DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Interim Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway chaired his first regular City Council meeting Wednesday, but personal legal issues were not far from his mind.
He met with his legal counsel about the alleged domestic incident at his home more than two months ago just after he finished meeting with the city council.
Earlier this week, Caraway sued the state attorney general to block numerous open records requests for police reports of what happened that evening at his home.
Caraway remained upbeat even as he tried to avoid reporters while getting to his mayoral functions. Starting on time and moving briskly through his first full council meeting, he tried to put the issue of police responding to a domestic issue at his residence behind him.
When asked how he was faring, he said, “I’m doing fine.”
But when asked about the January incident, he said, “No comment on that, we’re going to move the city forward.”
Caraway now has two lawsuits in the courts over that January incident. One is in Austin, which tries to reverse an attorney general opinion ordering the release of Dallas police records.
He has also filed a second suit trying to block the city from doing the same, naming Dallas as the as defendant.
On Jan. 2, he went directly to Police Chief David Brown and bypassed the usual 911 system and the routine paperwork available to the public.
On Wednesday, council members were circumspect about how they commented about the situation.
“Y’all saw today Mayor Caraway is doing a good job and let’s leave it at that,” said councilman Jerry Allen.
Fellow councilman Tennell Atkins agreed.
“The city’s taxpayer’s money is not using that money to defend Caraway. So, he’s got to get a private attorney so that’s his personal issue,” Atkins said.
Currently, Dallas has only spent a few hours of its attorney’s office time defending itself against Caraway’s second lawsuit.
Still, it is technically a city expense.
“Right now I think (the suit) needs to run its course,” said councilwoman Ann Margolin. “But I think it’s a problem that the city is spending money on this.”
But Ron Natinsky defended Caraway’s right to go through legal channels, saying they’re afforded to every citizen.
“Those are laws he has the opportunity to avail himself of as would anyone else. And I think we have to respect his ability to decide whether he wants to do that or not,” he said.
Caraway has a Temporary Restraining Order against the city, which will block release of the documents for just under two weeks. A court hearing is scheduled for March 22 to see what happens next.