Vita wins lawsuit against the City of WPB

Once again WPBF (channel 25) Investigative Reporter Terri Parker was the first to report Vita LLC has won the lawsuit against WPB Mayor Keith James.

“Vita Lounge LLC won its lawsuit against the city of West Palm Beach to get back its winning bid to take over the Sunset Lounge.”

“Specifically, Vita sought to have the Court determine whether the CRA improperly disqualified it as the winning proposer for the operation of the Sunset Lounge,” according to the final lawsuit judgement.”
The court had to decide whether the disqualification was proper and lawful.

“The Court finds it was not,” the final judgement states. “The City urges the Court to find that, as long as Mr. Bassar was acting in good faith, the Court must defer to his decision. The City asserts that in order to invalidate Mr. Bassar’s  decision, the Court must find evidence of illegality, fraud, oppression or misconduct.”

The court found that Bassar sent the letter after the fact that he had decided there had been reasons for disqualifications on an interpretation of rules that “may have been unconstitutional and therefore illegal.”

Ms. Parker’s story can be found below and includes the news interview with Darrin Cummings, who the City claims gave an interview with WPBF without the City’s consent and was part of the lawsuit.  Also includes Court Judge Bell’s 19 page decision.

Procurement Officer According to Google. What does a city procurement officer do?

“Oversees preparation or negotiation of contracts and awards. Oversees the preparation of proposed City Council resolutions for all public contracting activities. Plans, develops, and implement innovative strategies for value-based enterprise-wide procurement requirements.”

Keith James sworn in as Mayor on April 4, 2019, and the City has had 4 Procurement Officer’s in 4 years.

Frank Hayden 2013 until 2019. Mr. Hayden was successful as the city’s Procurement Officer for 6 years until April 4,2019.

Effective 5/24/2021 Nathaniel Rubel (7 months)

Effective 12/13/2021 Paul Basser (1 year)

Effective: 01/09/2023 Donna Levengood

The City has spent many thousands of taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit that should never have happened and thousands more it cost taxpayers to have the Sunset Lounge remain shuttered. The next process is to have negotiations in “good faith” between the City and Vita LLC. My best to Vita.
In closing this story, I am happy to inform WPB Watch readers that the black community has found justice, not because of the city’s first strong black Mayor Keith James but received justice through Judge Bell and the attorney’s who defended Vita F. Malcom Cunningham Jr. Esquire and Amy L. Fischer, Attorney at Law.


The end.