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The Villages

CDD 7 fires its legal counsel after hit with $10,000 bill

The Community Development District 7 Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted to terminate the contract with its legal counsel after being hit with a bill of more than $10,000.

The CDD 7 Board unanimously voted to terminate its relationship with the Brionez & Brionez law firm, which has an office on County Road 466 in Lady Lake.

The Brionez & Brionez law firm has an office on County Road 466 in Lady Lake.

CDD 7 supervisors are unhappy that nearly half of its budget is now devoted to the Project Wide Advisory Committee, which pools resources from CDDs south of County Road 466 to pay for shared infrastructure. CDD 7’s share of the PWAC budget for 2020-21 is $1.292 million.

CDD 7 supervisors contend that PWAC answers to the Sumter Landing Community Development District Board of Supervisors, which has the real power and is beholden to the Developer.

CDD 7 supervisors have threatened to withhold funding from PWAC.

CDD 7 supervisors had tasked legal counsel Mark Brionez with researching case law and statutes regarding its budget and relationship with PWAC. Brionez & Brionez sent CDD 7 bills for $4,654 for May and $5,533 for June. You can see copies of the bills at these links: Brionez & Brionez May bill Brionez & Brionez June bill

Mark Brionez in a July 21 memo indicated he would need to recuse himself from representing CDD 7 at Thursday’s special meeting because he represents the other CDDs which make up PWAC.

“Somewhere before his $10,000 bill he should have concluded he had a conflict of interest,” said Supervisor Bill Vondohlen.

Now CDD 7 begins the search for new legal counsel, a task that could take up to 60 days.

“We want to pick our attorney. We have the final say. You have to remember they will work for us. In the past, we had an attorney that worked for The Villages in general,” said CDD 7 Supervisor Jerry Vicenti.

PWAC had been scheduled to meet in a special session Monday to deal with the anticipated fallout from Thursday’s CDD 7 meeting. However, the PWAC meeting for Monday has now been canceled.

Thursday’s CDD 7 meeting was attended by attorney Lewis Stone, who serves as counsel for the Sumter Landing Community Development District Board of Supervisors. He did not speak at the meeting, but sat in the audience quietly taking notes.

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