Taking on Commissioner Joe Carollo: Ball & Chain owners' audacious legal move is the latest in the City of Miami Legal Saga Series
In a bold legal move, the owners of Little Havana's iconic Ball & Chain nightclub, William “Bill” Fuller and Martin Pinilla, are taking on Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo in a battle that could reshape the city's political landscape. Fresh from their triumph in a $63.5 million lawsuit against Carollo for violating their First Amendment rights, Fuller and Pinilla have now set their sights on removing him from office. Their lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleges that Carollo's actions blatantly violated a crucial provision in the city charter designed to safeguard free speech. All this after U.S. Marshalls order a freeze of all of his assets.
Citizens' Bill of Rights: Key to Joe Carollo's ouster?
At the heart of this high-stakes legal showdown lies the Citizens' Bill of Rights, a cornerstone of the city charter. This fundamental document forbids elected officials from obstructing free speech, assembly, and the press. Furthermore, it boldly declares that any public official found to have willfully violated these constitutional rights shall, without delay, forfeit their office. Fuller and Pinilla's audacious legal strategy hinges on this very provision, as they contend that Joe Carollo's actions not only crossed the line but breached the very essence of democratic governance.
Carollo's provocation and Fuller's response
This dramatic legal turn follows Carollo's shocking outburst in response to a federal court's decision allowing Fuller and Pinilla to pursue the collection of his assets. Carollo, who has been under immense pressure since the landmark verdict, lashed out with provocative remarks, essentially challenging his adversaries to take further action. Fuller's response was resounding: a lawsuit aimed at removing the commissioner from office, thereby holding him accountable for his actions.
Carollo's legal defense: Challenging the lawsuit's grounds
In a twist of legal rhetoric, Joe Carollo has vehemently contested the jurisdiction of the lawsuit, suggesting that Fuller and Pinilla do not meet the requirements for such legal action. Furthermore, he has accused the federal court of holding him hostage by delaying the appeal process. His attorney, Ben Kuehne, staunchly maintains that the complaint lacks merit.
A feud forged in Ball & Chain controversy
This legal saga is the latest chapter in a long-standing feud between Carollo and the Little Havana businessmen. It began in 2018 when Fuller and Pinilla filed a lawsuit alleging that Carollo had violated their First Amendment rights. They argued that Carollo had weaponized city resources to tarnish their reputations and target their businesses like Ball & Chain along Little Havana's bustling Southwest Eighth Street. This contentious dispute reached a climax when a federal jury sided with Fuller and Pinilla last June, awarding them a staggering $63.5 million in damages. With the recent approval of this verdict by Judge Rodney Smith, the stage is set for a legal showdown of unprecedented proportions.
The verdict's aftermath: Miami's political landscape at stake
As Miami braces for this legal spectacle, the outcome of Fuller and Pinilla's audacious lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for the city's political landscape. While Joe Carollo fights to maintain his grip on power, these determined businessmen are steadfast in their pursuit of justice, driven by the belief that no one is above the law.
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