To the editor:
I read with interest the story of Mr. Baroody’s latest exploits against people he disagrees with. He has retained an attorney, Mr. Gordon from Austin, to represent him in a potential lawsuit against the city. In the future, I hope the city releases the dollar amount that we the taxpayer had to pay, including staff time, to respond to such a frivolous case, or maybe Mr. Baroody will pay these costs since it is solely to appease his ego. Anyone following his misconduct of last October should not be surprised by his actions intended to intimidate the three councilpersons elected by a landslide (roughly two-thirds) of our citizens last year: Bill Blackburn, Delayne Sigerman, and Judy Eychner.
Mr. Baroody was quoted as saying “This is not about whether I should or shouldn’t be punished.” I assume he is agreeing with the majority of the council that he should be punished, he just doesn’t like it that he was punished by not being allowed to attend future executive sessions, where the same subject is being discussed. Mr. Baroody clearly demonstrated he is not to be trusted with confidential privileged information, so my question is, why did council not restrict him from all future executive sessions and not just those involving one specific subject?
The facts are that the city retained private legal counsel, through the Texas Municipal League. In executive session the council received confidential information from the TML attorney. Mr. Baroody confirmed, according to both local newspapers, that he, along with other councilmembers, had been instructed by the TML attorney, to “Avoid Contact” with the plaintiff’s attorney, Patrick O’Fiel. However, Mr. Baroody claimed that he was not “prohibited” from speaking to Mr. O’Fiel. Huh? Avoid contact, but it’s okay to speak to opposing legal counsel in a pending lawsuit? In his usual, “I know better than anyone else,” Mr. Baroody, the very next morning went to see Mr. O’Fiel. Mr. O’Fiel, with outstanding ethical behavior, refused to discuss the matter with Mr. Baroody. At the December council meeting Mr. Baroody stated he contacted Mr. O’Fiel in an attempt to privately work out a deal.
A little history about what started all of this. Council denied a variance to open another sober living home in the 1500 block of East Main, as the limited number allowed within one-half mile had been exceeded. The city set distance requirements so that no one single family residential area was inundated with such commercial ventures. At that council meeting, six persons spoke: the applicant, her husband, another SLH owner, and three property owners who lived immediately adjacent to the property in question. Mr. Baroody says he represents the people? I ask you—does Mr. Baroody represent these home owners who have spent their entire lives and income maintaining their homes? And Mr. Baroody wants the citizens/taxpayers/home owners to reelect him to represent us. Not me!
– Brenda Craig