The operators of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show are suing developers for restricting their rights of free speech and to petition the government. Marine Industries Association of South Florida (“MAISF”) and Yachting Promotions, the owners and operators of the Boat Show, claim that Bahia Mar resort developers are preventing them from speaking to city officials and staff about Bahia Mar’s proposed redevelopment. Additionally, plaintiffs contend that a gag provision in an agreement with Bahia Mar prevent them correcting the developer’s statements.
MAISF and Yachting Promotions claim that the gag provision does not apply to the Bahia Mar’s modified site plan under review by the City Commission. The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that the gag provision does not prevent them from discussing the modified site plan to Fort Lauderdale officials and third parties.
In addition, the plaintiffs are asking the judge to issue an injunction under the Sunshine Law, delaying the city commission’s vote on the plan decision. MAISF and Yachting Promotions argue that Bahia Mar’s enforcement of the gag provision is infringing on their right to petition the government and their right to speak before a commission pursuant to section 286.0114(2), F.S. The plaintiffs are asking the court to stay the city’s vote until plaintiffs have a reasonable opportunity to be heard.