possibility of an appeal.

For more details on the┬áBuck-Leiter Development vs. City of Sarasota case, read Michael Moore Jr.’s article on the Herald Tribune.