Covid Cover Up: Lawsuit filed against Galena ParkShare this story:
COVID COVER UP: LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST GALENA PARK
For Immediate Release
August 18, 2021
The city of Galena Park is facing legal trouble for silencing critics during remote public meetings and failing to produce public documents required under state law.
Wayne Dolcefino, founder of Houston-based investigative media firm Dolcefino Consulting, filed a Harris County state district court lawsuit August 17th, 2021, against Mayor Esmeralda Moya, City Secretary Mayra Gonzales, and City Attorney Robert Collins for wholesale violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act and the Texas Public Information Act.
The Galena Park City Council has conducted its meetings entirely remotely since the pandemic first broke out in the spring 2020, nearly a year and a half ago. The lawsuit, filed by Houston Attorney Jeff Diamant, alleges that both council member Maricela Serna and Dolcefino were illegally muted when speaking out against the mayor in city council meetings.
“Breaking transparency laws is bad enough but using the pandemic to stifle public scrutiny is the ultimate insult to the taxpayers in Galena Park,” Dolcefino said. “What’s sad is taxpayers will ultimately pay the price for Mayor Moya’s corrupt conduct.”
The lawsuit also claims the city has ignored repeated open records requests for financial records from Dolcefino Consulting documenting how the mayor has spent public funds.
“This conduct is so brazen that it’s truly unbelievable. It’s clear the mayor is using the COVID pandemic to silence critics and actively interfere with the investigation into the remarkably problematic way that taxpayer money is being used. I can’t think of many good reasons for that to occur, or for that matter, any” said Diamant.
Dolcefino and Diamant were joined by Galena Park citizens, including Serna, on the steps of the Harris County Civil Courthouse Wednesday morning to announce the lawsuit filing.
“I have been warning the mayor for weeks” Dolcefino said.” She should be removed from office immediately for putting her city in financial jeopardy,” Dolcefino said. “No elected official should be allowed to brazenly disregard the law and then brazenly use the pandemic to cover her tracks.”
Earlier this year, Dolcefino Consulting revealed the City of Galena Park had fallen behind on water bills to the City of Houston by more than 700,000 dollars.
Media inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can reach Wayne at the phone number previously provided.
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