Mayor Keith James in crosshairs of Sunset Lounge lawsuit

Deposition shows West Palm Beach procurement official did little to prove case against top-ranked bidder, Vita Lounge.

A West Palm Beach city official disqualified the winning bidder to operate the Sunset Lounge, an iconic nightclub in the city’s oldest black neighborhood, in large part because the bidder’s friends waged a Facebook campaign of support.

However, the city’s procurement officer did nothing to investigate whether those friends were representatives of top-ranked Vita Lounge, a standard needed to disqualify them over prohibited lobbying, procurement officer Paul Bassar testified in an Oct. 7 deposition. Instead, he said he relied on copies of Facebook posts provided by his boss, the city attorney.

His answers place West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James squarely in the crosshairs of a lawsuit challenging the city’s disqualification of the all-black Vita Lounge, one of two bidders seeking to run the long-shuttered nightspot in the city’s oldest black neighborhood. 

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Despite Wayne Gretzky, Gardens shot down hockey rink proposal

Internal documents reveal Palm Beach Gardens’ concerns over missed deadlines, bond issue.

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky expressed support for building two hockey rinks in Palm Beach Gardens before the project suffered a devastating crosscheck from city officials.

Gretzky, who recently bought a home in Gardens, had expressed interest in using the $43 million sports complex for his youth hockey school before the city terminated its relationship with the nonprofit behind the project. 

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Gardens cancels $43 million indoor sports complex

Proposal would have brought two ice-skating rinks, gymnasium to North County District Park

City officials have canceled a deal three years in the making to bring a $43 million sports complex with two ice rinks to a Palm Beach Gardens park, claiming that they have better, unspecified offers to pursue.

The termination of the contract with the nonprofit Palm Beach North Athletic Foundation came in private correspondence from the city manager and only became public when raised during the comment portion of the Nov. 3 City Council meeting by Councilmember Mark Marciano.

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Gardens election could be decided without voting

Three candidates lined up to run for three seats; deadline to file is Nov. 30.

The makeup of the Palm Beach Gardens City Council could be determined in the next two weeks without a single vote being cast.

Three seats are open for an election scheduled for March 14. Three people, including Mayor Chelsea Reed, have opened campaign accounts and begun raising money to run. But so far none have drawn challengers.

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