MIAMI-Jorge Perez, chairman of the Related Group, was on the witness stand on Monday in a civil lawsuit brought by a non-profit that charges that the developer manipulated the zoning process to win approval for a condo project in 2007.
A lawsuit brought by The Vizcayans, a fundraising and support group for the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, against the Related Group is now before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Daryl Trawick. Related has asked Judge Trawick to throw out the case, saying that the Vizcayans have failed to prove Related set out to deliberately harm the nonprofit, according to the Miami Herald.
The case involves charges by the not for profit that Related secretly manipulated the zoning process for its planned three-tower condominium development next to Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove The Vizcayans charge that they were forced to spend more than $1 million in legal fees in its successful effort to kill the project.
While the Miami City Commission eventually approved the project by a 3-2 vote in 2007, an appeals court later overturned the approvals ruling that the city violated state zoning laws and that then-Mayor Manny Diaz had improper contact with Related’s Perez during the veto period after the vote, the newspaper stated. Former Mayor Perez was expected to testify Tuesday. See story in the Miami Herald.