City Jeers Suit Over 1861 Debt

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A Tampa woman is more than a century too late in her attempt to be repaid $22 million for a $300 loan her ancestors made to the city during the Civil War, Tampa officials say.

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 Tuesday to dismiss the lawsuit.

"We don't even know that the note hadn't been paid," City Attorney David Smith said. "We don't have evidence either way. It's one of the reasons the statute of limitations is a reasonable defense."

Biddle referred calls to attorney James Purdy, who did not return a phone call.

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