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Charlotte Observer: Action against city over Panthers deal faces dismissal

From the Charlotte Observer (5/28/13): A judge is poised to dismiss a complaint filed on behalf of former TV reporters against the city of Charlotte over closed-door negotiations with the Carolina Panthers about stadium improvements.

Attorney Paul Whitfield, who brought the complaint in April, said Tuesday that he has been informed that Superior Court Judge Robert Sumner intends to throw out the suit within days when an order is drafted.

Three former reporters – Mike Cozza of WBTV, Ken Koontz of WBTV and Bruce Bowers of WBTV and WSOC – claimed that the City Council’s closed-door meetings over stadium improvements for the Panthers were not permitted under the N.C. Open Meetings Law and violated a 1973 permanent injunction from then-Judge Frank Snepp ordering the City Council to adhere to the law. Wayne Powers, a talk show host, joined the three men in the action.

Whitfield said he was told that the case was being thrown out because Snepp’s ruling referred to an earlier version of the state’s Open Meetings Law, which the Legislature rewrote in the late 1970s.

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Colin Donohue,
6/3/2013 9:35 AM