A costly two-year legal battle paid for by Annapolis taxpayers came to a head today as the City of Annapolis took Gavin Buckley, mayoral candidate, and his business partner, Jody Danek, to court, suing the pair for… get this… paint.
It turns out that back in 2015, Lisa Craig, the city employee for “preservation,” slapped a citation on the businessmen for painting their building (home to the Tsunami restaurant) in a way she claimed was not in compliance with the city’s historic preservation laws.
The team cried foul because there are no restrictions at all in the city code about paint, and claimed they had every right to enlist local artist, Jeff Huntington, to liven up the facade with an artistic rendering.
Still, the city refused to back off, and Craig went about shoring up her position. Today, we learned what she found: a 1976 statement in the archives of a private organization (that the judge tossed out), some legal statute from U.S. Department of the Interior (I know right?), and Webster’s dictionary. None made much of a convincing case.
A flustered city attorney tried to paint the paint as something much more sinister than your average paint job, while the defendant’s attorney, Joseph Gormley, argued that paint is paint and the painting on Buckley’s and Danek’s building is protected by the first amendment.
If Annapolis residents think their money could be better spent, or they like the fact that downtown business owners have a say over how they paint their own property, you may want to reach out to the Mayor’s office.
This riveting trial of Big Gov vs. Small Biz will continue next Friday in district court on Rowe Blv. We’re pretty sure the founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves on this one.
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