What a Train Wreck: City Doesn't Know Anything About That "Tentative Agreement" With Railroad Museum

Yesterday I got word that the Dallas City Attorney's Office and the Museum of the American Railroad were in the midst of hashing out an agreement that would allow the museum to stay at Fair Park till August 1, 2011 -- a full year later than the city's been demanding. Till Monday, last I'd heard was that the two parties had completed a second round of mediation with an injunction hearing still on the docket at a later date. So, early yesterday afternoon, I called and e-mailed the city attorneys handling the case, who didn't respond till late last night.

But, sure enough, William Brotherton -- attorney for the museum and part-time actor -- told me that, yes, there was a "tentative agreement" pending the city attorney and council's approval. Turns out, he said the exact same thing to Ann Marie Shambaugh, the Frisco contributor to The Dallas Morning News's NeighborsGo section.

But Chris Bowers, First Assistant City Attorney, tells Unfair Park not only is there no agreement, but the city's suit against the museum is moving full steam ahead.

Bowers, who has been out of the office for several days due to illness, responded to my inquiries last night via e-mail and, again, this morning after I asked him a few follow-up questions.

Initially I asked him whether there was a tentative agreement in place that would end the lawsuit filed in January. He responded: "That would be news to me." I then directed his attention to Brotherton's comments. Bowers wrote: "No tentative deal and no deal. Discussions have reached an impasse. The City will continue to seek an injunction requiring the Museum to vacate City property."

So, then, what in the wide, wide world of sports is Brotherton talking about?

"I don't know," Bowers wrote. "At no time have we said we have a deal or even might have a deal. I wish I could get into the specific offers made by each side, but I will follow our normal custom of not discussing what is said during a mediation. But I will say that the sides are not close to settling."

This morning, I e-mailed Brotherton the following: "I just heard from the city, which says there's no agreement. How is it you guys are so far apart on this?"

To which he responded at 11:52 this morning: "Thought we had a deal, not sure what happened with the city."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky