Those of you who have looked at my website www.gellerlawfirm.com have seen that the three areas of expertise listed on the website are Florida Legislative issues, gambling law and zoning law. I recently had the opportunity to combine all of these areas by testifying to a City Commission as an expert on them.
I was hired as an expert witness in a case involving a pari-mutuel which had applied for a new pari-mutuel permit. As part of the application process, a zoning verification letter was sent from the City where the new permit would be located, verifying that the zoning would permit a pari-mutuel. After this occurred, and after the permit was issued by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, the city decided to change its zoning code. This would change zoning for pari-mutuels from a permitted use to a use that would require a 4/5 vote. I proffered my credentials as an expert and was accepted as an expert by the city. My testimony was that the pari-mutuel gambling is a different statute than slot machines, and is pari-mutuel as opposed to house-banked gambling. I testified that the only types of new pari-mutuels available in that city would be Summer Jai Alai permits, and that I didn’t believe that the Legislature would create new pari-mutuels. I testified that I believed that the pari-mutuel had reasonably relied on the approval letter from the city, that there was either detrimental reliance or estoppel here, and that the City was changing its zoning code in an ex post facto impermissible manner, after the applicant had received the initial approval from the City, been granted a permit by the state, and had applied for the final zoning approval.
I enjoyed the opportunity to use all three of these areas of expertise in the same case. The matter is currently on appeal.