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Council votes to deny former Mayor Cook's legal claim

Council votes to deny former Mayor Cook's legal claim
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 7:01pm

El Paso City Council today voted not to shell out $700,000 to former Mayor John Cook to help him pay legal bills he racked up fighting a recall attempt. Cook argues that city lawyers gave council bad advice, which paved the way for a referendum election.

Cook and two council representatives were targeted in the recall after they voted to restore health benefits to the partners of gay and unmarried city employees.

Council today unanimously denied Cook's legal claim against the city and released this the following statement:

"Today, relying on legal advice from special counsel, the El Paso City Council denied former Mayor John Cook's claim for payment of legal fees stemming from his lawsuit relating to recall efforts by Tom Brown Ministries and the Word of Life Church. The Council's decision turned on multiple factors, including the fact that Cook initiated this suit in his individual capacity, that the litigation was not authorized by the City, and that the underlying litigation is still pending. Neither Mr. Cook's assertion that the November 2010 referendum was improper nor his success in enjoining illegal corporate campaign activity entitles him to payment of his attorneys' fees. Fortunately for Mr. Cook, if he prevails in the pending case, he will be able to ask the trial court to order that his fees be paid by those found to have harmed him."

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