El Paso businesses sue City; claim City project is causing them to lose money, customers

EL PASO, Texas - Some business owners are suing the city of El Paso, claiming a city project is costing them customers and money.

The City started a reconstruction project on San Antonio Ave. in Downtown El Paso in May 2012. It was supposed to wrap up in November but delays have extended the project until early next month, said City Spokesman Martin Bartlett.

The city says it took longer because crews had to closely coordinate with utilities. Also, crews had to be careful because the private underground basements of these shops complicated the project and they had to work around them to avoid damaging the basements, said Bartlett.

The city says their research shows the city is not liable.  

City representatives Eddie Holguin, Lily Limon and Carl Robinson wanted to deny the claim the shops asked for but still continue negotiations to try to award them some money.

"I'm in favor of getting to a more realistic number," said Holguin. He said the city should take responsibility for the delay.

They were outvoted by Cortney Niland, Michiel Noe, Larry Romero and Mayor Oscar Leeser, who voted to deny the claim completely.

"According to our legal team who went out and did extensive research, the city had no liability.  There are numerous individuals and businesses throughout our community who would beg for the inconvenience just to have that roadway improved. This is for the public benefit," said Niland.

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