The Florida Supreme Court has assigned the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach to hear appeals in a squabble over an unpaid $357,000 bill for framed photos ordered for the new 1st District Court of Appeal building in Tallahassee.
Six interlocutory appeals have been filed in a heavily lawyered civil suit filed by Signature Gallery, a small Tallahassee business that contracted with Peter R. Brown Construction to frame and hang 369 historic photographs in the halls of the new courthouse.
Chief Judge Robert Benton asked the high court to send the cases to a panel of judges who do not have offices in the new courthouse.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and his predecessor Alex Sink refused to pay the bill saying no money was appropriated by the Legislature that could legally be spent on photos. They have also questioned whether the photos should be considered art. Under state law expenditures for art cannot legally exceed $100,000 and the court has already spent about $150,000 on oil paintings and other framed photos for the grandiose courthouse building.