Judge rules in favor of city of Double Horn, questions state’s motives behind lawsuit

STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS

Double Horn, TexasDouble Horn Mayor Cathy Sereno, as well as many Double Horn residents who filled the 424th District Courtroom on April 3, expressed relief and happiness with Judge Evan Stubbs’s ruling.

Stubbs denied the state of Texas’s petition to invalidate Double Horn’s recent incorporation.

“We believe this is the proper outcome, but we weren’t sure whether or not to expect it,” Sereno said after the hearing.

Stubbs, on multiple occasions during the hearing, questioned the motives of the Texas Attorney General’s Office in pursuing a case against the new city.

“Why does the (attorney general) care? Because the AG didn’t seem to care when Meadowlakes incorporated. The AG didn’t seem to care when a bunch of these other towns incorporated. So why does the AG seem to care here?” Stubbs asked.

The state’s response, from Special Counsel David Hacker, was that the Attorney General’s Office doesn’t proactively look at when cities incorporate and if they follow proper procedures. The Attorney General’s Office, Hacker said, has to be first notified of a potential violation.

Attorney Andy Messer, representing Double Horn, said that, in his more than 30 years’ experience representing municipalities, he’s never seen a case like this before.

Sereno, after the hearing, said other mayors have contacted her and commented on how unusual the case is.

Stubbs said the lawsuit came from one of two places.

“Either a group of these people that have voted against incorporation have been pounding on your door to get you to file this, which is one option,” Stubbs said. “Or, the second is that this multimillion-dollar company out of New York has been pounding on your door to get you to file this. And I really hope it’s the first because if it’s the latter, it really seems like you’re using taxpayer dollars to seek a monetary benefit for some New York corporation at the expense of all these people in this room, and, realistically, you’re using my tax dollars for that.”

Stubbs, in denying the lawsuit, said using state taxpayer money for the benefit of an out-of-state company is “just wrong.” Last summer, Double Horn area residents learned that Spicewood Crushed Stone LLC, which is owned by New York-based Dalrymple Gravel and Contracting Co., was planning to put a quarry and rock crusher plant on approximately 281 acres adjacent to the community.

“At this point, I’m not going to be complicit with that if that is, in fact, what is happening,” Stubbs said. “I’m going to find that there’s not a probability of you winning this lawsuit or having a lawsuit. I’m going to deny your petition for leave, and I guess the Third Court of Appeals — if you want to continue to spend tax dollars on it — the Third Court of Appeals can review that. And they may say I’m wrong, but from my view of it, it looks like the right thing to do.”

Until the state makes a decision on whether or not to appeal, the city of Double Horn will continue with normal business.

“Our next meeting is April 11. We’ll continue to pursue normal activities of a city and wait to see what happens,” Sereno said. “I have to talk to (the Texas Department of Transportation) about the speed study we want. That’s very important to me because the dangers on (Texas) 71 are apparent.”

The city’s full response to the lawsuit, filed April 2 in district court, is posted on the city’s website.

jared@thepicayune.com

7 Responses to “Judge rules in favor of city of Double Horn, questions state’s motives behind lawsuit”

  1. Mercedes S Mccloughan says:

    Way to go Judge Stubbs! For seeing the truth/politics behind the lawsuit!

  2. Mary Haas says:

    This is wonderful news!
    I’m so happy for the people that live in Double Horn. I felt so bad for them having to contend with a company coming in next door ruining their property values and most likely their health.
    I hope they continue to win this battle.
    Good job Texas!

  3. Toni Lott says:

    I’ll bet a dollar the reason why the Attourney General cared about this case has to do with The Texas Aggregate & Concrete Association (TACA). This industry lobby had their henchmen from Westward Environmental sitting in the back at the TCEQ Hearing for this quarry permit. These people chair a committee for TACA that “monitors” grass roots groups and social media looking for issues that could impact the industry. What are the odds that the “Good Old Boys” at TACA paid a visit to the AGs office to find a way to stop these people from incorporating? If this neighborhood can incorporate so can others who are being invaded by this industry and we can’t have that now, can we?

    • Steve says:

      Why would a billion dollar carpet bagger company need to file a complaint with the AG? They obviously are still setting up their operation and proceeding with buisness so incorporation does not seem to be a concern to them.. It very well could have been one of the 65 people who voted against incorporation that complained to the Ag. If a complaint is made they proceed with looking into it . Even the judge according to this article states it was Either the company or those who voted against the incorporation. In order to know the truth find out who filed the complaint.

      • Toni Lott says:

        Steve,

        Check out my post explaining what was behind all of this. TACAs henchmen where there at the Doublehorn Public meeting with the TCEQ taking notes. This woman that works for Westward Environmental (Melissa Fitts) is the Chair of a Committee for TACA that “monitors” grass roots groups for things the industry doesn’t care for so they can find ways to subvert it. Westward is a representative if the industry (one of the largest in Texas) they are very active in TACA. Those good ole boys paid the AG a visit. This case is a big deal because now other neighborhoods will follow suit and they do not wish to deal w any oversight. Look now for a new bill to change requirements for incorporating.

  4. Laura Rathe says:

    Thank you Judge Stubbs for seeing through this attempt of political bullying.

  5. Bob lackeyo says:

    Lets just violate all the laws, apparently it doesnt matter if you do. Stubbs, whos pocket are you in? We cannot simply allow random violations to the law to suit a few individuals.

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