Hillman files suit against City Canvassing Board


Linda Hillman

Linda Hillman, recently disqualified as a candidate for Vero Beach City Council, has filed a lawsuit against the City of Vero Beach claiming her disqualification was unjustified and handled improperly.

She filed the suit Monday, September 17 in the 19th Judicial Circuit Court against the City of Vero Beach Canvassing Board, which includes City Attorney Wayne R. Coment (chair), James R. O’Connor, Tammy Bursick, the City of Vero Beach and Leslie Rossway Swan, Supervisor of Elections of Indian River County.

Her attorney in this matter is Mark Herron, of the Tallahassee firm Messer Caparello. P.A.

The court accepted the suit and it was served on the City yesterday, September 18, at 4:39p.m. The suit is “an action for declaratory and injunctive relief seeking a declaration that Plaintiff Linda Hillman is a duly qualified candidate for election to the office of City Councilmember of the City of Vero Beach at the November 6, 2018 election.

The action seeks an order preventing “any and all Defendants” from taking action to decertify Hillman as a candidate and restore her candidacy. Supervisor of Elections Leslie Swan is “joined as a necessary and indispensable party” because of her responsibilities relative to all elections in the County.

The suit goes on to state that “At the close of qualifying, Plaintiff Linda Hillman was identified as a duly qualified candidate…” The City Clerk also certified to the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections that Plaintiff Linda Hillman was a duly qualified candidate…so that the name of Plaintiff Linda Hillman would appear on the ballot.”

The qualifying period ended on Friday, September 7, and on Monday, September 10, the suit states “City Councilman Val Zudans suggested to the City Clerk ‘that there may (be) an issue with some of the paperwork filed for one or more of the candidates for city council” and requested that he be kept ‘informed of any issues.’

According to the suit, the Canvassing board, which is named as defendant in the complaint, allegedly failed to comply with Florida Statutes in disqualifying Hillman. “There was no publicly noticed meeting of the Vero Beach Canvassing Board,” and if they conducted a meeting without notice to the public, such action taken by the Board “is null and void.” Furthermore, Hillman must be restored as a qualified candidate even “if necessary to reschedule the November 6, 2018 election in order that all duly qualified candidates can seek election…”

Public meeting announced for tomorrow, Thursday, September 20

This afternoon the Vero Beach Canvassing Board announced it would hold a public meeting tomorrow regarding “Qualifications of Candidates.” This may be to remedy Hillman’s complaint or the violation of Florida Statutes.


As this is a developing story, it will be updated.



  1. I obviously do not know all the details about Ms. Hillman (and Mr. Heady) being disqualified after completing all the paperwork required. My understanding is that all the forms were correct but one required candidate’s signature was left blank. If this is true I have two comments:1) If one is to be a candidate, one should be ABSOLUTELY certain that all required forms are completed fully and correctly and 2) It would seem to me that upon submitting the required paperwork, the person or persons to whom the forms are submitted SHOULD review them at that time for completeness and at that time determine if anything is incorrect. Had this been done, I’m quite certain Ms. Hillman ( and Mr. Heady) would have made necessary corrections an this entire “goat roping” would have been avoided.

  2. This Councils Attack on our City Charter & Democracy has really awakened the voters of Vero Beach this will not be tolerated any longer !!!

  3. How is it Val Zudans just happens to be the one pointing out such ‘potential problems’? It appears to me that Linda Hillman & Mr. Heady had both filed correctly. AND it appears that both were due an explanation BEFORE the deadline that there was anything wrong…..otherwise, seems like someone dropped the ball! How did Zudans discover this AFTER the deadline? How convenient.

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