Thursday, August 7, 2014

Legal realities

The 381 Agreement for the proposed Central Texas Airport is a ‘gift’ that just keeps giving. The myth that the developer’s failure to meet the June 30, 2014 deadline for the completion of the project terminated the Agreement is debunked by Section 9 (c) which clearly states that action by the County is required to withdraw from its obligation to the project. Seems simple enough. Yet no action has been forthcoming. Why the delay?

Well, here’s the legal reality. In addition to the termination clause, Section 10 defines the ‘Mutual Assistance’ on which the County and developer have agreed. The language of this Section sets a common goal which in effect binds the County and developer.

Partnerships like that are not so easily dissolved. Just over a year ago the County tried doing just that with another developer who had not met performance deadlines. You can read about it here (the comments contain important information). It’s no wonder the County is reluctant to go down that road again especially considering the close relationship between the developers of both projects.

The blame for this unfortunate situation rests squarely on the Commissioners Court of 2010 (Commissioners Dildy, Beckett, Pina and Klaus with Judge Ronnie McDonald at the helm) that approved this very flawed 381 Agreement. Political expediency and the fantasy of an economic windfall spun by the developer trumped common sense and due diligence. Shame on those responsible for setting this project in motion!

  1. GA Lewis

    Friday, August 8, 2014 - 03:55:45

    Bastropians would do well to rediscover their hind legs, appear en masse before the County Commissioners Court and insist that they clean up this legal mess.

  2. Linda Curtis

    Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 00:21:36

    Personally, I would suggest that the County Commissioners Court get an outside legal opinion, since presumably the County Attorney is telling them this. I’m no attorney, but I do understand the politics of public subsidies.

  3. GA Lewis

    Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 02:02:49

    I’m not an attorney (thank goodness) but I see nothing in Section 10 that precludes the County from abrogating this agreement, especially in light of a breach of terms on the part of the company. All I see is an opportunity for the County to to facilitate the Company’s processes if the County “in its sole discretion” sees fit to do so.

    Any interpretation to the contrary seems to me to be prejudice on the part of the County in favor of the Company and in opposition of the people’s interests. But that’s been the crux of this biscuit all along, hasn’t it?

  4. noairport

    Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 02:39:13

    @Linda Curtis . . . we have asked ourselves that same question and even suggested that perhaps the County should find new attorneys. But who knows what’s in the contract that binds the County to Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta!

    @GA Lewis . . . did you read the link to the Statesman article about the last time the Commissioners attempted to void a contract with a developer? The consequences of ending the contract could be very expensive for both the County and possibly individual members of the Court also. We may not like it but understand their caution . . .

    We should be holding the Commissioners who were responsible for approving the 381 in the first place responsible for their lack of due diligence. There will be more on that coming to the Factoids before too long . . .

  5. GA Lewis

    Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 06:10:13

    As I suggested, the following clause seems seems to provide an out for the County and is missing from the Burleson Crossing language:

    “…County shall take such action as County in its sole discretion determines reasonably necessary and appropriate…”

    However, if Bastrop voters/taxpayers are apathetic, who am I to squawk?

  6. GA Lewis

    Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 06:11:13

    There is no recourse against Commissioners Court of 2010 that I can imagine.

  7. noairport

    Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 07:27:54

    @GA Lewis . . . There may not be a legal recourse but words will provide some paltry satisfaction. Also keep in mind that Ty McDonald is running for County Judge. Now that’s a scary thought considering her husband’s role in supporting the airport.

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