I've previously written about the Sarnoff memo, and whether it was a good idea for The Related Group to sue Sarnoff for defamation, if their goal was to make sure no one learned of the contents of the memo.
Fellow blogger Jared Beck does a quick analysis on the Third District opinion here, but I want to again return to the unintended consequences part, which the Third DCA memorializes in a nice causation chain for all to see.
In particular, the Third notes that Sarnoff refused to turn over the memo in response to a public records request from The Related Group.
Now query what would have happened if The Related Group left it right there. Would we be reading the contents of the memo this morning?
In any event, The Related Group immediately sued Sarnoff for defamation, in regards to the alleged contents of the memo. The Third picks up the tale:
As a result of The Related Group’s lawsuit, the Miami Herald learned of the existence of the May Memorandum and it too submitted a public records request to Commissioner Sarnoff seeking a copy of the May Memorandum pursuant to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes. The Related Group did not proceed with its suit and filed a voluntary dismissal of the same on October 11, 2007. On the very next day, October 12, 2007, the Miami Herald renewed its public records request for the May Memorandum to Commissioner Sarnoff. On that same day, The Related Group notified Commissioner Sarnoff by letter that it would reinstate its defamation action against him if he released the May Memorandum as a public record.And there you have it, now we all get to read what Arriola allegedly told Sarnoff. See what happens with "aggressive lawsuits" sometimes? (In John's defense, maybe there were other issues at play here as well.)
Unsure of his legal rights, Commissioner Sarnoff filed the declaratory judgment action below seeking a judicial determination as to whether the May Memorandum is a public record within the meaning of Chapter 119, Florida Statutes. The Miami Herald simultaneously filed its own complaint seeking production of the document pursuant to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes.
And btw, what do you think of Arriola's response:'
Hey, didn't Arriola negotiate the fire fee deal? Remember, this one:
'I never had that conversation with him,'' Arriola said. ``If Marc Sarnoff says that, he's lying, and I don't care if he's a commissioner.''
Replied Sarnoff, in an interview: ``I stand by the memorandum. It's accurate . . . What he chooses to remember now might be a memory of convenience.''
Former City Manager Joe Arriola, who had hammered out the deal over a breakfast meeting with the plaintiffs' attorney, said he thought the $7 million would pay to settle with all fee-payers. Diaz said at the time that he had relied on Arriola to negotiate the deal.Yep, this one:
A former assistant city attorney testified last year under oath that Miami struck the deal specifically to avoid a massive payout to its citizens. Miami's deputy fire chief said the same thing.Boy I love living in Miami!