And in this one, money changes hands.
The 8th District Preservation Association has filed a motion to amended their lawsuit against Knox County over the Midway development to include allegations of specific violations of the Open Meetings Act by County Commissioners.
The additional complaint says:
Plaintiffs aver that on or about June 22, 2006, at or around 8:30 a.m., between fourteen (14) and sixteen (16) of the Knox County Commissioners met at the offices of the Knoxville Association of Realtors (f/k/a and a/ka Knoxville Board of Realtors).
At that non-public meeting, the Defendant Development Corporation solicited the support of the commissioners for the re-zoning and purchase of the Midway Road Property subject of this lawsuit. There was discussion among the commissioners about the Midway Road project which constituted a deliberation on the issue.
At this meeting the Knoxville Board of Realtors also solicited the support of the commissioners for the re-zoning and purchase of the Midway Road Property subject of this lawsuit. Subsequent to that solicitation, the Knoxville Board of Realtors presented the commissioners campaign contribution checks.
The meeting of the commissioners constituted a quorum of the Knox County Commission.
The meeting of the commissioners was a “meeting” as defined in Tennessee Code Annotated § 8-44-102.
The public was not given notice of this meeting of commissioners, nor was the meeting open to the public as required by Tennessee Code Annotated § 8-44-103.31.
At the time of the meeting, the commissioners knew that the purchase and rezoning of the Midway Road property for an industrial park was a very controversial public issue. Notwithstanding, the commissioners chose to meet for discussion and deliberation on the issue.
All of such actions constitute a violation of the Tennessee Open Meetings Act (T.C.A. § 8-44-101 et seq)...
Read the press release after the jump. A PDF copy of the motion to amend is attached.
UPDATE: An important point from comments to keep in mind: The County Commission in June 2006 is different than the ones on the current commission or that prior to January 2007.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 29, 2007
Contact: Bob Wolfenbarger, David L. Buuck
On behalf of the plaintiffs of the 8th District Preservation Association, this afternoon attorney David L. Buuck filed an amendment to their lawsuit against the Knox County Commission, the Metropolitan Planning Commission, and the Development Corporation, which was originally filed in September of 2006. The new pleading revises their Complaint to allege that the so-called “Sunshine Law” was violated by the Knox County Commission prior to their vote on the funding and rezoning of the proposed Midway Road industrial park.
The pleading amendment includes allegations that two or more commissioners deliberated outside of the public’s view before the vote on the controversial rezoning.
Bob Wolfenbarger, a Board member for the 8th District Preservation Association, stated, “We believe that Sunshine Law violations by County Commission render the rezoning action void. This is a single example of a pattern of behavior that has gone on for years.”
Wolfenbarger adds, “This rezoning happened in spite of fierce community opposition because the developers wanted it to happen. The misuse of county purchasing cards is peanuts compared with the tens of millions of dollars that are being wasted by quasi-government agencies such as the Development Corporation.”
|Motion to Amend Complaint.pdf||46.73 KB|
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