Ponte Vedra, FL – – – – – Fighting to protect the property rights of vacation rental owners in Flagler County and the privacy rights of vacationing guests, Flagler property owner and vacation rental businessman Steve Milo today filed a lawsuit against Flagler County officials alleging that commissioners violated Florida law and the constitutional rights of all citizens when they passed a discriminatory anti-property rights and anti-privacy ordinance last month.
“The Commissioners passed a vindictive ordinance that will effectively prohibit certain types of vacation rentals in Flagler County,” said Milo. “We will vigorously fight for equal protection of all property owners and the privacy rights of the people we represent, and for all property owners who may want to rent their home at some point in the future.”
The lawsuit alleges that commissioners not only violated the right to equal protection provided under the Florida Constitution, but also violates a citizen’s right to privacy by requiring the government to collect the names and ages of anyone staying in certain types of vacation homes in the county, whether they are the renter or just a dependent child.
“Not only does the ordinance trample property rights, but now the commissioners want to trample personal privacy rights too, by forcing vacation rental owners to collect personal data on renters’ family members and hand that information over to the government,” said Peter Heebner, attorney for the plaintiff.
Heebner’s law firm recently won a $30 million judgement against the city of Ponce Inlet, Florida. A jury there found that city leaders stopped citizens from completing a development project after they had already invested substantial sums of money.
Flagler County’s legal exposure in this case is substantially higher.
The lawsuit lists eight counts against Flagler County, including allegations that commissioners violated state laws that specifically protect property owners from local politician who pass laws that restrict or impinge their existing, legal vacation rental homes.
“This is a ham-handed attempt by Flagler politicians to please a small but vocal minority of constituents who don’t care if other people’s jobs are destroyed,” said Milo. “This community depends on tourism and the jobs it creates, and this ordinance will crush the livelihoods of those that depend on a thriving rental industry in Flagler County.”
The lawsuit, filed today in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Flagler County, seeks declaratory judgement and injunctive relief.