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Six Months Later, Defeated Gainesville City Commission Candidate Is Still Challenging His Opponent

On Tuesday afternoon Jim Konish and Adrian Hayes-Santos sat together in a stiff courtroom and planned the future of their lawsuit.

Konish filed the the lawsuit just before the election, challenging Hayes-Santos’ eligibility as a city commissioner for District 4. The suit started because Konish said Hayes-Santos failed to meet the residency requirement to run for the city commission District 4 seat. After Tuesday's case management hearing, it doesn't appear the case will be resolved until nearly a year after the election that seated Hayes-Santos.

“It’s unfortunate that by filing a frivolous lawsuit, Jim Konish has continued to waste the court's time, make completely false claims and make failed attempts to overturn the election which I won by the largest margin of victory in the history of City of Gainesville elections,” Hayes-Santos wrote in an email. “The case so far has shown that he had absolutely no facts to back up his frivolous claims and it was only a failed attempt to throw the city election so that he could win.”

At the case management conference, Konish also officially switched attorneys from Stephen Stanfield to Steven Turnage. Both sides also agreed to set aside a few months in order to get their discovery information ready in preparation for the trial with Circuit Judge Monica Brasington. It was decided that the non-jury trial will take place Feb. 13, 2017.

Hayes-Santos took office following his March election victory — he defeated Konish, 4,517 to 1,071. Konish explained why he's still pursuing the lawsuit against his former opponent.

“I think that we belong to different tribes, and that’s where the difference lies,” Konish said. “As a human being, I respect him and I like him.”

Meanwhile, Hayes-Santos said he has been focused on making Gainesville a better place to live.

“This lawsuit has always been about a failed political ploy by Jim Konish and his vindictive frivolous actions to increase my legal costs,” Hayes-Santos wrote in an email.

Sara is a reporter for WUFT News and can be reached at or 352-392-6397.