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September 24, 2013

Talks in car wash dispute scheduled to continue

GREENVILLE — Representatives for the City of Greenville and the owner of a local car wash intend to meet today to see if a settlement can be worked out concerning claims of excessive noise coming from the facility.

Carlos Limones, the owner of the car wash along FM 1570 in Greenville, has filed suit in federal court against the city, claiming he has been the target of “vindictive prosecution” for the several hundred misdemeanor charges filed against his business in municipal court.

City Attorney Daniel Ray said he and a subcommittee of the Greenville City Council plan to meet with Limones and his attorney this afternoon, prior to the start of the council’s regular session.

Ray is also scheduled to brief the council concerning the issue during an executive session as part of tonight’s regular agenda, starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street.

Earlier this month, the council instructed Ray to file an injunction against the business, which had angered the residents of an adjacent neighborhood.

The injunction has not been filed, although Limones filed suit against the city, Ray, Council member Dan Perkins, Police Chief Daniel Busken, Assistant Police Chief Scott Smith and several individuals from the neighborhood, following the filing of 789 misdemeanor counts in connection with the use of a blow dryer in each of two automatic drive-through bays at the car wash.

In the suit, filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, Limones claimed the charges were the result of a conspiracy on the part of the city, acting through Ray, Perkins, Busken, Smith and the neighborhood residents, in retaliation for his refusal to settle the dispute “on terms they dictated to him.”

Limones said he is a Hispanic male who owns several car washes in and around Hunt County.

“This flood of prosecutions has been undertaken for a relatively minor alleged offense coupled with selective prosecution arising in an atmosphere of racial hostility with no reasonable belief that a conviction will follow,” according to the suit.

Limones is scheduled to appear in the Greenville Municipal Court at 9 a.m. Friday to answer for 630 of the 789 pending charges. Limones is seeking an injunction against the city until a full trial can be scheduled in the case, as well as damages and attorney’s fees.

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