Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Pensacola Beach Tax Omens

WEAR-TV in Pensacola admittedly is far from the most reliable news source. For what it's worth, however, it has been reporting this past news cycle that Escambia County Circuit Court Judge Michael Jones "began working" on his long-overdue Pensacola Beach ruling "this week."

Very odd, that. We can't recall the last time a judge at any level in the common law world publicly disclosed to a TV personality his library research and writing schedule. Here's the Tee-Vee news script:
PENSACOLA BEACH, FL - A ruling on whether Pensacola Beach residents will have to pay property taxes is now imminent.

That's according to the Assistant to First Circuit Court Judge Michael Jones, who began working on his ruling this week.

The lawsuit was filed by Pensacola Beach residents in 2004 to challenge Escambia Property Appraiser Chris Jones' decision to put beach properties on the county tax rolls.

Beach residents argued that when they bought property, they were told they would only have to pay lease fees and not taxes.

But [Chris] Jones argued that guarantee was never in any of type of legal contract.

A similar lawsuit filed by owners at Portofino Condominiums was rejected by the First Circuit Court Of Appeals last August.

There's another oddity, with dark portents for beach leaseholders. The station's web site links to its news video with this headline: "Pensacola Beach Residents Will Pay Property Tax." Here's the screenshot (click to enlarge):

Frankly, we doubt either the reporter or the headline writer know what they're broadcasting about. Even so, if you engage in magical thinking you might see these as bad omens.

The thing is, with the Florida courts now having ruled against beach condo owners and businesses, who needs magical thinking to know what Judge Jones' ruling about leasehold residents likely will be? The law of Florida is well established: when Escambia County lies to you, you have absolutely no remedy at law.


Anonymous said...

How can Pensacola attract good jobs by giving business incentives if the law says they can lie and get away with it? Is this why we lose new airlines???????

Anonymous said...

Hello people, if you're not smart enough to figure out that you should get *everything* in writing, then you're not om a position to complain when things change.