Black calls for court to side-step Town’s decisions

BLYTHEWOOD – As Blythewood’s new mayor, Sloan Griffin, began firing the Town’s outside legal team handling the MPA Strategies Freedom of Information (FOI) lawsuit and the Town’s countersuit on Dec. 6, lead attorney for the team, David Black, filed a motion that same day asking for a special master (a judge not involved with the case) to referee the litigation. The special master would have the power to decide the case.

“The Town respectfully requests this be treated as a priority matter … and for a hearing to be held as soon as possible,” the motion states.

Black filed the motion without contacting the mayor, according Griffin.

Black has since asked the court to expedite the hearing.

Black asserts in the filing that a special master is needed because he claims Councilman Donald Brock “has a personal interest in this lawsuit.”

Black’s motion alleges that Brock gave “improper assistance” to MPA in its efforts to land a marketing contract in exchange for MPA’s help in re-election efforts. Brock has vehemently denied acting improperly, and Black has yet to produce evidence that Brock did so.

“In light of the conflicts of interest of Town council members [in the plural] adverse to the Town’s interests to this litigation, a special master is needed to ensure the interests of the Town – the party to this lawsuit – and its citizens are protected,” the motion states.

Griffin said during his campaign that he planned to, immediately after taking office, settle the Town’s various MPA legal actions and dismiss the Town’s outside attorneys who were handling them.

He was subsequently elected with more than 69 percent of the vote over former Mayor Bryan Franklin who, along with Councilmen Eddie Baughman and Rich McKenrick, had consistently voted to keep the lawsuits going.

Griffin designated Town Attorney Pete Balthazar as lead counsel on all outstanding legal matters regarding the Town of Blythewood.

According to Black’s filing with the Court, if the Court appoints a special master to the case, the special master could effectively side-step Black’s client – the council and the mayor – in making decisions for the Town concerning MPA. Even though Griffin has terminated the outside legal team, the Court filing for a special master is still pending.

No ruling has been made at this time on Black’s motion to appoint a Special Master.

Some legalities of this case are still in motion, could change, and updates on the case will be made by The Voice as available.

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