Legal team requests dismissal of court case regarding downtown multipurpose arena

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

Attorneys for a former member of the El Paso County Historical Commission requested the dismissal of one out of three lawsuits against the city of El Paso regarding the Multipurpose Performing Arts and Entertainment Center.

Court documents filed Monday state Max Grossman’s lawyers were withdrawing the complaint that the city of El Paso had violated an order of the 8th Court of Appeals when buildings in Union Plaza were partially demolished.

“Dr. Grossman now stipulates that the evidence produced during discovery will likely not show that officials with decision making authority at the City intentionally took any action (or failed to take action) to violate the Order of the 8th Court of Appeals," the motion stated.

“The city, in the interest in saving taxpayer funds, recently agreed to participate in mediation related to this legal matter. The request to dismiss this case shows that the city did act in full compliance of court orders,” Mayor Dee Margo said.

Two other lawsuits remain.

One of them is a bond validation lawsuit, which determines if the city can use the multipurpose arena for sports.

The second lawsuit surrounds the Texas Antiquities Act, which determines how the city of El Paso must conduct an archeological before demolishing an area.

Grossman sent KFOX-14 the following statement:

"I made a decision not to pursue my motion to hold the City in contempt for violating the 8th Court of Appeals, on the advice of my legal counsel. My decision does not affect the pending appeal of the Travis County bond validation case in which Judge Meachum concluded that the City cannot use bond funds to design or construct a building to accommodate sporting events. My decision also does not affect the pending appeal of Judge Patrick Garcia's ruling denying the City's plea to the jurisdiction. Finally, my decision does not affect my legal actions to ensure the City complies with the Texas Antiquities Code and the regulations of the Texas Historical Commission. I remain dedicated to preserving the historic buildings and archeological assets in Duranguito."

The center is the largest of the three signature bond projects overwhelmingly approved by voters. A total of 71.67 percent of votes cast were in favor of the bond project. The ordinance calling for the referendum stated the multipurpose center would be built downtown.

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