In its legal filings, the city says the delay by Joan Kennedy Biddle and her family in asking for the money is “completely unreasonable, inexcusable and unprecedented.” The city filed a motion recently to dismiss the lawsuit.
“We don’t even know that the note hadn’t been paid,” City Attorney David Smith told the Tampa Tribune. “We don’t have evidence either way. It’s one of the reasons the statute of limitations is a reasonable defense.”
Joan Kennedy Biddle and her relatives filed a lawsuit last month claiming ancestors loaned the city about $300 in 1861 for ammunition and other war-related needs.
The note was passed down through the generations; the suit says with interest, the note is now worth $22.72 million.
The city also argues the state of Florida used a currency during the Civil War that is now obsolete, and Confederate currency is worthless.