Please Note the Write of CERTIORARI to the First District Court of Appeals which Helen Miller filed with the Circuit Court first and then in September the First District Court of Appeals allowed for an oral argument by each attorney, Mark Herron for Helen B. Miller and Darren Elkind for the “Town of White Springs”.
Now since the initial hearing where Darren Elkind, Stacy Tebo’s friend and former co-worker in Sanford, handled the initial Quasi Judicial Hearing in White Springs, we have been attempting to secure the Contract from both the Town of White Springs as well as from Darren Elkind’s office. The reason for this is strictly because under the Terms of Engagement Agreement which is a boilerplate document it states “Our services are limited to the matter identified in the attached letter.”
Although the reference states “Town of White Springs – Hearing re: Removal of Town Council Member, the letter itself states “My duties will be to represent the TOWN’S STAFF, to include the TOWN MANAGER, at the hearing before the Town Council regarding the removal of Council Miller pursuant to Section 2.03 of the Town’s Charter.”
Please see the following segment of The Petition for Writ of CERTIORARI. This court document has nothing to do with the Town’s Staff nor the Town Manager. Rather it has to do with the Town of White Springs.
Yet each time we have pointed it out to the Town or to Darren Elkind’s office we were told a contract existed. Finally after many requests we received the contract, which is the Contract covering only the Town Staff and Town Manager NOT THE TOWN OF WHITE SPRINGS. Perhaps it seems a bit ambiguous but if one was an attorney, one would not like that ambiguity to sustain the fact that as an attorney one did not have a contract with the “Town”. Since the letter stipulates the Duties, I hereby must state, Darren Elkind DOES NOT HAVE A CONTRACT WITH THE TOWN OF WHITE SPRINGS ONLY THE TOWN OF WHITE’S SPRINGS STAFF INCLUDING THE TOWN MANAGER. Therefore, perhaps those on the council who did nothing about this and voted against Miller’s rejection to pay monies due Elkind should realize, this is a matter of principle. Perhaps the Town set a precedence but the Boiler Plate Contract specifically states “Our services are limited to the matter identified in the attached letter”. At least that should have been done before Oral Argument or as soon as he received the paperwork to which he responded to the Circuit Court.
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, FIRST DISTRICT
L.T. No.: 2017-095-CA
HELEN MILLER, Petitioner
TOWN OF WHITE SPRINGS, a Municipal Corporation Existing Under the Laws of The State of Florida, Respondent
PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI
THE BASIS FOR INVOKING THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT
Petitioner Helen Miller (“Miller”) respectfully requests that this Court exercise its certiorari jurisdiction and quash the March 23, 2018 “Order Denying Petition for Writ of Certiorari” issued by the circuit court, see Appx. Tab 43, which upheld the decision of the Town Council of White Springs that Miller forfeited her office by willfully violating express prohibitions of the Town Charter. In
PAUL, ELKIND, BRANZ & KELTON, P.A.
TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT AGREEMENT
The statement set forth the standard terms of our engagement as your lawyers. Unless modified in writing by mutual agreement, these terms will be an integral part of our agreement with you. Therefore, we ask that you review this statement carefully and contact us promptly if you have any questions.
The Scope of Our Work
You should have a clear understanding of the legal services we will provide. Any questions that you have should be dealt with promptly. Our services are limited to the matter identified in the attached letter. We will rely, to the extent appropriate under the circumstances, on the information and materials which you provide to us in the provision of our legal services. We cannot provide you with investment, business, accounting or tax advice.
The attached letter:
August 24, 2017
Town of White Springs, Attention: Stacy Tebo
Re: Town of White Springs-Hearing re: Removal of Town Council Member
Dear Ms. Tebo:
I want to thank you for the opportunity to represent the town staff of the Town of White Springs, regarding an upcoming hearing to determine the removal of Town Council Member Dr. Helen B. Miller. I would ask that you please allow this letter to confirm the terms of our engagement. My duties will be to represent the town’s staff, to include the Town Manager, at the hearing before the Town Council regarding the removal of Councilmember Miller pursuant to Section 2.03 of the Town’s Charter. I understand that the Town Attorney will advise the Town Council regarding all procedural issues during the hearing and will otherwise represent the Town as an entity during this process. It is further my understanding that the Town Council has, by majority vote, authorized my representation as set forth in this letter and that the Town will be responsible to pay my fees. I have agreed to bill at a rate of $250 per hour, and that I have agreed to bill a flat charge of 5.0 hours for each trip to White Springs. We have anticipated that I will only make one trip for the hearing and that all preparation with staff will be done telephonically. I will not take any phone calls from members of the public nor any other person other than yourself, unless you specifically instruct me to either make or take such phone calls. I understand that the above-referenced hearing has not yet been scheduled, and I am prepared, upon execution of this engagement letter, to schedule the hearing with you.
In addition to the foregoing terms, our firm’s standard Terms of Engagement Agreement is attached hereto and forms a part of our agreement to provide legal services. Should you have any questions regarding the foregoing or in any way disagree with these terms, please contact me immediately. Otherwise, please sign in the space indicated below and return this letter to me. I look forward to working with you.
Very truly yours
Darren J. Elkind
Accepted and signed by Stacy Tebo
In Mr. Elkind’s Terms of Engagement Letter, you will see that it is his duty only to represent the Town’s staff and including the Town Manager. He further States that he understands that the Town Attorney will advise the town Council regarding all procedural issues and otherwise represent the Town as an entity during this process. WHAT I DO NOT SEE IS A SEPARATE CONTRACT BETWEEN THE TOWN OF WHITE SPRINGS AND DARREN ELKIND WHEREBY HE HAS A DUTY TO REPRESENT THE TOWN. HE MAY CONSIDER THIS MATTER MOOT BUT A CONTRACT IS A CONTRACT WHETHER YOU CALL IT THE TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT OR A CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT.
The remaining Terms of Engagement are general and provide the conditions, such as legal fees, out of pocket expense, retainer and trust deposits and termination BOILERPLATES. As was stated in the Scope of his work, the letter is the true contractual agreement.
In the Termination section it states “upon completion of our representation of you in the matter referenced in the attached letter…..the attorney-client relationship will end unless we have expressly agreed to continued representation in other matters. SO WHEN DID THE COUNCIL APPROVE DARREN ELKIND’S CONTINUED REPRESENTATION OF STAFF AND THE TOWN MANAGER WHEN IN ACTUALITY THE WRIT OF CERTIORARIE IS RELATING TO THE TOWN OF WHITE SPRINGS.
Karin for the blog