City legal bill tops $87,000 in FOI fight

he legal bills born by Odessa taxpayers keep piling up as the city continues to fight the Odessa American’s efforts to force it to comply with state freedom of information laws.

Freedom of Information requests filed by the newspaper show another $24,647.48 has been billed to the city by the Austin law firm hired to contest the Odessa American’s lawsuit accusing the municipality of violating the Texas Public Information Act. To date, the legal battle has cost the city – and taxpayers $87,490.99. The OA has requested the November bill.

The latest bill – for October – comes as word surfaced that the city apparently is no longer using the Austin firm Cobb & Counsel. Instead, the city will apparently rely on lawyers from the City Attorney’s Office as the case winds its way to a state appellate court based in Eastland. City of Odessa Attorney Natasha Brooks filed a formal motion for substitution of city attorney for the Cobb & Counsel firm. Read more at the Odessa American.