Charlotte Observer: Suit over city-Panthers meeting in court today

From the Charlotte Observer (5/23/13): The case between four former media members and the City of Charlotte, over negotiations between the city and the Carolina Panthers for stadium improvements, is expected to be heard by a judge Thursday afternoon.

Superior Court Judge Robert Sumner is scheduled to hear a request from city attorneys to dismiss the case, which was brought in early April by four men who say Charlotte officials violated the open meetings law when it discussed the deal with the Panthers.

Attorney Paul Whitfield, representing the four ex-media members, filed a motion April 2, asking that the city be cited for contempt of court and fined at least $1.4 million — 1 percent of the $144 million that Charlotte City Council discussed giving the Panthers for stadium improvements.

The four former media members are Ken Koontz, Mike Cozza, Bruce Bowers and Wayne Powers. Several of them were involved in the original North Carolina Open Meetings trial in the 1970s, argued by Whitfield. Then-Superior Court Judge Frank Snepp put city council, Mecklenburg County commissioners and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board under permanent injunctions against breaking the open meetings law.

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