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Rybovich sues activists who oppose marina lease

Rybovich is seeking $10 million in damages from each of two community activists who have fought to block the company's plans to lease part of the Riviera Beach, Fla., city marina.

The company filed a counterclaim last week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, contending that Emma Bates and Andrew Byrd "intentionally and unjustifiably" interfered with the company's relationship with the city, The Palm Beach Post reports.

Vice president Carlos Vidueira said the company was forced to countersue after Bates, Byrd and the Citizens Task Force named Rybovich as a co-defendant in a Sept. 23 lawsuit against the city.

In its suit, the Citizens Task Force argues that the city council had no authority to lease submerged lands at the marina and failed to get competitive bids when it approved the 25-year lease, subject to several conditions, the newspaper reports.

"Rybovich had hoped that everyone, including this small group of dissidents, would agree to let the residents within the city decide the issue through the ballot initiative," Vidueira said in a statement, referring to an upcoming Nov. 2 referendum on the marina lease. "By choosing to initiate direct legal action, their clear intent is nothing more than political retaliation against the city council and to bring direct harm to Rybovich."

Rybovich Riviera Beach LLC, owned by the Huizenga family, wants to establish a megayacht service yard at the south end of the marina.

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