Task Force for the Homeless in Mediation with City, Other Parties

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(APN) ATLANTA — The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, which has sued the City of Atlanta and other parties for conspiring to sabotage and destroy the shelter, is in mediation talks with several parties, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

These parties include the City of Atlanta, United Way, Emory University, Central Atlanta Progress, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, Manny Fialkow, and others.

Over the course of the last week, three different sources familiar with the matter–including Task Force Director Anity Beaty herself–confirmed to APN that the parties are in negotiation.

Several cases have been consolidated before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall.

The mediation was ordered by Judge Schwall at a June 11, 2011, status conference, according to the blog of Dr. Jim Beaty, husband of Anita.

One case, filed by the Task Force against the City of Atlanta in December 2008, 2008-CV-160941, was originally before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville, but was transferred.

Another case, filed by the Task Force in June 2010 before Judge Schwall, 2010-CV-187740, includes several Defendants: Emmanuel Fialkow, the Benevolent Community Investment Company, Inc., and Central Atlanta Downtown Improvement District.

Fialkow is the man whose company, the Benevolent Community Investment Company, purchased the Task Force’s building, when it went into default.  Prior to purchasing the notes, Fialkow was communicating with his friends at CAP regarding their overall plan to destroy the shelter.

At one point, Fialkow’s company sought an injunction against Beaty and the Task Force, in a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) suit, contending that the Task Force’s lawsuits were efforts to shut out their side of a public debate about the homeless.  The motion for an injunction was dismissed.

Fialkow has also made eight motions to evict the Task Force from their building at Peachtree and Pine, and each have been denied, according to Jim Beaty’s blog.

The substance of the negotiations are being kept private at this point, although APN has learned that one key issue is whether any settlement will mandate that any damning information about the parties that has come to light in discovery will be made private, something Beaty opposes.

The Task Force has documented around 25 million dollars in direct losses due to the conspiratorial effort to destroy the shelter.

As previously reported by APN, City officials including Debi Starnes, individuals from Central Atlanta Progress, and others set out to convince Task Force funders, both public and private, to stop funding the Task Force, thus interfering with the Task Force’s private business relationships.

In other similar cases in other cities across the US, plaintiffs have won tens of millions of dollars.

If the Task Force decides not to settle and to pursue a jury trial, the shelter could be awarded as much as triple damages in addition to punitive damages.

In July 2011, the Task Force notified APN that they had added Tom Cousins, a developer with ties to CAP, as a Defendant as well.

According to one source, Emory University may also be added as a party.  According to Jim Beaty’s blog, Emory is implicated in the conspiracy to sabotage the Task Force and has been granted a protective order for documents relating to their involvement.

“Does Emory University need the protective order that keeps their subpoenaed documents (10,000 pages) from the public?” Jim Beaty asked.

(END / 2011)

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