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Judge says Abram not a city

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Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 12:00 am | Updated: 4:30 pm, Wed Jun 12, 2013.

EDINBURG — The city of Abram has asked a judge to reconsider his ruling that it doesn’t have a legal right to exist.

The small community of about 5,500, which lies a few miles southwest of Mission, incorporated via elections in May 2005. The city has long identified itself as a distinct area, taking its name around the turn of the century from Abram Dillard, a prominent citizen and Texas Ranger who settled there.

Shortly after Abram’s 2005 elections, the city of Mission sued, arguing that Abram had failed to ask Mission’s permission to incorporate. Mission’s lawyers argued the permission was necessary because Abram lies within Mission’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, the outside-the-city-limits area that falls within cities’ legal purview.

The ruling in mid-January from Judge Robert Pate agreed with Mission’s argument.

But, Abram’s motion for a new trial, filed Friday, contends that Mission should have involved either the state or the district attorney in the suit.

"Frankly, our argument is that there’s a procedure here that the city hasn’t followed and that the state should be involved," said Ricardo Gonzalez, who represents Abram.

Gonzalez, whose firm represented the city of Granjeno in a similar case with Mission in the early 1990s and won, said the Granjeno lawsuit was filed by both Mission and the state attorney general. He argues those same players should be plaintiffs this time around, as well.

Mission’s lawyers have not yet filed a response to the motion, nor has Pate ruled on it yet.

Bob Galligan, who represents Mission in the suit, said he hopes to file within a week or so. He said he intends to argue that because the city’s existence was void from the start, it doesn’t matter who brings the suit. Case law supports that claim, he said.

Gonzalez said if Pate does not decide on a new trial he will try to convince the state attorney general to intervene.


Kaitlin Bell covers Mission, western Hidalgo County and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4446.

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