El Paso

City of El Paso responds to contempt allegation after buildings were damaged

Duranguito Comtempt of Court charges

EL PASO, Texas - Monday was the deadline for the City of El Paso to file a response to a contempt of court petition in the Duranguito proceeding.

Historic preservationist Max Grossman is asking the 8th Court of Appeals to hold the City of El Paso in contempt after demolition began despite a cease and desist order.

As of deadline, ABC-7 was still waiting for those responses from both sides to be filed. ABC-7 spoke with the City Attorney Monday morning and she said the contempt response was an easy one because the injunction was not directed at the City. She added the City of El Paso did comply and did everything it reasonably could to prevent demolition.

Last week ABC-7 reported that the attorney for the demolition company, JMR Demolition of El Paso, maintained the company did nothing wrong by beginning demolition of some of the buildings in Duranguito because it had an agreement with private property owners and they weren't listed in the original court order to cease and desist.

Grossman's request for a second emergency order stopped all demolition from going forward.

Grossman maintains that the City knew exactly what the first court order meant and should have done more to make sure no buildings were harmed. Grossman said his attorney's response will show the City blatantly violated the judge's order.

"My attorneys right now are putting the final touches on a long brief that provides detail that explains exactly how the City and property owners violated those orders and laying out our demands," Grossman told ABC-7.

City Attorney Sylvia Borunda Firth told ABC-7: "The injunction was not directed at the City and the City did comply with everything we could do. We've provided even additional documentation to show the communication we had with the property owner to request their voluntary compliance with the order as well."

Grossman said some of those demands include shoring up those damaged buildings in Duranguito and returning them to their previous condition.

The City Attorney said Grossman's attorneys are being given until next Monday to correct a deficiency in their filings on the original injunction in this case.

All of this, of course, leading to further delays for the city and more legal bills for taxpayers.

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