Wilson to appeal court ruling and will seek return to Vero council

VERO BEACH — After a week of considering all options, ousted Vero Beach Councilman Charlie Wilson announced Tuesday he will appeal Judge Paul Kanarek’s ruling he was not a city resident long enough to be elected to the City Council. Wilson will also file for a stay so he can reclaim his City Council seat while awaiting a hearing on the appeal.”I disagree with the ruling, and will fight on, we are a nation of laws and I will respect the decision of the court and wish to thank Judge Kanarek for his thoughtful consideration, but the right of appeal is also part of the law,” Wilson said in a statement.Advisers have told Wilson an appeal could take up to a year to be decided. Wilson’s main reason for wishing to return to the Vero Beach City Council was to continue his goal of getting the city out of the electric business. He engineered a 3-2 vote during his first month in office to get the city to ask Florida Power and Light to consider buying the the city’s power plant.”I am willing to fight if it is the only way to accomplish change and especially relief from the City’s crushing electric monopoly,” Wilson said.Wilson had received assurance from Mayor Kevin Sawnick on Monday night that he would honor the council’s Dec. 1 FP&L vote, but the Mayor wanted to wait until March to see the first set of bills from the city’s new power provider, the Orlando Utilities Commission, before exploring the option of selling the plant.Wilson said the city needs to notify FP&L before Dec. 31 to keep the process moving forward in a timely fashion.”A study offered by FP&L will likely take 10 months to complete so the option to sell will be presented to a newly elected council in 2010,” Wilson said.The next item of business on Wilson’s agenda is to figure out how to fund the appeal.”The appeal process will cost an estimated $10,000 and I will need help, but I will file an intent to appeal and request an immediate stay from Judge Kanarek before Dec. 31,” Wilson said in his statement.In the meantime, three beachside Realtors — Richard Kennedy, Al Benkert and William Mills — have applied to be interviewed as part of the process the City Council had put in place to fill Wilson’s Council seat by Jan. 12, 2010.

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