CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four former reporters who sued over closed door meetings between the Charlotte City Council and Carolina Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson have now filed an ethics complaint saying the meetings violated North Carolina Open Records laws.
City Attorney Bob Hagemann has argued that the City Council’s closed door meeting was legal under an exemption for economic development discussions.
Former Mayor Anthony Foxx called the meetings on September 27, 2012, January 14, 2013 and February 8 2013 to discuss incentives for the Panthers after Foxx heard from Democratic allies during the Democratic National Convention that Los Angeles was interested in pursuing the Panthers.
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson spoke to council behind closed doors in the two 2013 meetings.
The ex-reporters say the meetings were illegal because the discussion strayed beyond economic development to specific taxes to be levied to pay for upgrades to Bank of America stadium, the Panthers home field.
Bruce Bowers, Ken Koontz, Mike Cozza and Wayne Powers say they will file a new lawsuit on August 29 unless a consent agreement is reached with the City in which it pledges not to break the Open Records law.