Court date set to argue lawsuit filed by aviation community against City

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – UPDATE: On March 25, Caddo District Judge Ramone Lafitte will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed against the chairman of the Shreveport Airport Authority and the City of Shreveport.

The suit, filed Feb. 27, 2020, seeks to void the re-appointment of Jonathan Reynolds to the five-member board, claiming he was illegally appointed in violation of open meetings laws.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include multiple individual members of Shreveport’s aviation community, the Shreveport Airport Hanger Owners Association and several LLCs that do business at Shreveport’s Downtown Airport.

Reynolds was appointed in July 2017 by then Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler to fill the unexpired term of Bishop Lawrence Brandon, who resigned. That term would have expired Feb. 28, 2020.

The lawsuit alleges that Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins and the Shreveport City Council did an end run around the legal avenues set up for political appointments and affirmed Reynolds’ appointment without advertisement or allowing for public input.

The suit claims the Mayor’s office slipped Reynolds’ re-appointment into the Jan. 14 agenda of the Shreveport City Council, just one day prior to the meeting, in violation of the state’s open meetings law, as well as the City of Shreveport’s rules that require appointments by the mayor are furnished to the City Council in writing at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

The intention of the rules is to encourage public input, which is why the plaintiffs believe the City allegedly tried to circumvent normal procedures was to avoid public comment. Acknowledging an ongoing contentious relationship with the SAA board over lease terms and conditions at the Shreveport airports, the lawsuit claims Reynolds, “displayed a  particularly adversary attitude toward the tenants, often clashing with them.”

In addition to Reynolds’ ouster, the lawsuit asks for an injunction to stop Shreveport from appointing Reynolds or anybody else “in a secretive, clandestine manner, in violation of law, in order to permit his reappointment without the opportunity for public comment.”

The lawsuit has been assigned to Caddo District Judge Ramone Lafitte, but as yet, a hearing date has not been scheduled.

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