The cost of banning Three Expo's Exxxotica porn convention from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is still mounting. Instead of reaching an agreement with Exxxotica's founder J. Handy to settle the suit, Dallas hired a group of the most experienced and ideological business lawyers it could find to fight Handy in U.S. District Court.
Those lawyers, as the city continues to discover, aren't coming cheap.
Wednesday morning, the city council approved another $175,000 to the two firms representing the city in the case. The council funded the lawyers with a 9-5 vote; Casey Thomas, who voted with the mayor's 8-7 majority to ban Exxxotica, was absent.
This vote brings the city's running tab in the case to more than $400,000. For scale, that's about half of what the proposed 2017 budget allocates to solving the loose dog problem in southern Dallas. Put another way, DPD's post-shooting response cost about $700,000 in police overtime.
The case is nowhere close to being over, either. Discovery between the city and Three Expo is not slated to be complete until March 2017, a couple of months before a jury trial is expected to start.
The city won at the first hurdle when U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater turned down Handy's request for a temporary injunction that would've forced the city to allow Exxxotica to hold its convention at the Kay Bailey this year. Dallas appellate attorney Chad Ruback told the Observer that he believed the case could take years, if either side decides to fight the trial decision on appeal. That could easily drive the attorney fees incurred by keeping the convention away into the millions.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.