Save Southern Heritage, an organization that has been a vocal advocate for keeping the Confederate monument in Munn Park, has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to keep the city of Lakeland from moving the 108-year-old memorial to Veterans Park.
“The City gave us no other option,” David McCallister, attorney for the organization, said via a news release sent by Save Southern Heritage.
McAllister, a Tampa-area resident who practices law in Pasco County, has spoken at most of the public meetings when the Lakeland commission discussed the monument.
The suit was prompted by Monday’s 5-2 vote by the Lakeland City Commission to move the monument by Jan. 31, paying for the move with a combination of private donations and proceeds from red-light camera fines.
The monument would be endangered if it is moved, McAllister claimed in the news release. “Most of the people that spoke (at Monday’s meeting) really want the Cenotaph destroyed, and we don’t expect it to last long in Veterans Park, if we lose our appeal to the Court” he said.
In addition to Save Southern Heritage, plaintiffs include several individuals, one of them a Lakeland taxpayer, and the organizations Southern War Cry, Veterans Monuments of America Inc. and Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Defendants include several city commissioners, the city manager, the head of the firm that gave the city an estimate for moving the monument and Florida’s secretary of state.
LkldNow has reached out to the city attorney and city communications director for reaction to the lawsuit.
In a blog post, Winter Haven lawyer Kemp Brinson examines the seven counts in the lawsuit and concludes, “I think this complaint is going nowhere fast, and will easily be disposed of by the lawyers for the city, state, and contractor.”