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Wilson County sues Floresville EDC over sports complex
Wilson County NewsSeptember 5, 2012 | 1,585 views | 3 comments
FLORESVILLE (PDF download above) -- Wilson County Attorney Russell Wilson, on behalf of Wilson County, is suing the Floresville Economic Development Corp. (FEDC) and its seven board members.
The suit, filed Aug. 30, states that a July 23, 2012, meeting, where the corporation voted to borrow $2.1 million to construct a sports complex, violated the Texas Open Meetings Act.
In a press release, Wilson said, “The agenda the FEDC posted before that meeting mentioned refinancing old debt, not borrowing more money to build a sports complex.”
Named as defendants in the suit are Wilfredo Amaro, Gavino Cantu, Alfred Gonzales, David Longoria, Sarah J. Mendoza, Juan Ortiz, and Rebecca Silva Freudenberg, “... each sued solely in their official capacities... .”
The lawsuit was filed in District Court in Wilson County. The suit “seeks a court order declaring the FEDC’S action at that meeting unlawful, and an injunction restraining the FEDC, and its board members, from borrowing money based on the actions taken at the July 23 meeting.”
The county’s lawsuit states, “The Floresville City Council appears to have abandoned its plans to use certificates of obligation, and began looking around for ‘alternative’ means of funding a sports complex, when it was presented with a petition demanding a referendum be held before the issuance of the certificates of obligation.” This statement references a May 24 Wilson County News article regarding a petition residents of the city presented to the council.
The legality of the meeting already had been questioned, as the meeting agenda was not posted to the FEDC’s website within the statutory time required by Texas Government Code. According to the code, the FEDC, since it maintains a website, must post its meeting agendas online “... concurrently ... on the Internet website of the ... economic development corporation ...” (See “Was Floresville EDC meeting legal?” Aug. 1.)
The agenda stated the FEDC board was to “... adopt resolution(s) authorizing financing agreement(s) with Government Capital Corporation to refinance certain debts and for the enhancement and/or expansion of parks and sports facilities for the benefit of the community of Floresville.”
The lawsuit states that this “... fails as a description of the action ‘incur $2,100,000 in new debt.’ The description never uses the words ‘borrow,’ ‘promissory note,’ or ‘loan.’ At best, the description is ambiguous; at worst, it is a deliberate attempt to lead the public to conclude that the FEDC Board of Directors intended to just roll over old debt.”
No one from the FEDC had responded to phone calls for comments as of press time Aug. 31.
**Clarification on 9/12/12: Wilson County Attorney Russell Wilson’s lawsuit against the Floresville Economic Development Corp., as outlined in “County sues FEDC over sports complex” Sept. 5, was filed by Wilson as the county attorney, but not “on behalf of the county” as stated in the article. The plaintiff in the suit is “Russell Wilson, County Attorney, Wilson County, Texas.” Judgment is sought for “... relief to which they may be justly entitled” for, among others, Wilson as the plaintiff and “the Citizens of Floresville, on whose behalf this lawsuit is brought.”
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