Ball & Chain jazz club seeking Joe Carollo’s deposition for trying to run them out of town
Ball & Chain, a jazz and salsa club, alleged Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo for harassing the businesses. They claim that the commissioner has used his power to harass the restaurant owner Bill Fuller for supporting his opponent in a 2017 campaign.
The restaurant submitted a complaint to describe persistent police raids, unnecessary code-enforcement inspections, and passages of ordinances that have led Ball & Chain, and Taquerias el Mexicano, to close the businesses. While Ball & Chain reopened, the latter remains closed.
More about the Joe Carollo case developments are below.
February 6 deposition: What happened in the court?
The case has been filed against the City of Miami. Fuller and his partner Martin Pinilla have also filed another 2018 federal civil rights suit against Commissioner Joe Carollo individually.
According to the restaurant owner, Carollo avoided answering questions during his deposition on February 6. He didn’t respond to the plaintiff’s attorney’s question about his role in the harassment despite the counsel asking this simple question 13 times.
He evaded the answers by taking a bathroom break in another law office and mimicked the lawyer’s legalese when returned. The jury trial is scheduled for April 24.
Abuse of power and malfeasance
Ball & Chain owners filed a lawsuit against Carollo in 2018, alleging that the commissioner has harassed them by siccing city employees and code enforcement and stalking Bill Fuller’s businesses in retaliation after the restaurant's owner supported his opponent.
The case has been stalled for three years as the defendant’s attorneys have attempted to dismiss the case. Carollo’s attorneys argue that he’s protected by qualified and legislative immunity, which protects elected officials from being sued for their actions during office hours.
However, the US Court of Appeals ruled against this immunity which paved the way for this trial. Over the years, five federal judges have agreed that the commissioner cannot enjoy this immunity for harassing local residents and their businesses.
Fuller and Pinilla’s representing attorney stated that the commissioner should focus on making lives better for his constituents instead of harassing them or picking fights with them. Joe Carollo was allegedly acting outside official duties when he directed city employees to target Ball & Chain. He exceeded the bounds of his responsibilities by vengefully harassing the plaintiffs’ businesses.
The City of Miami pays $500k fees for his lawsuit defense
While the commissioner and Little Havana’s business owners are embroiled in this lawsuit, the Miami taxpayers suffer. The City of Miami has paid over half a million dollars for Carollo’s defense attorney not to mention the many businesses that have also been dragged into the battle.
The taxpayers continue to foot the bill while the Ball & Chain owners await the jury decision in April. Keep up with the case developments by subscribing to Calle Ocho News. Advertise your brand with us for a worldwide readership.