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Judge reverses ruling

Pirate festival organizers may block the Jolly Roger Civic Association from selling beer along the parade route, new order states.

By TAMARA LUSH, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 1, 2003


TAMPA -- A Hillsborough judge reversed her own order Friday, saying that the organizers of today's Gasparilla pirate festival are not forbidden from interfering with a charity that wants to sell beer on the parade route.

The Jolly Roger Civic Association, which is made up of Hillsborough firefighters who raise money for the families of fallen firefighters, is hosting a beer garden on private property on Bayshore Boulevard.

The Jolly Roger claims it has been harassed by parade organizers at past events because it is not among the charities that are approved to set up on the parade route. Earlier this week, a lawyer for the group asked Judge Marva Crenshaw to issue an injunction against parade organizers EventMakers and Ye Mystic Krewe.

Crenshaw signed the ruling, which said parade organizers couldn't block the Jolly Roger volunteers from selling beer and snacks.

But on Friday, lawyers for EventMakers and the krewe persuaded the judge to change her mind. Crenshaw said the lawyer for the Jolly Roger had provided "legally insufficient" evidence on the original injunction request.

John Grandoff, lawyer for Ye Mystic Krewe, said the Jolly Roger's lawyer filed "a fraudulent affidavit," on Tuesday. The affidavit stated that the Jolly Roger had a one-day liquor license. But the City Council didn't grant that license until Thursday.

Grandoff also said the Jolly Roger didn't prove that it had added the krewe and EventMakers on its insurance policy, which was required by the City Council.

Grandoff denied that the krewe and EventMakers tried to stop the Jolly Roger charity from selling beer during previous parades.

During the 45-minute court hearing, attorneys for EventMakers raised the issue that the Jolly Roger will be selling beer other than Miller, which is sponsoring the entire parade.

Robert Taylor, lawyer for the Jolly Roger, said the group does not advertise the fact that they sell Budweiser.

"They do not pull up a Budweiser truck," Taylor said. "They set up kegs."

Taylor said the Jolly Roger firefighters will sell beer and snacks from the Bayshore location. They have proper city permits and insurance, he said, and will be donating 100 percent of the profits to charity, as also promised to the City Council.

But Taylor said he expects that EventMakers and Ye Mystic Krewe will try to block the public's view to the Jolly Roger beer garden.

"(Ye Mystic Krewe) controls the city," said Taylor. "They are the bigwigs. Everybody knows that."

Lawyers for parade organizers say the issue has nothing to do with power brokering. The Jolly Roger is an "ambush charity" that didn't follow the rules to set up along the parade, Grandoff said. He said Ye Mystic Krewe's reputation has not been tarnished by the controversy.

"We don't get a bad rap," Grandoff said. "We get a good rap. We do a lot for the community."

-- Tamara Lush can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or at lush@sptimes.com.

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