Former Martin County commissioner takes stand in her own defense

Sued for $4 million
Posted: 5:47 PM, Feb 13, 2018
Updated: 2019-01-18 21:52:37Z

Maggy Hurchalla testified Tuesday that she shared her concerns with the owners of Lake Point a decade ago during two separate meetings.

“I didn’t think it was a good idea for the Water Management District to trade mining permits for land," said the former Martin County Commissioner.

But when Lake Point, a mining company, wanted to treat water on property it owns near Lake Okeechobee, and possibly sell it to West Palm Beach, did Hurchalla use her influence to stop that plan?

Hurchalla's attorney asked a series of three questions.

“Was the agreement terminated? No.  Was it voided?  No.  Was Lake Point shutdown?  No."

The 77-year-old noted environmentalist was sued for alleged interference with contracts between Lake Point, and Martin County and the South Florida Water Management District.

“We wanted to make money for sure, but we also wanted to help with the water solutions," said Lake Point owner George Lindemann.

Lindemann testified how the county’s view of Lake Point sharply changed in early 2013.

“All of a sudden, county commissioners all are screaming to shut the thing down, it’s a disaster, it’s the end of the world," said Lindemann.

Under cross-examination, Hurchalla was asked about the timing of some deleted emails, and how emails she sent to private commissioner accounts used different phrasing than ones she sent to commissioners' public emails.

“All emails I sent to one commissioner were on their private account, all emails I sent to two, three, four, all commissioners were on their commissioner account.”

Lake Point is seeking $22 million in damages, $4 million directly from Hurchalla after settling with the county, and the Water Management District.  Closing arguments will be on Wednesday.