City Council denies former mayor John Cook's claim for payment of legal fees

POSTED: 06:06 PM MDT Jul 23, 2013    UPDATED: 06:08 PM MDT Jul 23, 2013 
EL PASO, Texas -

El Paso City Council on Tuesday turned down a request by former mayor John Cook to help him pay his legal fees after he sued recall petitioners trying to oust him from office.

His bills have amounted to nearly $600,000.

The City didn't pay in the first place because a recall is a political process and it's not supposed to take sides.

But Cook says petitioners broke election laws and he swore to defend those laws - so the City should back him up.

Read City Council's full statement below

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.