City attorney explains penalties for violating second court order for demolition

Demolition began at four properties in a Union Plaza neighborhood on Sept. 12, 2017 despite a court order that was issued the night before. Protesters gathered and police arrived to block off the area. Credit: KFOX14 / CBS4

The fencing and rubble still remain in the Union Plaza neighborhood where a downtown arena is slotted to be built.

As KFOX14 previously reported, a civil injunction was issued to revoke all demolition permits for the buildings in the Union Plaza neighborhood.

There could be fines and fees if property owners decide to try to continue demolition.

City Attorney Sylvia Firth told KFOX14 there is a $2,000-a-day penalty for demolishing without a permit in the city of El Paso.

When it comes to contempt of court charges, that would have to be decided by the Eighth Court of Appeals.

Firth said the city has reached out to the private property owners and their attorneys to ask them to not violate the second injunction. They have acknowledged they will not.

"Most people aren't going to just disregard a court order which comes from the eighth court of appeals," Firth said. "We have no reason to believe they are not going to. They have acknowledged the notice; they did stop so have no reason to believe they won't comply."

The city has until 5 p.m. Monday to file its own documentation and evidence explaining why the injunction should be lifted.

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