Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Columbia County

Excelsior Ambulance Claimed Sherman Anti-Trust Act Violation Lands the County 5 in Federal Court

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL –  Florida's legendary Columbia County 5, known for operating in the shadows; keeping economic development in check to keep cheap labor in the fields; and a legendary failure to follow the most rudimentary forms of parliamentary procedure and plain common sense, found itself in Federal Court for the failure to award Excelsior Ambulance Company a license to operate in Columbia County and interfering with a federal small business contract. Columbia County 5 Economic Under-Development: Another Bollixed Deal...

The Federal Court Papers are Here:
• Excelsior Complaint w/exhibits
• Excelsior Motion for Injunction w/exhibits

Additionally, The 5 were alleged to have ignored correspondence from Excelsior, while giving a copy of the license (the draft resolution) to an Excelsior competitor, without giving a copy to Excelsior (see par. 51: Motion for Preliminary Injunction); attempting to limit free and open competition; revoking a promise to issue the license to keep a favored incumbent competitor as the ongoing provider to the VA; caused Excelsior irreparable harm because of lost income, and other things.

Excelsior's complaint in the Federal Court in Jacksonville complains that The 5 violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act; violated Florida's Anti-Trust Act; and tortiously interfered with Excelsior's right to do business with the federal government after being awarded a federal contract.

Excelsior Failed to Serve Columbia County Timely

Unexplained is the reason that Excelsior did not serve the Complaint and the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction on Columbia County on or about the time that the pleadings were filed in the Federal Court on Friday, August 21, 2015.

This was noted by Fed. Dist. Ct. Judge Brian Davis, when on August 25 he wrote:

THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Doc. 2; Motion], filed August 21, 2015. Upon review of the Motion and the Complaint [Doc. 1], it appears that Plaintiff has not yet effected service of process on Defendant in accordance with Rule 4, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

As a consequence, Judge Davis took the motion for the Preliminary Injunction, (which could have ordered The 5 to award the license to operate in Columbia County) "UNDER ADVISEMENT" and ordered Excelsior to "promptly" serve The County 5 with his signed order and all the papers filed in the lawsuit.

Columbia County was served [they got everything] on August 26.

August 26: Columbia County in a Panic

Resolution 2015R-15, claims to have been adopted at a non-existent meeting.

In times of extraordinary emergency, the County, according to Florida law, can call for an emergency meeting on as short notice as it takes the County 5 to meet. The County is to use all means possible to advise the public and the media of this meeting. Columbia County uses email and could have advised the media of any emergency meeting on August 26. It did not.

On August 31, your reporter asked via email if either the Clerk's Office or the County Manager knew of any meeting of the County 5 on August 26. Your reporter was advised that there was no notice and no meeting.

Sometime on August 26, Commissioner Sylvester "Bucky" Nash signed Resolution 2015R-15. The resolution clearly states: Passed and Adopted this 26th day of August, 2015 by the Board of County Commissioners of Columbia County, Florida.

They never met.

According to Commissioner Nash, County Attorney Joel Foreman told him to sign it, which he obviously did. It is not clear if Commissioner Nash read the resolution before endorsing it with his "John Hancock."


The old ways of Columbia County got them into this mess. If the County Attorney, the Acting County Manager, and the County 5 were prepared on August 6, the County residents would not now be facing a boat load of potential legal fees which could have been spent on something worthwhile. Nor would Columbia County's name once again be the subject of disbelief and the phrase, "You just can't make this up."

The Columbia County 5, the legend continues.

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