09-20 complex-01

The Palestine Athletic Complex will remain open throughout the rest of the ACFL season, thanks to a ruling Thursday by Judge James Westley.

The practices will continue, and games will be played as scheduled – the writ granted to Anderson County Football League President Carey McKinney last week was upheld Thursday during a hearing, called after city officials contested McKinney's claim.

The city has appealed the decision.

Judge James Westley granted McKinney a writ of re-entry to the Palestine Athletic Complex last week, after McKinney argued he was evicted from the complex without due process.

City officials challenged Westley's ruling. A hearing was held in Judge Westley's court around 11 a.m. Local attorney Mark Cargill represented McKinney, and the city was represented by interim City Attorney Jeff Herrington.

McKinney and the ACFL entered into a lease agreement Sept. 9, and paid the city more than $900 for use of the facility. That was one day before city council voted to close it to the public, because the complex violated the federal American Disability Act. Resident Michael Ivy, who uses a wheelchair, sued the city in June.

Herrington argued the document between McKinney and the city did not constitute a contract – Westley did not agree.

Shortly past noon, Westley ruled the lease agreement between McKinney and the city to be an enforceable contract. McKinney and the ACFL may continue to practice and play, as scheduled, for the remainder of the season.

Moreover, the electricity, which the city had turned off to the complex after McKinney was granted his first writ, will be restored, and garbage cans which were removed will be replaced.

Herrington immediately appealed the decision, to be heard in the County Court of Law at a later date. In the meantime, McKinney and the ACFL retain the right of possession of the complex.

McKinney and Cargill, as well as City Manager Leslie Cloer, declined to comment, due to the appeal.

Neither Cloer, nor any of the city council members attended the hearing.

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