Thursday, July 16, 2009

Calling their bluff

I want to play poker with these folks... I think this is called bluffing. I can see the end game now: city pays Lamar some fraction of that million to get them to finish the billboard and get them off the hook for the entire amount. Otherwise I figure that if they try to use it for some other commercial purpose, or leased to another billboard firm (is there any other billboard firm around?)... then Lamar could have other legal recourse as well I am just guessing. Maybe a non-profit use of the device would be ok?

Wait, I have it. Forget the live streaming on the Internet. City council live on the big screen!


Anonymous MH said...

I don't see why the city couldn't try to lease it to somebody else. I never cared about the sign. Just thought that they should have tried to get more money for the right to hang it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009 5:17:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

If it weren't for the fact that this kind of stuff drags for years, it would be a good Inking market.

Thursday, July 16, 2009 5:35:00 PM  
Blogger n'at said...

I'd bet you a gazillion Zimbabwean dollars that their claim is denied. As I recall from the court decision one of the reasons Lamar lost was because they did not properly perform their due diligence review of the city code. Whereas, their claim that they were working on a verbal agreement with the city was poor judgement on their part.

Thursday, July 16, 2009 7:00:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Could Pat Ford kick in something for their pain?

Thursday, July 16, 2009 7:28:00 PM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

This appeal comes exactly one day after both replacements on the city's Zoning Board were confirmed. This board must really be keeping Lamar's regional managers up at night.

I can see a future in which the new Zoning Board grants a new permit, which is what it would have to be. The Zoning Board is quasi-judicial, which I believe means it is empowered to do certain things outside a strict interpretation of the zoning code if it would like, with the understanding that aggrieved parties can always seek redress in Court. It's sort of like gambling that those who lost out won't know, won't bother, or won't successfully navigate their legal options.

I can't see a way that new permit would stand up to an inevitable court challenge -- assuming those who protest it could establish legal standing.

Neither the ZBA nor Judge James ruled definitively on standing issues the first time around -- the ZBA just sort of granted it for the sake of argument. I do think it's telling that Lamar accomplished less than nothing during its day in court, so that might be an indication.

I'm not 100% positive whether the residents of the Pennsylvanian would have standing, but I'm about 80% sure. I still feel like Mr. Dowd alone probably would not. I feel 100% sure that City Council, acting properly as such, WOULD have legal standing -- its own zoning powers would be getting hijacked -- but it'd be a challenge assembling the five votes. Dowd would probably be in a mood to escalate things to that level this time, but for reasons I recently blogged about it might still be challenging.

It's a shame you can't major in this.

Friday, July 17, 2009 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

It came TWO days after the new ZBA members won approval, sorry.

Friday, July 17, 2009 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Lamar is suing in Court precisely because they cannot merely file a new application on this matter.

Lamar's best chance for a revival would be for the Commonwealth Court to rule that Mitinger was wrong either in her findings of facts or in her conclusions of law, and remands the ZBA decision back to the ZBA for further action.

You don't just get to instantly refile an application before the ZBA because you didn't like their last ruling, because they ARE quasi-judicial.

An appeal is the only option available to them.

Friday, July 17, 2009 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

"You don't just get to instantly refile an application before the ZBA because you didn't like their last ruling, because they ARE quasi-judicial."

I wasn't sure about that, so thanks!, but I'd feel better if I knew where it states that and the parameters for "instantly". It has been a little over half a year since that decision.

I (and it sounds like Chris) interpreted Lamar's appeal as little more than the occasion for seeking (and granting) a settlement which may include a reversal. I don't ever recall them sending out press releases regarding their legal maneuvers before.

Friday, July 17, 2009 2:05:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

I used to live in the Pennsylvanian and probably would have had that sign in my view (though it was the old bus stop when I used to live there). Too bad there were no grocery stores or anything down there at time time.

Friday, July 17, 2009 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I have complete faith in the creativity of lawyers to find new paths for all of this. How pathological this goes has been unpredicable thus far. This has all been a demonstration in chaos theory to date. In the future, does the city have to pay to remove the thing on top of paying Lamar, or do they sue Lamar to do that.

Friday, July 17, 2009 2:24:00 PM  

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