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Monday, September 30, 2013 - 2:35pm
El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — Today, Judge Orlinda Naranjo (419th District in Travis County) granted an order permitting Attorneys for Stephanie Allala to proceed with depositions in her open records requests related to correspondence about official city business between members of the El Paso City Council & City Manager and correspondence with proponents of the baseball stadium project.
Allala has been requesting all records from personal and public email accounts as well as text message correspondence from City Manager Joyce Wilson, Rep. Cortney Niland, and former Reps. Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd. Despite releasing a slew of documents earlier this year, Allala remains unsatisfied that all documents relating to the baseball stadium project have been released.
Judge Naranjo's ruling today grants Allala's attorney's request for depositions of Wilson, Niland and Byrd to be set for December, when Steve Ortega's deposition will be held and when the Assistant Attorney General on the case returns from maternity leave.
Bill Aleshire, Allala's attorney said "As a former public official myself, my advice would be for public officials to not commingle public business and personal business on their email accounts anymore than they would commingle public money with their private money. Because if they do, they should expect that the records of their public business will be subject to disclosure under the TPIA."
So far more than 180 pages have been turned in and nothing was found that would indicate any illegal processes regarding city business.
Former city council representative Steve Ortega reacted to Monday's court ruling.
"The judge ruled that the subpoena for the depositions in December can go forward and I'll be happy to do so. The underlying allegation is that there are illegal things that took place and there is nothing further from the truth. It's a nuisance. It's a pain. Its something I'd rather not have to waste time going through. But it's the courts take that this is what we're going to have to do and so I'm respectful of that," said Ortega.
Allala held a press conference Monday outside of City Hall.
"First they tried to blow me off and then they tried to buy me off. And now they tried to beat me off with these offensive pleadings and we've won. We'll it doesn't work. Transparency is alive and well in Texas and in El Paso today," said Allala.