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Monday, March 4, 2013

Stuart News: Lake Point mine sues environmentalist #tcot

Lake Point mine sues environmentalist

By George Andreassi 

 772-221-4241 

Copyright © 2013 Scripps Media Inc. 02/27/2013 | page B1

STUART — The Lake Point rock mine filed a lawsuit against Maggy Hurchalla claiming she made false statements in an attempt to kill a deal that would transfer the 2,000-acre property to a state agency and allow mining for 20 years.

“Hurchalla is singling out Lake Point and is attempting to put Lake Point out of business,” the suit claims.

The complaint filed Feb. 20 in Circuit Court in Martin County asks a judge to order Hurchalla, a well-known environmentalist and former county commissioner, to retract statements plaintiffs claim are false and stop interfering with Lake Point’s business.

Located in southeastern Martin County near Lake Okeechobee, Lake Point is the largest rock mine in Martin County.

A prior Martin County Commission majority signed off on a deal in 2009 in which Lake Point would donate its property to the South Florida Water Management District in exchange for the right to continue mining for 20 years.

Lake Point has been working with several government agencies on plans to redevelop its property into a stormwater treatment facility that would improve the quality of the waterflowing into the St. Lucie Estuary and provide a new source of drinking water to Palm Beach County. 

Lake Point’s suit claims Hurchalla made “false statements of material fact” in an effort to convince the new “slow growth” Martin County Commission majority to scrap the deal. 

Lake Point’s suit claims Hurchalla falsely stated “the project has been ‘fast tracked and allowed to violate the rules.’” The suit also claims Hurchalla falsely stated the project “destroys 60 acres of wetlands.” 

In addition, the suit claims Hurchalla falsely stated, “There was no public knowledge of any plan, concept or idea that required purchase of the Lake Point property.” 

Lake Point’s suit says the project has followed the rules, has not destroyed wetlands and has met normal public notice requirements. 

Hurchalla referred questions to her lawyers, who could not immediately be reached for comment. 

A spokeswoman for Lake Point, Honey Rand, said, “No one wants to be in this position, but Maggie’s false statements have had a material impact on Lake Point’s business operation, costing time and money and harming the reputation of the project and the owners.” 

Lake Point also has filed suit against Martin County claiming the county breached its agreements to allow the continuation of the mining operation and the development of the stormwater treatment facility. 

The commissioners were discussing their legal strategy Tuesday afternoon in a private session with the county’s legal staff. 


No one wants to be in this position, but Maggie’s false statements have had a material impact on Lake Point’s business operation, costing time and money and harming the reputation of the project and the owners.” 

Honey Rand, spokeswoman for Lake Point 


Copyright © 2013 Scripps Media Inc. 02/27/2013

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