Thursday, November 10, 2011 , Updated 1:05 p.m., November 10, 2011
UPDATED: Lawsuit over Arts Center of North Texas property dismissed
No further court dates have been set.
Attorneys for the Arts Center of North Texas are asking a Collin County judge to throw out a lawsuit claiming the land for the arts center was never actually donated to the group.
The lawsuit was filed in May by Jack Lagos, a Plano resident and longtime political watchdog. In his complaint, Lagos claims that Briar Ridge Investments, the firm that is listed as the donor of the 124-acre site along State Highway 121, still owns the property and is avoiding property taxes by claiming the land as tax exempt.
In addition to Briar Ridge Investments and the Arts Center of North Texas, formerly known as the Arts of Collin County, other plaintiffs include Eugene Daffin, chief appraiser for Collin County, and Jimmie Honea, former chief appraiser for the county. Robbie Robinson, a former president of the arts center's board of directors, was originally named in the suit but was removed by Judge Jill Willis in October.
Thomas Brandt, lead counsel for the arts center, said he has asked Judge Willis to throw the case out because Lagos doesn't have the proper standing to complain about what he is complaining about. Brandt said no timetable has been set for the judge to make a decision.
When the lawsuit was filed in May, Bobby Baggett, current president of the arts center's board of directors and not a defendant in the suit, said he was not worried about the lawsuit.
"We clearly own the land, and we're frankly not concerned about the lawsuit because it's a frivolous lawsuit," he said.
Charles Nies, the secretary for the board of directors and a representative of Briar Ridge, had stronger words for Lagos when he was contacted about the lawsuit in May.
"He's a liar," Nies said. "We have not claimed any donation on our tax return for any of the land we donated to the ACC. We have not taken any deductions for Federal tax income."
As of Nov. 10, no further court dates have been set.
Calls to Lagos' attorney, Raul Loya, were not returned.
UPDATE: The lawsuit has been dismissed by Collin County Judge Jill Willis, and all claims against the other defendants -- Eugene "Bo" Daffin, Robbie Robinson, the Collin Central Appraisal District and Jimmie Honea -- have also been dismissed.
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