WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — An investigation into an alleged violation of code of ethics of the Wichita Falls City Council has been completed and the city council received the full report Wednesday morning.
The council will meet next week for a hearing on allegations involving District Five Councilor Steve Jackson, whose lawyer is alleging the city is violating his first amendment rights.
According to city attorney Kinley Hegglund, a complaint was filed against Jackson for making false statements verbally, in writing or on social media or via texts or emails regarding a city issue or use of city funds. After the complaint, Jackson hired an attorney out of the metroplex, Elizabeth Alvarez of Guest & Gray Attorneys at Law, who sent a response to the city on Friday. That response claims the city is accusing Jackson of making false or misleading statements concerning the May 2018 city bond election.
According to the response, the alleged statements involved the defeated proposal for a new $77 million multi-purpose city hall. The plan was to build the complex along 3rd and 5th Streets and Scott and Ohio, which would have resulted in at least 16 businesses on Scott having to relocate or close their doors. Even though the proposition failed during the May election, Jackson believes many city leaders stIll want to build a new centralized facility, which is something his attorney said he shared with some of his constituency.
The city of Wichita Falls isn’t releasing the complaint against Jackson. KFDX has filed a freedom of information request to get a copy of the complaint, but our request is still being processed.
In response to the complaint, Alvarez said the first amendment protects his comments, and the city’s attempt to restrict his speech due to political disagreement over the content is unacceptable.
It will be Jackson’s option on whether Tuesday’s hearing will be open or closed. Either way, if any action is taken by the city council, it will be done in open session.
Alvarez said she will be present and if any action is taken to remove Jackson from office, she plans to take this case to federal court.