City Must Decide: Admit they built a "Telecommunications Network" or Risk Bond Fraud
For the past two years in the lawsuit of Poplar Bluff Internet v. City of Poplar Bluff, the City’s lawyers have claimed that the city only has a cable television system which was enhanced to provide cable Internet. For instance, back in early 2011 we stated:
Poplar Bluff put to a vote, and the citizens approved, the issue of general obligation bonds for the purpose of establishing, constructing, and equipping a communications system for the residents of Poplar Bluff.
The city’s lawyers responded:
[The City] denies the allegations…answering affirmatively, [the City] states that in or about 2000, it put to a vote and the citizens approved the issuance of general obligation bonds for the purpose of establishing, constructing and equipping a cable television system.
Every time we identify the network as a telecommunications network, the city’s lawyers say “No, its just a cable television system.”
About three weeks ago, our lawyer, Derrick Kirby, asked me to get a copy of the bond document and read it to find out what the bond document says the $9M was to be used for. I started reading the 400 page document and my jaw dropped:
The Bond requires that the city use the $9M to build a Telecommunications Network. It’s there in black and white with no wiggle room. The plans go on to say that the first use of the telecommunications network can be to provide the citizens with Cable TV.
With this, the City now has to admit that they built a Telecommunications Network or risk a $9M Bond Fraud lawsuit filed against each member of City Council since 2000, the City Manager, City Clerk, City Attorney and Utilities Manager for using Tax-free Bonds for something other than the required use. Or, even worse, if a bond holder found out they misspent $9M the City’s credit rating would be hit and we could be downgraded.
We filed this new information in court today and hope that the Judge will use it to overturn earlier decisions since the City has not been forthcoming with this information. Kirby wrote in the pleading:
The attached documents show that from the inception of the idea to build the network at issue, Defendants identified it as a “telecommunications network” and part of its “telecommunications master plan.” This identification continued through the bond initiative, the construction of the network and the reporting to the State of Missouri. Simply speaking, while Defendants’ attorneys have argued that the system does not provide telecommunications services, the people who thought of and designed the system, the voters who approved the system, and the people who constructed and operated the system all believed that it was/is a “telecommunications network.”
We’ve made the “Request to Reconsider Summary Judgment” available for you to read in full if you would like.