Date: March 3, 2014
For Release: Immediate
Same failed arguments repeated as City of El Paso
spends more taxpayer dollars to hide open
records, says Townsend Allala
El Paso, Texas – In a brief to the Third Court of Appeals of Texas, attorney Bill Aleshire, representing Stephanie Townsend Allala, points out that the City of El Paso continues to resist well-established law concerning open records with arguments contradicting the very purpose of those laws. (See attached brief.)
The City of El Paso argues that it has fully responded to requests for open records made by El Paso elder law attorney and community leader Stephanie Townsend Allala, Intervenor in the case of City of El Paso v. Gregg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas. “The city continues to resist the depositions of current and former El Paso city council members and staff, has inappropriately redacted records provided, has not provided other records and documents requested, and has failed to follow even the most basic requirements of Texas open records and transparency laws. The city continues to violate the Local Government Records Act, which requires that the city retain all records concerning city business including personal emails and text messages on personal cell phones. Moreover, taxpayer dollars continue to be spent on needless litigation that only serves to delay the release of vital public records,” said Stephanie Townsend Allala.
The Brief of Intervenor Appellee Stephanie Townsend Allala asks “this Court to uphold the trial court’s denial of the City of El Paso’s plea to the jurisdiction, award Intervenor Appellee its appellate costs, and remand the case to the trial court for a determination of an award of attorney fees pursuant to Tex. Gov’t Code section 552.323(a) for Appellee’s costs associated with this TPIA lawsuit in district court and for such other relief to which Appellee is justly entitled.”
Last August, Mayor Oscar Leeser and City Council instructed the city attorney to drop the lawsuit and release all public records. Many community members and taxpayers wonder why this has not occurred and seek an explanation.