Judge: Edinburg violated state law in race track decision

EDINBURG — A state district judge ruled Thursday that the previous city council here violated the Texas Open Meetings Act when it discussed terminating a contract with the city’s former race track operator behind closed doors.

District Judge Noe Gonzalez, of the 370th state District Court, granted a partial summary judgment in favor of Alfredo Cruz, the former operator of the Edinburg Motorsports Park.

The city council voted to terminate the contract with Cruz in late 2015, after discussing it in executive session during two meetings — Nov. 17 and Dec. 1, 2015.

“The judge has agreed that they broke the law,” Cruz said Thursday about the council and former City Manager Ramiro Garza, who stated in a deposition that he had placed the item on the executive session agenda.

The issue should have been discussed in public rather than behind closed doors because there were no legal issues present at the time the meetings were held, nor did it meet any other exemptions under the law, the judge stated his ruling.

The victory is bittersweet to Cruz, whose case remains in court, despite the partial ruling.

“I’ve lost so much,” he said. “I’ve lost two years of income.”

nlopez@themonitor.com