The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

July 20, 2013

Council considering special counsel

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council may act Tuesday to appoint legal representation to handle an open records request filed by a local attorney, who is seeking additional information concerning the city’s dealings with L-3 Mission Integration.

Attorney Joe Weis said he is representing a local woman and/or a group of Greenville taxpayers seeking copies of communications from former Mayor Tom Oliver, former city manager Steven Alexander and former city attorney Brent A. Money.

Weis is also seeking copies of Money’s communications with anybody which mention L-3, as well as copies of communications between the three former city officials and Mike Moran, an attorney who had previously been dealing with the dispute between the city and the defense contractor.

The Council is scheduled to meet in an executive session during Tuesday’s regular agenda, in part to consult with current City Attorney Daniel Ray on the hiring of a special counsel to handle the Public Information Act Request Weis submitted Wednesday, “and to advise the council on any future issue related to the City Attorney’s Office.”

Should the Council take any action concerning the executive session item it would return to open session to do so. The hiring of a special counsel is included as an action item on Tuesday’s agenda.

Oliver stepped down as mayor in May 2012, after having served two full terms in the office. Alexander’s contract was terminated by the Council two months ago. Money resigned as city attorney in January.

Weis declined comment concerning the request when reached Friday morning.

A copy of the request was obtained by the Herald-Banner and in it, Weis said he represents “a group of concerned City of Greenville taxpayers” who are asking for information, specifically any documents created by Money in his efforts to address an earlier public information request, submitted by Weis on May 8.

In that request, Weis indicated he represented “a concerned City of Greenville taxpayer”, a woman, who was seeking copies of all communications between Money, Oliver and Moran since January 1; copies of all communications between Alexander, Oliver and Moran since January 1; copies of all communications between Money and anybody else since January 1 which mention L-3 by name; and copies of all communications between Alexander and anybody else since January 1 which mention L-3 by name.

The Council voted in February to approve a non-disclosure agreement with L-3 Mission Integration, prior to negotiations starting on a new lease agreement for the defense contractor at Majors Field.

On May 14, the Council approved a professional services agreement with Airport & Aviation Appraisals Incorporated, for an appraisal of the airport with a respect of the lease of the airport.

In January, Council voted to grant a professional services agreement with Taylor Olson Adkins Sralla Elam for legal matters with respect to the airport lease.

The airport covers approximately 1,500 acres. L-3 leases much of the airport property from the City of Greenville, with the original lease agreement reached in 1977. The lease agreement is up for consideration again in 2017.