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— Zubel challenged the Link appointment, and then sat and waited. From April 29 to May 13, he waited daily for the naming of a new judge but heard nothing. "The day-to-day delay in naming of a trial judge in such an instance is practically unprecedented in the history of the superior court," he says. On Friday the 13th, he was assigned Judge Thomas O. LaVoy. In all the delay, "They have not just iced my case, they have iced my practice," Zubel says.

Why did the court take so long? "Nobody in superior court wanted the case. It will be a tremendous embarrassment to the port and the city," says former District 6 councilmember (1986-'91) Bruce Henderson. "If Harvey wins, one can clearly infer there were criminal violations."

The money from the rental-car boost "was not meant for the ballpark," insists Malcolm, chairman of Suncoast Financial. "It was not a ruse to provide parking to the Padres."

"The bill had nothing to do with the ballpark," says Peace, whose work for Moores is mainly related to political matters, he says. The reason he was so upset on August 20, 1998, he says, was that the Federal Aviation Administration had to approve the measure. The proceeds from the fee boost had to go to federal activity. The ballpark didn't meet that criterion. "I wanted to make sure it was used in a way that was approved federally."

Zubel and Furgatch agree that the money had to go to federal purposes, although that is not part of their state court cases. "Harvey has filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration, has claimed that airport revenues were misdirected, has sent letters to congressmen, everybody... There is a black-hole reception," says Zubel.

Just as is in superior court -- and banana republics.

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