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Indian River County to continue legal fight against Brightline

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Posted at 4:41 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 16:41:56-05

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Thanks to $200,000 in private donations, Indian River County commissioners have decided to appeal their case against Virgin Trains, also known as Brightline, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This has been a David and Goliath story from the beginning," said Jack Preschlack of Indian River Shores.

Preschlack went before Indian River County commissioners Tuesday saying he and other private citizens had raised almost $200,000 so the county can file briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court against Brightline.

The county has long argued against how the train used tax-exempt private activity bonds for its funding.

Just last month, after losing in district and appeals courts, the county had decided not to pursue further legal action against the train, which has cost taxpayers $3.5 million to this point. Commissioners unanimously approved the private donations.

“Getting together and supporting a concept and not depending on government doing it all," said Commissioner Joe Flescher

Preschlack said a personal friend, a former U.S. Circuit Court judge, reviewed the county’s case and believed Indian River should have won. Preschlack said he wanted to make sure he’d done everything he could to stop the train.

“You can’t say I did 90 percent. You have to say, I did it all," said Preschlack.

Commissioners say this isn’t the first time the community has stepped forward with extra funds.

“It’s a unique trend, but it’s happened more often here than people might believe," said Commissioner Tim Zorc.

The odds are long that the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case. But if it does, the county will cover the additional $400,000 price tag of arguing before the nation’s highest court.