Martin County commissioners intensified their fight against All Aboard Florida today, voting 4-1 to hire the same law firm that represents a local anti-rail group in their fight against the private rail company’s express passenger trains.
The commission agreed to pay attorney Steven Ryan and his Washington, D.C.-based firm, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, as much as $80,000 to help the county in its battle against the rail project.
Ryan also represents Citizens Against Rail Expansion, or CARE, a coalition of Treasure Coast and Jupiter residents opposed to All Aboard Florida’s project.
The contract did not appear on the commission’s final agenda, but a notice was posted on the county’s website.
Last month, Martin County commissioners agreed to set aside $1.4 million to fight All Aboard Florida. Ryan’s fees will come from that allocation.
Martin County Attorney Michael D. Durham told commissioners today that Ryan would serve as a “coach” for county staffers.
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” Durham said. “This is uncharted waters.”
All Aboard Florida declined to comment on today’s vote.