Two Gainesville residents added a new lawsuit to those already filed over House Bill 1645 and the new Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority (GRUA).
Filed on Friday in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, the lawsuit on behalf of Kristen Young and David Hammer takes aim at the city of Gainesville, Mayor Harvey Ward and the new chair of the GRUA Craig Carter.
The lawsuit asks each to legally justify their actions. The city is asked to justify the existence of “a purported unit of government known as the GRUA.” Ward is asked to justify his action to swear in four members of the new authority. Carter is asked to justify what authority he has to take the position of chair for the GRUA.
The lawsuit asks the court to establish that the GRUA has no legal existence.
Since the start of HB 1645, lawsuits have sought to stop it. Gainesville Residents United filed a suit in federal court on 12 counts. The city of Gainesville sued Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, but a Tallahassee judge dismissed the claims.
Two members of Gainesville Residents United, Robert Hutchinson and Jeffrey Shapiro, filed a new suit claiming the appointments by DeSantis are invalid.
DeSantis nominated five members for the GRUA, but one resigned before taking the post. The authority is scheduled to meet for the second time on Nov. 1.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the lawsuit by Gainesville Residents United is ongoing.