Trollin' ain't easy, but is banning John Foddrill, and others like him, unconstitutional?
Published: December 12, 2012
Bernal worries Foddrill is different. "My dealings with him have been very different because he's so unpredictable," Bernal said. Bernal says he couldn't reason with Foddrill, and that the more they communicated, "the increasingly angry and personal it became," he said. "I didn't know what to do with that guy," he said. "I really don't know what he's capable of, but he left me with the impression that it was more than I'm comfortable with."
Michael Cuellar was issued his criminal trespass warning in late August. Cuellar says he was forced to resign from his position as a contract manager with the city's fire department in February after internal squabbles, though he claims he's legally unable to discuss the matter publicly. When he filed for documents justifying his ban, Cuellar in September got a reply saying, "There are no responsive records for this request. … The Communication and Public Affairs Department and Public Information Office cannot provide you any further assistance with your concerns about the Criminal Trespass Warning Notice Letter you received."
Cuellar appears to be following the trail blazed by Foddrill, papering City Hall with records requests, while flooding the inboxes of local officials and reporters with his long communiqués.
"I didn't know how else to pursue the matter except to just send all this stuff out there," Cuellar said in an interview this month. "I found myself doing the same thing as John … and I get the impression that's exactly what they want you to do. They want you to run around like a chicken with your head cut off, so you give off this perception and get drowned out." Cuellar insists his and Foddrill's tactics are a natural reaction to feeling helpless.
The city will, however, allow Cuellar back into Municipal Plaza for a pair of public meetings. The city's Ethics Review Board has agreed to hold open hearings on complaints Cuellar has filed over the city's handling of alleged kickbacks to city employees at the Alamodome and regarding a controversial Convention Center reconstruction contract.
All five men Cuellar has accused — Deputy City Manager Pat DiGiovanni; construction firm owner David Zachry; former Alamodome general manager Marc Solis; city downtown operations director Jim Mery; and Alamodome booking and services manager Michael Flores — have denied any wrongdoing in letters filed with the city. In one such letter, Zachry attorney Robert Newman labels Cuellar's behavior "harassing," citing the over 30 open records requests Cuellar's filed with the city within the past five months. Newman also cites Cuellar's criminal trespass warning as reason to reject his claims.
Although it didn't issue any punishment, the city's Ethics Review Board in October already ruled DiGiovanni "unknowingly" violated the city's ethics code for his part in awarding the Convention Center contract to a partnership that included Zachry Corp. As DiGiovanni headed a panel vetting Zachry Corp's bid for the contract, David Zachry, a board member of the downtown revitalization nonprofit Centro Partnership, was involved in discussions to hire DiGiovanni as Centro CEO.
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