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Bastrop sued again over Open Meetings Act

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Bastrop resident Paul Burt has filed suit a second time against the city of Bastrop for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act in May 2013 when its City Council voted to cancel a contract with Robert Leffingwell’s Pine Forest Investments Group LLC. Burt requested in this lawsuit that the court declare that vote void because the item was not on Council’s agenda. He made the same request in a previous lawsuit, which was dismissed at Burt’s request after Bastrop’s city attorney David Bragg threatened to ask a district judge to find Burt’s original lawyer, Bill Aleshire, in contempt of court. Burt’s new lawsuit was filed by Austin attorneys Jason Panzer and Chuck Herring. The allegations in the new suit are similar to those in the previous lawsuit and rely on the same facts. In addition to requesting that the vote be declared void, Burt is requesting that the city be enjoined “from acting on subjects in the future without including such subjects in its meeting notices for such agenda items,” in accordance with the open meetings act. The lawsuit states that Council Member Willie DeLaRosa made the motion “to authorize the city manager to issue a letter to the Trustee over the Pine Forest Unit #6 regarding the city’s position as to the status of the development in that subdivision.” DeLaRosa lost his bid to become mayor of Bastrop on Saturday, two days after the lawsuit was featured in a story in the Bastrop Advertiser. Connie Schroeder, a first-time candidate, beat DeLaRosa with 59 percent of the vote, to become the city’s first woman mayor.

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