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Reason more clear why Scott requested to see thousands of Council member emails

ROCKWALL – The reason why former Rockwall City Council member and attorney Matt Scott filed a Public Information Open Records Request with the City last week became a bit more clear this week.

Scott amended his Request Wednesday afternoon so he wouldn’t have to pay $4,600 to see about 19,000 emails and requested the City show him all emails sent to or received by Council members Michelle Smith, David White and Mark Russo between July 15, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2011, which included the terms:

“Glen; Farris; Matt; Matthew; Scott; Chamber; “Open Records”; Sherri; Franza; Dana; Macalik; unethical.”

A follow-up email read:

“I forgot–I also want to include the terms “J.J.” and “JJ” and any emails to, or from, these council members and J.J. Smith (Publisher of TheRockwallNews.com).”

Since Dana Macalik (right photo) was just appointed as the new President of the Rockwall Chamber of Commerce  – a position which defeated Rockwall mayoral candidate and long-time Chamber Board Member Glen Farris (middle photo) also sought – and Sheri Franza is the President/CEO of the related Rockwall Economic Development Corporation, it is assumed by some City Hall observers that Farris hired Scott to learn why Macalik was selected over Farris.

Smith is likely involved because he had emailed the entire City Council prior to Macalik’s hiring asking if Council members were aware that Farris had accepted undisclosed payments from the Chamber for website services performed while he was a sitting Council  member. The Council annually contributes thousands of dollars to the Chamber to promote business in Rockwall.

In his email, Smith also expressed his opinion that, since Farris had not disclosed his earnings, he felt Farris did not deserve the position. He asked Council Members if they felt the same.  Smith emailed Farris and retiring Chamber President Margie Hooper, as well, to obtain more information about the situation, but Farris did not respond. Hooper did confirm Farris had been paid, but that when the City Council contributed the money, it was not necessarily for the website services that Farris performed.  The Chamber could spend it however they wanted, without restrictions.

As a result of Smith’s investigation, he received a “cease and desist” order from Scott in Farris’ behalf, warning him to cease his efforts to “blackmail” Farris or face a lawsuit.

Smith responded via email that he was not attempting to blackmail Farris and only was attempting to do his job as a reporter.

As of this morning, it is not known how much the City will charge Scott for the amended Open Records Request or if the City has started the processing of the emails.

By J.J. Smith, Publisher

 

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