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November 6, 2012

West Tawakoni ballot battle back in court today

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As voters head to the polls, a court hearing scheduled this morning will likely determine whether a candidate on today’s West Tawakoni City Council ballot will be allowed to take office.

Carol Solomon is unopposed on the ballot in seeking the Place 4 seat on the Council, but was ordered removed from the council last month after being found guilty of official misconduct following a civil trial in the 196th District Court.

Solomon’s attorney has filed an emergency motion, arguing his client should not have been immediately removed from the council as she did not commit a crime.

“The jury did not convict her of a crime, nor has Respondent been charged with any crime in this matter,” said attorney Timothy Brightman.

Brightman is asking that the court’s judgment be reformed, to require Solomon’s removal only after the civil judgment be declared final and enforceable.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled in the court at 9 a.m. today.

Judge Steve Tittle ordered Solomon immediately removed from her position on October 19, after she was found to have engaged in official misconduct. A jury found from a preponderance of the evidence that Solomon as a public servant accepted or agreed to accept a benefit from a person she knew to be subject to her regulation, inspection or investigation.

West Tawakoni Mayor Pete Yoho’s civil suit claimed Solomon and her husband Larry used city employees and equipment to remove a tree stump from their property, replace a drain culvert and grade the driveway to their residence in late May or early June 2010, without compensating the city.

Solomon had denied the allegations.

The jury’s verdict came too late to remove Solomon’s name from the ballot.

Brightman’s motion argued that Solomon’s immediate removal under state law would only be authorized if she was convicted of a criminal charge, and not under a civil judgment. Brightman said last month’s ruling is causing Solomon, “irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law should the judgment not be reformed.”

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