Thursday, September 19, 2013
TRWD Says, “NO! We Won’t Have Elections, And You Can’t Sue Us! We’re Exempt!”
Fort Worth, Texas) Attorneys for the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) last week filed paperwork trying to dismiss the TFGT lawsuit against the board. The TFGT suit contends the TRWD board is unconstitutionally skipping elections and illegally extending their own terms in office. This suit was filed by Texans for Government Transparency (TFGT), John Austin Basham, and Darlia Hobbs.
The TFGT suit asks the court to intervene requiring the TRWD board to comply with Texas’ law and the state constitution. In court documents TRWD attorney Lee Christie asserts the TRWD and the board are immune from being sued by the people they govern. The court papers filed by Mr. Christie on behalf of the board also state Mr. Basham and Mrs. Hobbs as property owners and taxpayers have no “standing” to sue the TRWD for this blatant violation of the law.
TFGT President John Austin Basham responds to Mr. Christie and the TRWD’s assertions “Imagine a President, or Congressman, or Governor declaring they would skip the next election and give themselves more time in office. That is exactly what these directors are doing.” Basham goes on to say,” They’ve done this once before with not one single member of the public present for their vote. The TRWD board continues to operate as if they are above the laws and constitution of the State of Texas. I say they’re not, they work for us.” TFGT entered this court action when property owners and taxpayers subject to the TRWD found no relief by addressing the board directly.
The TRWD recently lost a very similar plea in Tarrant County District Court where they are being sued by a landowner for over 600 violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act. In that case the TRWD argued they are exempt from the open meeting laws of this state and like their response in the TFGT case they claim the plaintiff also couldn’t sue, again saying they are exempt. After hearing the TRWD’s attorney’s pleas Tarrant County District Judge Susan Heygood McCoy disagreed striking every part of their motion and pleas.
“I fully expect the court will rightfully side with the taxpayers and the law on this issue. The fundamental American right to have and election and choose your leaders can never be curtailed”, says Basham. “It is a shame however the TRWD will continue to spend hundreds of thousands dollars of taxpayer’s money to fight the rights of those very same tax payers.”
The water district has attempted other constitutional abuses in court with disastrous outcomes. Earlier this year, similar delay tactics and unwillingness to recognize they couldn’t steal Oklahoma’s water, cost the TRWD taxpayers over $6 million in legal fees in a stunning 9-0 loss in the US Supreme Court.