Commerce – In part two of our series on John Doe 7 vs. City of Commerce, KETR will explore in more detail why at a recent meeting no one made a motion to settle the lawsuit.
The June 2 meeting wasn't, however, the first time such an agreement was put before the council. Several months back, Councilman Bob Monday made a motion to settle, but was met with no second and the motion died. He says he didn't want to go through that again.
"Quite frankly, I didn't want to be embarrassed again," says Monday.
Monday still contends the city should settle, and would have been willing to second a motion if one had been made.
After returning from an April 30 mediation hearing; Mayor Quay Throgmorton says he thought two council members would be in favor of the proposed settlement, while Mayor Pro Tem Billie Biggerstaff had no intention of voting for it.
The Mayor was unsure, however, if he himself could make a motion to settle, but felt even if he did make it wouldn't have garnered a second. By rule, a motion and a second are needed in order for an item to go before a vote. Even then, three council members would need to vote yes for the agreement to pass.
"Apparently a majority of the council believe they'll win, our ordinance is solid and this is something we need to stand up for," says Throgmorton.
KETR is working to obtain a copy of the mediation agreement through an open records request, stating that the document is of public record because it is funded by tax payer dollars. At the time the mediation hearing was held between the two parties, a settlement was discussed and agreed to be brought before the council for consideration. That agreement, however, was not approved.
The ordinance was approved in November, 2007 and the lawsuit filed a few months later. The ordinance is currently not being enforced.
David Davis is the attorney for John Doe 7. He says his client claims the original ordinance goes too far.
On Wednesday, KETR will talk about the amount of taxpayer money being spent on the lawsuit, and if the citizens of Commerce are aware of it. At least two council members say it's the citizens who've given them reason to continue with the lawsuit rather than settle.