The lawsuit recently survived a motion to dismiss after Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Lisa Walsh ruled the complaint should be allowed to proceed. Walsh declined, however, too prevent the Democratic party from certifying the election of Bittel, as they had already done so.
Jacobs filed the lawsuit last month, along with Dr. Mae Christian, a civil rights advocate and president of Miami-Dade County’s Democratic Black Caucus. The lawsuit names as defendants Bittel, the Florida Democratic Party and the Miami-Dade Executive Committee chairman, Juan Cuba.
Plaintiffs are asking the court to review the election process of the committee, as well as issue a declaratory judgment that would find Bittel is not eligible to hold his position as state committeeman. The lawsuit also seeks to block the party from allowing Bittel to run for chairman.
At the heart of this complaint is the fact that Bittel, a billionaire real estate developer from Miami Beach, was never properly credentialed. He has been donating to politicians and political causes for years. While there is nothing technically wrong with this, the concern is that Bittel allegedly broke a number of party rules trying to attain this role as a state chairman of the party.
Jacobs, a former Bruce Sanders presidential delegate and long-time Miami foreclosure lawyer, says the lawsuit was a last resort after the Democratic Party leaders for Miami-Dade County and Florida consistently turned a blind eye to this issue. There is evidence party leaders delayed attention to this matter and then refused to enforce the party’s bylaws and even state election laws just to ensure Bittel was seated.
An attorney for Bittel has alleged this lawsuit is an effort to obstruct the process unnecessarily, but Jacobs’ concern is that Bittel is not a true representative of the party because he wasn’t voted into the membership with a quorum present. He also reportedly never took the loyalty oath, which is required per the party’s charter.
All of this is occurring just months after the failed leadership at the Democratic National Convention resulted in a stinging loss during the presidential election. Bittel is known to have close ties to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Plaintiffs here are alleging that the state and local Democratic Party flouted their own guidelines and bylaws in order to strong-arm Bittel into this seat, so that he would be able to run for the state party chair.
In the defense motion to dismiss, it was alleged the courts are not the proper venue for this complaint, which should first wind its way through the party’s appellate process. Defendants say administrative remedies should have been exhausted first before a lawsuit was filed.
However, the circuit judge declined to dismiss at this juncture. Walsh has granted plaintiffs 10 days to amend the complaint to reveal any new developments that may have arisen and also explain whether all administrative remedies have yet been exhausted.
If you’re battling debt collection in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs|Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday at 5 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs and Court Keeley,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Foreclosure Attorney’s Suit to Boot Dem. Party Leader Can Proceed, Feb. 3, 2017, By Samantha Joseph, Daily Business Review
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