City faces lawsuit over PI hire

Mar 15, 2012

A number of city commissioners say Tallahassee should do what it can to settle a small-claims case that city lawyers say boils down to a locked gate. Regan McCarthy has more.

Erwin Jackson filed a lawsuit against the city when officials locked a gate blocking Jackson from traveling along a power line corridor to reach a utility shed at the back of a rental property he owns. Now city officials are facing criticism for hiring a private investigator to track just what Jackson has been doing. Assistant City Attorney Louis Norvell  says the shed violates city zoning ordinances because its being used for business purposes. 

“We’ve got evidence that he’s got employees that are going out on a daily, or near daily basis serving his mutli-unit apartment complex and other properties.”

Norvell  says that’s why he asked to hire a private investigator, but says he didn’t do so at the commission’s request. Jackson says the city doesn’t own the property and says he was told when he bought his property about 60 years ago he could use that space.