Former television journalists take Foxx and council to court - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Former television journalists take Foxx and council to court

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx says he's not concerned about a motion filed by former television journalists that takes the city to court.

Former WBTV Reporters Mike Cozza, Ken Koontz, Bruce Bowers along with past County Commission Candidate and talk show host Wayne Powers have all enlisted the help of attorney Charlotte Attorney Paul Whitfield, who argued the case in 1973.

The four men want a Mecklenburg County court ruling reexamined over the public's right to know.

They contend when the Mayor and city council started closed door negotiations with the Carolina Panthers over stadium improvements; the conversations violated the state's open meeting laws.

"We haven't had any conversation in closed session that won't ultimately become public anyway," Foxx said.

Cozza said, "The city council should take these actions in public where people can see what's going on where people can have influence."

City Attorney Bob Haggemann strongly believes that no laws were broken.

He said,  "I remain very confident that the city council was legally justified in going into closed session and having the conversations that they had, and working toward the goal of keeping the Panthers in Charlotte as long as possible."

In March of 1973, Former Mecklenburg County Judge Frank Snepp ruled that branches local government must open up their meetings to the public.

"We have a policy today that releases those minutes at the conclusion of the negotiations, so every word that's been uttered is going to be public at some point," Foxx said.

Plaintiffs are seeking more than 1 million dollars in penalties against the city. They say the money would go to the local school system.

Koontz said the motion will be heard before a judge the week of May 6th. He is waiting on a specific date and time.

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