Surfside Hires Gerald Houlihan For Only $750 an Hour!

Boy do those schleppers in Surfside know how to cut a deal.

For example, after getting hit with a federal lawsuit over a refusal to make some zoning changes to accommodate an expanded synagogue, the town attorney allegedly recommended they hire a federal lawsuit "specialist" who she -- according to this New Times article -- also just happens to be "dating," none other than dashing Gerry Houlihan:
This past December, Young Israel of Bal Harbour — a Jewish congregation that is actually based in Surfside — filed a lawsuit against the town after the town commission voted no to make zoning amendments that would have allowed the group to establish a new synagogue on an 8,000-square-foot lot it had purchased for $1.5 million. Young Israel claimed this was a violation of its members' religious rights, and demanded $5 million in punitive damages.

This sounds like a job for that town attorney. Except Dannheisser opined that the case required a specialist in federal lawsuits. She "looked around for the most experienced litigator," she explained at a recent commission meeting. She officially recommended that the town hire Gerald Houlihan. The Coral Gables attorney and Dannheisser are, by her own public admission, "dating." Houlihan's firm agreed to represent Surfside in the battle against the Jewish congregation for the low, low price of $750 an hour.
What's the problem?

Isn't that the whole point of being a town attorney -- steering business to friends, lovers and former colleagues?

Seriously, why else do it?

(I guess there's also all the free tickets!)

I also think Lynn cut a great deal getting Gerry at a bargain basement rate -- the dude's practically doing this pro bono as a public service -- just listen to Lynn explain it:
Dannheisser's somewhat mind-blowing defense: that Surfside has already obtained the services of another law firm — Weiss, Serota & Helfman — and that she was once a law partner with Joe Serota. Dannheisser boasted that "because of those personal relationships, I have been able to request that the attorneys cut their legal fees from $500 an hour to $250 per hour." That, she claimed, is "the benefit of those relationships."

(Psst -- don't tell anyone about what Michael Pizzi is charging the town of Medley, it might make Gerry seem a little pricey).


  1. Nice to see a former AUSA continuing to do a stand up job for the community!

  2. paying $75000 for a Prius

  3. Surfside residentApril 22, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    For the readers sake, would someone please explain what AUSA represents and stands for?

  4. Surfside town hall wreaks of conflict of interest, ethics violations, no bid contracts, and a big pipeling transfering public funds into private hands. There is no authority enforcing integrity so the gates are wide open.


    According to court documents, Stackhouse stole about $990,000 from loans he obtained from the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust and Tremont Realty Capital LLC in Boston. One method he allegedly used was to submit invoices to one of the lenders that had already been paid by the other as well as faked documents for work that was never performed.
    Come on -- don't make it sound so novel!

    Half of Miami's publicly-financed projects were built that way.

    His attorney Larry Handfield says Dennis didn't make a penny from this project.

    You're not kidding -- it gets tougher and tougher to do it right.

    BTW, new South Miami City Manager Roger Carlton vetted Stackhouse and helped oversee the failed biopark project:

    However, Carlton was the public face of several controversial projects, including a failed biotech park in Liberty City. Some, at the time of his dismissal, believed him to be a scapegoat.

    Burgess could not be reached for comment Friday.

    Carlton said that ``we all could have done a better job'' on the project, including vetting its troubled developer, Dennis Stackhouse, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to five counts of bundling campaign contributions. ``It was a learning experience for everyone involved.''

    It's nice to learn. I like learning. We learn a lot here in South Florida.
    Town Manager Roger Carlton and Town Attorney Lynn Dannheisser - sharks season 2012 SURFSIDE another community to be devoured by the evil appetite. Greed waste conspiracy deception coverup corruption evil.

  6. Save Surfside and Who Controls Surfside

    See the documents

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