Mayor files sanctions over ECP mediation info
The Ellis County Press
MIDLOTHIAN– Midlothian Mayor Boyce Whatley’s legal team filed motions to slap Councilman Ken Chambers‘ lawyer, Todd Phillippi, with sanctions over allegations that Chambers gave information resulting from a mediation hearing to The Ellis County Press.
The sanctions were filed Monday, July 20 during hearings related to Chambers’ lawsuit against Whatley, the City of Midlothian and two members of an ethics subcommittee – councilmen Dusty Fryer and Joe Frizzell – that ended up finding no fault, despite months of allegations printed in the Midlothian Mirror against Chambers.
Phillippi, said he has not read the sanction motions, but indicated he was unaware the information could not be disclosed.
Due to a quorum of councilmen – four – in the mediation at the Waxahachie Civic Center where the hearing was held – a public agenda was posted, Phillippi said.
Whatley initiated the ethics investigation two years ago after his council colleague met with Waxahachie contractor Ken Halverson, who had a lawsuit pending against the cities of Midlothian and Waxahachie for alleged illegal contracts awarded for airport hangars at the cities’ shared Mid-Way Regional Airport.
In a new city ethics policy that Chambers later voted against, one of the rules for councilmen was not to talk to individuals who have pending litigation with the city.
Chambers alleged that restriction violated his Constitutional rights, and originally he and Phillippi sought $1 million in damages.
Whatley and the city are being represented by city attorney Jim Jeffreys.
Two weeks ago, Chambers and Phillippi asked for $46,000 in attorney fees from the City of Midlothian in mediation; the city balked and offered $14,000 instead.
"The city offered $5,000 at the beginning of the mediation," said Chambers.
"By the end of the day the city increased their offer to $14,000. This lawsuit was never about money. It was about standing for what I believe in and representing the people of Midlothian. Mayor Whatley initiated this witch hunt in an attempt to discredit and remove me from the city council."
After three months of enduring Whatley’s abuse, he dropped the investigation.
"I feel that Whatley should pay my legal expenses, but he refused. This lawsuit was to ensure no more abuse from Whatley and to pay my expenses."
"The city offered $14,000. My attorney [Phillippi] countered with $46,507.61. This amount would have covered past and present legal expenses; nothing else. The city refused. Now we will go to court. Let the people decide what’s best for me and the city."