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Lawsuit Alleges Open Meetings Violation

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Yet another instance of agenda posting
not sufficiently detailed for public notice

by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2017
Posted Tuesday June 6, 2017 3:00pm

Potential Plaintiff to City of Austin: Like to settle instead of getting sued?

City to Plaintiff: No thank you.

The plaintiff in the latest lawsuit against the City of Austin made a settlement offer before filing the litigation and gave the City 45 days to accept one of two options: (1) Cancel the City Council’s approval given November 10, 2016, and repost with proper notice of the proposed waivers of sections of two city ordinances. Or (2) Accept an Agreed Judgment.

By not responding to the offer, the City will have to face off in court.

Bill AleshireThe lawsuit, Lake Austin Collective Inc. v. City of Austin (Cause No. D-1-GN-17-002447) was filed in Travis County District Court yesterday by Austin attorney Bill Aleshire of Aleshire Law PC.

Anne MorganCity Attorney Anne Morgan did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit and instead funneled a written statement through a City spokesperson: “The City of Austin appreciates having had the opportunity to review the issue before the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit, but we disagree with Mr. Aleshire’s interpretation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

“We believe the City gave appropriate public notice about the subject matter to be discussed. In fact, the record shows that this issue had a robust public engagement process,” the statement said.

Aleshire disagrees.

“The City Attorney said the same thing about the Pilot Knob open meetings lawsuit and lost. The ‘robust’ discussion of environmental waiver the City claims occurred did not start with or ever involve the boards and commissions before the Council let the Champion developer slip those waivers (of the Lake Austin Watershed Ordinance and Hill Country Roadway Ordinances) in on third reading. Part of the robust engagement process was just trying to find out what kind of backroom deal the developer and the Council majority was cooking up.”