Grenade Analogy Can’t Support Board Blacklist

     DALLAS (CN) – A Texas appeals court lifted the injunction against an activist who likened his evidence of corruption to a grenade going off in the community board room.
     The injunction restricted Jack Lagos, of Plano, from coming within 500 feet of Plano Mayor Phil Dyer or City Manager Thomas Muehlenbeck, except at public events where the men function in their elected positions. Lagos also had to keep the same distance from members of the Plano Economic Development Board, and he was barred from calling or emailing these individuals.
     Lagos hopes to uncover a paper trail that would “expose the board to ridicule and to defeat it politically.” He claims that his own activism pushed the board to publish its agendas and open its meetings to the public, but says the board still tries to operate in secrecy.
     When trying to view documents at the board’s office in August 2009, Lagos found that an attachment was missing from the July 1991 minutes.
     Upset that the staff was hiding something from him, Lagos called the mayor from the board’s office. Board staffers have testified that Dyer told Dyer that there was a “grenade” about to go off in the board room and that the mayor and the board staff would not like his surprises.
     But Lagos says he mentioned the grenade as a figure of speech to indicate the explosive nature of the income tax returns he claimed to have uncovered.
     One week later, the board and its executive director Sally Bane sued Lagos to keep him away.
     A Collin County judge granted a temporary injunction and later the permanent injunction on summary judgment against Lagos, but the Fifth District Court of Appeals reversed Thursday.
     The board has failed to show evidence that Lagos posed an “imminent harm or irreparable injury” to those individuals protected in the injunction, according to the ruling.
     “Of the twelve individuals from which Lagos is enjoined, appellees only attached evidence from two of the individuals to their motion for summary judgment,” Justice Davis Bridges wrote for a three-member panel.
     The court did not take much stock in affidavits from board members that say they fear for their safety because of Lagos’ grenade comment and his “pattern of abusive behavior, harassment [and] outbursts.”
     “These affidavits provide no evidence that Lagos ever approached them, called them, or emailed them outside of the corporation’s office,” Bridges wrote.
     “There is no evidence in the record that Lagos approached Mayor Dyer or Muehlenbeck, beyond when they were functioning in their official capacities,” he added.
     Linda Thomason, the board’s administrative assistant, has even admitted to knowing that Lagos “had not been in the board room during his visit” to plant a grenade, according to the ruling.
     Lagos also denies having ever contacted board members outside of their offices.
     “I have never gone to the homes of board members or people associated with the board,” Lagos stated in an affidavit. “I never followed these people to their cars and I never waited by their cars. I did not follow these people in any respect. I have never made phone calls to the home phone numbers of the board members or board employees or people associated with the board.”
     The injunction imposed overly broad restrictions, according to the ruling. Though the order lets Lagos attend functions where the city manager and mayor are present, he must leave if certain board members appear.
     “We conclude the injunction enjoins activities Lagos otherwise has a legal right to perform, such as attending public city council meetings and work sessions, and thus the injunction is overbroad,” Bridges wrote.
     Lagos did not appeal restrictions barring him from coming within 500 feet of the board’s office on Granite Parkway or any future office location.

%d bloggers like this: