Update (12:30 p.m.)
Officials from Alex Fairly’s legal team provided MyHighPlains.com with the expected schedule for the depositions for the ongoing Civic Center litigation. The schedule was provided as follows:
- Cole Stanley
- Stephanie Coggins
- Freda Powell
- Howard Smith
- Ginger Nelson
- Jason Herrick
- Eddy Sauer
- Laura Storrs, individually and as the city’s designee
- Jared Miller
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the city of Amarillo confirmed Wednesday that depositions in the Amarillo Civic Center Lawsuit will begin Wednesday afternoon at City Hall.
According to a statement from the city of Amarillo, officials said that all the members of the Amarillo City Council, along with “key staff” will be deposed this week and next week, which officials said, “is an important step in providing additional important information to both the community and the court.”
“The City remains eager to move through the legal process and ultimately reach a resolution on this important issue,” the statement reads.
This comes after the lawsuit process began in Potter County in late May, where Amarillo Businessman Alex Fairly sued the city of Amarillo, questioning the legality of the city council’s decision to use $260,525,000 in anticipation notes to fund the expansion and renovation of the Amarillo Civic Center Complex. The city then filed its own lawsuit, asking a Potter County Judge to validate the use of the notes.
The judge in the case, Judge William Sowder, expanded the discovery process for this case, which since combined the two lawsuits in Potter County. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, this included documents related to the matter including:
- Ordinance 7985, in all drafts and forms, including as presented or proposed prior to the May 24 Regular Meeting and as written afterward;
- All correspondence, including emails and texts, attaching and/or discussing drafts of Ordinance 7985;
- All agendas, minutes, Amarillo City Council Agenda Transmittal Memos and public notices for all Amarillo City Council meetings during which the City Council discussed, voted upon, considered or imposed the taxes pledged to the payment of the anticipation notes at issue in the lawsuits;
- Final report submitted by Garfield Public/Private;
- All records and transcriptions of proceedings submitted by the City of Amarillo to the Public Finance Division of the Texas Attorney General’s office in connection with the City’s pursuit of approval and authorization of the notes at issue in this case;
- All records and documents, including memoranda and work notes showing calculations regarding the calculation of tax rates necessary to satisfy the pledge of ad valorem taxes purportedly made in Ordinance 7985 and the notes;
- All documents, records, meeting minutes and communications involving City council members or city employees in which all discussions -written and oral – involving the concept of using anticipation notes to finance the Civic Center project involving members of City Council are commemorated or referenced.
Sowder also said “oral and videotaped” depositions would be allowed under this expanded discovery order. According to previous reports, Fairly’s legal team filed a request to depose various city officials, city staff and community members including:
- Cole Stanley, Amarillo City Council member;
- Stephanie Coggins, Amarillo’s City Secretary;
- Freda Powell, Amarillo City Council member;
- Ginger Nelson, Amarillo Mayor;
- Eddy Sauer, Amarillo City Council member;
- Howard Smith, Amarillo City Council Member;
- Jared Miller, Amarillo City Manager;
- Laura Storrs, Amarillo Assistant City Manager;
- Jason Herrick, member of the city’s Civic Center community group and president of Amarillo Matters.
According to previous reports, an additional notice was filed by Fairly’s legal team on Aug. 3 to take the “oral and videotaped deposition of (the) City of Amarillo.” However, it is not clear through court documents who Fairly’s legal team wishes to speak with in this specific deposition.