Property dispute compels Fort Lauderdale to alter sale process for city land

April 20, 2012 02:15PM

Riverside Market Cafe

The battle between a restaurant owner and real estate investor Jesse Gaddis over a small Fort Lauderdale lot has forced the city to change the way its property will be sold in the future. According to the Sun Sentinel, because of the public outcry over the bidding process for a lot between Gaddis’ taxi lot and Riverside Market Cafe, the Fort Lauderdale’s finance department — and not its real estate office — will handle property bids in the future. And from now on, all bids will be sealed.

The outcry stemmed from Gaddis bidding $15,500 for the small property, $3,000 more than Jason Segal, the owner of the Riverside Market, for whom the lot provides extra parking for customers and allows him to legally sell food and alcohol. Without the lot, his cafe, which locals credit with boosting the struggling neighborhood, would likely go out of business.

There was a dispute over the bidding process, which opponents alleged was too open, as the Gaddis’ were given information on other bids. But a department investigation found no evidence of improper dealings. Still, the site will go back up for auction. [Sun Sentinel]