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Gardens official is skirting term limits, former GOP chair says


A former Palm Beach County Republican Party chairman says the city’s vice mayor shouldn’t be allowed to run for re-election because of term limits.

Sid Dinerstein alleges Palm Beach Gardens Vice Mayor David Levy’s service on the City Council precludes him from running for the Group 4 seat in the March 15 election, according to a complaint filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. Attorney James D’Loughy, who once led the Palm Beach Gardens Needs Term Limits committee, submitted the complaint prepared for Dinerstein Dec. 18.

The complaint says the court should require Levy to recuse himself from the race because he has been elected to more than two consecutive terms.

Levy said Monday he consulted with City Attorney Max Lohman to make sure he was eligible to run again and has no plans to drop out unless the court orders him to do so.

“I thought it was fairly clear that I could run, and I was under the impression the people on the term limits committee knew I could run,” he said.

Levy was elected to a three-year term on the City Council in 2004, then re-elected in 2007 and 2010. He resigned, effective Nov. 19, 2012, amid his third term for a run for Palm Beach County Commission.

When Hal Valeche defeated Levy for the County Commission seat, Levy won a seat on the Palm Beach Gardens Council in the following March 2013 election. D’Loughy was his opponent in that race.

Neither Dinerstein nor D’Loughy immediately returned a phone message Monday.

Carl Woods, who retired from the city police force about a decade ago and is now a private investigator, and Kevin Easton are also running for the Group 4 seat. Easton is a retired Pratt & Whitney senior engineering assistant. Both said they had no involvement in the court challenge but don’t think Levy should be eligible to run.

Michael Peragine, chairman of the Palm Beach Gardens Needs Term Limits Committee, said neither he nor the committee had anything to do with the litigation. He agrees Levy shouldn’t be permitted to run in this election, he said.

“The message that the voters sent is we don’t want another career politician,” Peragine, who is backing Woods in the race, said.

The term limits were approved by 79 percent of voters in November 2014, at which time 68 percent said the term limits should apply retroactively.

Peragine said it’s not his intention for the term limits to prevent someone from ever running for office again — only that they need a full-term break after two consecutive terms to limit the influence of special interests.

Included in the court record is a letter Palm Beach Gardens Attorney Max Lohman sent to D’Loughy dated Dec. 17. Lohman wrote that Levy held no elected office for at least three months when he resigned, so he is serving the first of two consecutive terms allowed.

Have a Palm Beach Gardens issue you’d like to see The Post tackle, or a story idea? Contact Sarah Peters at 561-820-4715 or speters@pbpost.com.


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