El Paso

Arena Legal Battle: City and opposition spend hundreds of thousands

Cost of Downtown Arena Battle

EL PASO, Texas - - How much is the battle over the Downtown arena costing the City of El Paso and its opponents?

ABC-7 learned Houston billionaire oilman J.P. Bryan is at least one of historian Max Grossman's financial backers in the effort to save Duranguito.

With Bryan's help, Grossman hired the firm of Harriet O'Neill Law, as well as Kuhn, Hobbs PLLC Appeals and Advanced Motions and El Paso's Ainsa Hutson Hester and Cruz.

Grossman's legal fees, requested as part of court documents, state he was seeking $130,745 in relief for attorney's fees, another $75,000 dollars if the city files an unsuccessful appeal and an additional $20,000 if his side has to respond to the Texas Supreme Court.

Grossman would only say this about the legal fees: "A first rate legal team, the best money can buy, is expensive." He had no comment when asked how much of that $130,745 in legal bills Bryan is paying.

What about the other side?

The City Attorney was not available for comment but ABC-7 did receive an email from City officials about the City's legal fees stating: "The total billed so far is approximately $255,000 dollars. But there will be more because this does not take us through the judgment."

The City hired the law firm of Alexander Dubose Jefferson Townsend. In addition the City retained the firm Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal Hyde and Zech, as well as one of the top firms in the country in Norton Rose Fulbright.

The City also assigned an assistant City attorney to the case. In all, three different law firms and a City attorney have been used, with a grand total of 17 attorneys and/or paralegals, etc., in all.

Mayor Dee Margo told ABC-7 this about the more than quarter of a million in legal fees: "Grossman and his litigation has cost the City probably six new police cars so far ... I think that's an abomination and that's wrong on his part."

The judge, in her ruling, denied any relief for either side when it came to those hefty attorney fees.

Despite having Bryan to foot at least part of the bill, Grossman's legal team states in a recent court filing, trying to convince the judge to clarify her ruling and avoid an appeal: "This lawsuit has become a very expensive endeavor for an individual citizen of modest means."

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