SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – A pre-trial hearing in connection to a lawsuit filed against the Queensborough Neighborhood Association and its board of directors was over in Caddo District Court Tuesday morning before it began, with both sides claiming victory in a last-minute settlement.
Attorney John Settle filed the suit May 12 on behalf of Queensborough resident and former QNA employee Bobbie Bowers. Bowers already has a civil suit pending against the board for payment of wages. Settle says the latest suit was filed out of concern the board did not properly monitor May. The suit claimed several members of the QNA board are serving beyond their term limits.
The hearing was supposed to address the status of a Temporary Restraining Order that was requested by Settle and granted by Caddo District Court Judge Ramon Lafitte. The TRO prevented the QNA from engaging in any new business, including hiring, firing, establishing new programs and conducting an audit, as the board had announced plans to do shortly after former Executive Director Lola May's resignation in early May.
Settle tells KSLA News 12 that 15 witnesses had been subpoenaed for this hearing, including the May and the entire board. May was to be called first to the stand, but moments into the hearing, Larry English, the attorney representing the QNA and its board approached the bench along with Settle, and a recess was called instead. 45 minutes later, the entire board and Bowers were called out into the hallway. Moments later, all returned and a settlement agreement was announced.
The board has set an annual meeting for August 5 to elect a new board of directors and officers. "I told y'all that this was a frivolous lawsuit and it would not hold up," said QNA attorney Larry English shortly after the settlement was announced. "We did what we said we were gonna do anyway and that was to hold the annual meeting and that was the end of it."
English, on behalf of the QNA, also agreed to provide a list of current members. Settle says he agreed to drop the TRO in exchange for that information, along with those that are expected to be members by the time the annual meeting is held. Still of particular concern, Settle says, is how members are elected. He's particularly interested in whether members of the association are residents of the neighborhood. While non-residents can be elected to the board, Settle says the by-laws regarding qualifications for being elected officers are unclear. Instead, he claims, several members of the current board are non-residents who were elected to the board arbitrarily, based on friendships and connections with May.
While the suit has been dropped, Settle says he'll be watching, and is prepared to file another suit if he finds the board is not complying with the terms of the settlement. "I'm gonna monitor until that annual meeting, if they do outlandish things, to make sure they provide us a list of members who don't live in Queensborough, so that Bobbie and her neighbors will have a chance to effectively lobby to have a new board."
©2010 KSLA-TV. All rights reserved.