Steve Presley

Mayor Steve Presley

BY WILLIAM PATRICK

reporter@palestineherald.com

District Judge Mark Calhoon on Friday delayed a hearing, until May 3, to determine how much the city owes Lone Star Equipment for legal fees.

Palestine Mayor Steve Presley wanted the delay, because the city is working with a new attorney on the case, interim City Attorney Jeff Herrington.

Last month, City Council members fired then-City Attorney Ron Stutes, after the city lost a week-long trial in a civil suit brought by Lone Start for breach of contract. Jurors awarded Lone Star a $500,000 judgment.

Jurors ruled the city, in 2014, failed to cover Lone Star's construction costs for a 1,950-foot asphalt road, from U.S. 79 to Sanderson Farms.

In civil cases, the loser typically pays the winner's legal fees, Aside from the $500,000 judgment, the city may be on the hook for more than $100,000 to cover Lone Star's legal fees.

The hearing to determine those fees is now scheduled for the day before before city elections, when Presley will square off against mayoral candidates A.D. Etheridge and Michael Sims.

Citing time constraints, Calhoon told Herrington and Lone Star attorneys Keith Dollahite and David Hill that 2:30 p.m., on Friday, May 3, would be the earliest the court could hear the case.

City council members said they are considering filing an appeal. They will discuss the issue in closed session Monday.