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Bill McCollum to pay $7m in bingo case 'from hell.'

Back in 1995, then-attorney general Bob Butterworth used a secret-type of injunction in an effort to shut down out-of-state interests running bingo parlors as illegal gaming operations. But the state eventually lost the case. But the AG's offfice refused to post a $1.4 million bond in case of damages, claiming it had sovereign immunity.

Not so says Orlando attorney Steve Mason. He said that, under the so-called "sword and shield doctrine" the state isn't allowed to use the sword of a secret injunction to harm someone and then use the shield of sovereign immunity.

Mason said every court, from the trial court to the Fifth DCA to the Florida Supreme Court has agreed with him. And now a judge has ordered now Attorney General Bill McCollum to pay $7m in a case that could have cost taxpayers far less if it had just settled way back when rather than used the courts and repeated motions to fight a losing case.

"It's the case from hell," Mason said. "McCollum didn't start this pig. But he kept the pig going."

In an intriguing political twist, the Republican AG's Democratic rival for governor, state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, might get involved to cough up the cash on behalf of the state.

Here's the orderDownload Bradenton final