Lawsuit filed against city council in support of Greensward - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lawsuit filed against city council in support of Greensward

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Two Greensward supporters have filed a lawsuit against the city council alleging the council violated the Sunshine Law and they didn't have authority to make their decision to grant the zoo authority over the Greensward. The lawsuit seeks to have the council's decision overturned.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges the city council violated the open meeting laws when it gave authority to the zoo by not providing adequate notice of the meeting.

"The way that the city council behaved and the way the action transpired raises questions," said Susan Lacy, the Plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Lacy is a doctor, not a lawyer, but she says the way the council passed the resolution granting authority over the Greensward to the zoo doesn't seem right.

"The lack of transparency, the lack of ability for people to have a dialog, to have their opinions heard," said Lacy.

The lawsuit says the City Council did not provide adequate public notice of the meeting in order to pass the resolution. It also talks in detail about how the resolution was written, with most of the council members as sponsors, before they even had a chance to discuss it in a public meeting like the law requires.

The city denies it did anything wrong.

"They're just allegations," said city attorney Allan Wade.

The suit does, however, note how Wade had phone conversations with each of the council members to encourage them to support the resolution. Wade denies he did anything wrong and said he only answered their questions.

"But did anybody deliberate towards a decision? Oh no. Did I meet with two or more people at any time? Oh no. Did I meet with individual council members and answer their questions about the litigation? Oh yes," said Wade.

When asked point blank if he or the council violated Sunshine Laws, Wade got a bit aggressive.

"I said no, I didn't. No, I didn't. Wanna ask it again? Did I violate the Sunshine Law? No, I didn't," said Wade.

But Lacy is sticking by the lawsuit, saying it's about transparency.

"We need to understand why the people in our government, our city government, are making the decisions that they're making," said Lacy.

The lawsuit also says that when the city council created the Parks Division, it essentially gave authority of the parks over to the mayor and, therefore, the council did not have the authority to pass the resolution saying the zoo has control over the Greensward.

Wade said that was not true.

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