Two county commissioners squared off Tuesday against County Attorney Denise Dymond Lyn over the Lakeside Ranches case, with one commissioner saying she withheld vital information from the board and another noting that he frequently differs with Lyn’s opinions.
Lyn defended her handling of the case, saying that the county hired an outside attorney to represent it in the lawsuit brought by Lakeside Ranches owner Greg Williams.
She also said Commissioner Scott Carnahan pointedly told her in a private conversation to not schedule an attorney-client closed “shade” meeting to discuss Williams’ offer to end the lawsuit if the county dropped its opposition to his annexing into the city of Inverness.
“You were yelling at me that you did not want to have the shade meeting,” she told Carnahan.
The issue brought some tense moments to Tuesday’s county commission meeting. Any thought that the matter would go further than a public disagreement dissipated when other commissioners said they found no fault in Lyn’s advice in relation to the Williams case.
Carnahan said a citizen told him that Williams had made five offers to settle the legal issues with the county but that Lyn did not present them to the board.
“We’re the ones that need to see the offers,” he said, adding he was “very disturbed” with Lyn’s conduct.
Lyn said the only true offers Williams provided were to settle the code-compliance case the county had against Williams that preceded the court action. A hearing officer, not the county commission, decides code cases, she said.
Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. said Carnahan was accusing Lyn of being “incompetent” and “morally corrupt.”
Lyn said the county commission majority supported both the legal action with Williams and the county’s opposition of his annexation into the city.
Carnahan and Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith supported Williams in the annexation case, and Smith has backed Williams on the code issue from the start. Smith, a former state legislator, said Lakeside Ranches is protected from county regulation by the state’s agritourism law, which is the same position Williams took.
Smith said this isn’t the first time he’s disagreed with Lyn.
He said: “I see legal issues differently.”