By Jon Susce
jsusce @ msn.com
As one of Florida’s major multi-million dollar developers Randy Benderson sat in a local court room last Thursday, Judge Peter Dubensky denied nine motions by Benderson’s attorney Ed Vogler that sought an end to Hugh Culverhouse Jr.’s allegations that Benderson, Henry Rodriquez and Sarasota County officials conspired to increase Benderson and Rodriquez’s financial gain with public funding while attempting to remove Culverhouse from the EEZ Project in Osprey.
Less than a week after the opening of Bender son’s $300 million UTC mall on the University Boulevard, Interstate 75 corridor, Benderson sat stunned as Dubensky denied one after another of Benderson nine requests to end conspiracy and fraud allegations brought by Culverhouse.
If Benderson believed that his reputation perpetuated in the local media as the some sort of celebrity and business diva would sway Dubensky, he was badly mistaken. Dubensky’s well-earned reputation, as the 12th Judicial Circuit District Court’s most outstanding jurist, and he was not swayed by a public relations blitz by the Benderson Corporation, which the local media led by the Sarasota Herald Tribune has enhanced — that Randy Benderson has the Midas touch and is above reproach.
Culverhouse was reportedly in his Miami office, attending to his various business interests. The lawsuit initiated by Culverhouse essentially charges that Benderson and Henry Rodriquez conspired with former Sarasota County Administrator Jim Ley, Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson and other Sarasota County officials to remove Culverhouse from a development project in Osprey.
The decision to remove Culverhouse from the Osprey project would have profited millions of dollars from public expenditures for Benderson and Rodriquez at the expense of Culverhouse. This recent court decision going against Benderson makes it even more apparent that the Culverhouse v. Benderson legal battle is headed for a jury trial in a local courtroom in the near future.