Was she just a concerned citizen or was she the unseen hand that helped undermine a business project
Tuesday, the civil trial against former Martin County Commissioner Maggy Hurchalla got underway.
Hurchalla is accused of interfering with the business of Lake Point Restoration.
“Who tried to use those lies to influence her friends who were on the county commission," said Lake Point Attorney Ethan Loeb during opening statements.
“Maggy was searching for the truth. Maggy is not a liar," said Virginia Sherlock, Hurchalla's attorney.
Lake Point is a rock mining business near Lake Okeechobee first approved as a subdivision in 2008. A few years later, Hurchalla began sending emails to commissioners expressing concerns over wetlands.
Lake Point attorneys showed jurors several emails sent from Hurchalla, one signed “Deep Rockpit," to commissioner Sarah Heard and others.
“She took what Maggy Hurchalla said to her and ran with it," said Ethan Loeb.
Current Deputy County Administrator Don Donaldson was previously county engineer. He testified there was no environmental damage.
"No wetlands were destroyed or impacted as a result of the project," said Donaldson.
Commissioner Heard, along with commissioner Ed Fielding and former commissioner Anne Scott, face misdemeanor charges for public records violations relating to Lake Point.
Hurchalla’s attorney says her client was a private citizen, with no control over what the commission would do.
“Maggy Hurchalla has no authority to make the county commission or individual commissioners do anything," said Virginia Sherlock.
Lake Point is seeking $22 million in damages.
Having settled with Martin County and the South Florida Water Management District, Lake Point wants Hurchalla to pay $4 million of that.
The trial is expected to last into next week.