Local News

Notice for trial posted for former Avon Park finance director

AVON PARK - A lawsuit filed by former Avon Park Finance Director Renee Green against the City of Avon Park got a step closer to going to trial.

A "Notice of Trial" was filed by the City Labor Attorney Brian Koji Wednesday, indicating the city is ready for a date to be set in the case.

A lawsuit filed Feb. 21, 2012, by Green and her attorney, Robert Grizzard II, against the City of Avon Park claimed there was no "just cause" for City Manager Julian Deleon to terminate Renee Green after she served as the city's finance director for more than 10 years.

In the complaint, Grizzard stated there didn't seem to be any cause for her firing except her opposition to the "wrongful and wasteful actions, and misfeasance and malfeasance of Deleon as public works director, as interim city manager and then as city manager."

Grizzard cited two other motives for Green's termination: her testimony and production of documents to the state attorney's office in response to her subpoenaed testimony on two occasions; and her resistance to the scheme to defraud the county by changing the payroll.

Grizzard said Thursday he didn't know when the order for trial would come, but it wouldn't be before the end of August and probably would be after September. He said the notice shows the city has everything in place to defend itself in the case but still wanted more "discovery" - the efforts of a party to a lawsuit and its attorneys to get information before trial through documents, depositions, potential witnesses, written interrogatories and other documentation - before a date is formally set.

"I'm pretty sure there will be more discovery and mediation taken before the trial and then we'll see where we are," Grizzard said.

In a complaint, filed by Grizzard in 2012, it stated that in April 2010, Deleon began protesting purchasing procedures and the role that Green had in that process. It stated Deleon sent purchase orders to Green without proper documentation; objected to her cash management delay of one month for a purchase; questioned the practice and policy for budget "rollovers"; and wrote at least one offensive memo to the then-city manager concerning Green and proposed spending that had not been budgeted,

The complaint stated actions by Deleon and others on behalf of the city caused damages to Green, including mental anguish, loss of income, denigration of her business reputation and loss of benefits, the complaint states.

"I am personally pushing our attorneys to expeditiously move forward," Deleon said Thursday. "So far, we have enjoyed a good winning streak while prevailing in all complaints filed. We have already gone through depositions and discovery. Like in all past cases, if we prevail, we will pursue attorney's fees and costs. We are ready for action."

At its Sept. 26, 2012 meeting, the city council approved a severance package for Green that included four months pay.

Prior to Green's termination letter, Deleon requested an administrative inquiry of the finance department, which was conducted by Avon Park Police Detective Nathan Coogan.


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