Southwest Ranches sues Pembroke Pines

Southwest Ranches seeking $2M in damages

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. - The Town of Southwest Ranches is suing its neighbor Pembroke Pines over a plan to build private immigration prison that fell through.

"I would love for the Town of Southwest Ranches to stop suing everybody," said Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Jay Schwartz.

Schwartz said Southwest Ranches wants more than $2 million in damages from the city.

"They're blaming the City of Pembroke Pines for losing a deal and that's not the case," said Schwartz.

The deal in question was a bid by Southwest Ranches to build a private immigration prison. Southwest Ranches Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff alleges that Pembroke Pines terminated two agreements with Southwest Ranches -- one involving water to the planned facility -- that helped kill the prison deal and the revenue it would have created.

"The City of Pembroke Pines could opt out for any reason and give them nine months notice," said Schwartz.

"Your city didn't kill that deal?" asked Local 10's Bob Norman.

"The federal government chose not to pursue that location," said Schwartz. "We never had any control over that issue."

The Southwest Ranches Town Council backed the lawsuit, and voted unanimously to take legal action against Pembroke Pines. Some residents agreed.

"You want to be Pembroke Pines? Take your butt and go to Pembroke Pines," said Dee Schroeder.

But the lawsuit has become a campaign issue. Southwest Ranches mayoral candidate Holly Hugdahl said she is opposed to the lawsuit.

"I don't think it's our business to sue Pembroke Pines for somebody's property rights," said Hugdahl.

"I'd like to be able to see the two towns come together without this combative relationship," said Schwartz.

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