From The Palm Beach Post: Martin County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to file a legal appeal challenging a state board decision’s to allow All Aboard Florida to sell $1.75 billion in tax exempt bonds to help pay for the private rail project.
Martin County Attorney Michael Durham said Tuesday’s vote would allow the county’s legal team to meet privately with the five-member commission in order to discuss their strategy for challenging the bonds.
“We are asking for the authority to go ahead and file the actions to at least get us into an executive session,” Durham told the commission Tuesday. “Time is running out. We need to file these actions by Aug. 25.”
The Florida Development Finance Corporation, a special financing unit authorized by the state Legislature to issue tax-exempt bonds to private entities, voted Aug. 5 to allow All Aboard Florida to issue the bonds. More than 300 people from throughout South Florida, the Treasure and Space coasts, and Orlando attended the long-awaited meeting held in downtown Orlando.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Martin County officials said the legal challenge would focus on the FDFC’s authority to approve the bond sale.
All Aboard Florida won preliminary approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation in December to issue the bonds, but the state finance corporation was also required to approve the sale.
According to documents filed with the FDFC, the 30-year bonds will not be rated and will only be sold to accredited investors and qualified institutional buyers. The minimum denomination for the bonds will be $100,000, documents show.
There would be no risk to taxpayers. State and local governments are not on the hook for the money if the project fails.