Clearwater reaches deal with shop, but proprietor is not happy listen07/28/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:
A bait shop owner in Clearwater who sued the city over his fish mural has reached an agreement that will pay him $55,000.
Herb Quintero owns The Complete Angler, located on North Fort Harrison Avenue. Shortly after opening the establishment early last year, he commissioned a mural depicting various fish on the side of his building.
But Clearwater officials said that violated city codes, claiming that the mural advertised â€˜signageâ€™ for the business. Quintero said it was a mural, and the move was anti-free speech. He elicited the support of the ACLU, and sued the city.
After a year of litigation, the City agreed last week to pay Quintero $55,000 and will allow the painting to stay without citing him. Quintero says all of that money will go to his attorneys. He says heâ€™ll get about $1,000, which will compensate him for the fine he initially paid, as well as materials he used in court.
Overall, heâ€™s not really happy about how it all went down.
The ACLU of Florida and its Pinellas County Chapter filed a federal lawsuit against Clearwater this past February. St. Petersburg based lawyer Bruce Howie was one of several attorneys affiliated with the ACLU who worked on Herb Quinteroâ€™s case.
Herb Quintero and his supporters have created a website since Clearwater originally targeted the Complete Angler, called keepthefish.com.
Earlier Tuesday there were a list of requirements that Quintero had requested that Clearwater should do in the future to prevent such incidents. Though they were not listed later in the day on the site, he strongly believes that strong leadership is needed in Clearwater, prompting WMNF to ask if heâ€™s thinking himself of running for office.
Attorney Bruce Howie does believe that Clearwater officials will act differently if a similar scenario occurs in the future.
The Clearwater City Council will meet next week to potentially approve the settlement deal.