The Federal civil rights case Betty Wilson & Michael MacMann vs City of Columbia & Mike Matthes is scheduled to proceed to trial in October.
We are raising money to defray out-of-pocket costs for taking depositions, hiring court reporters, and related mandatory court costs. Contributions will not be used to pay our attorney fees. Plaintiffs’ attorneys Jeremy Root, Josh Oxenhandler, and Richard Reuben have taken the case pro bono and will only recover their fees if the Plaintiffs prevail.
We brought suit after the city permitted construction of the Opus student housing development to proceed even after citizens submitted two valid, certified petitions demanding repeal of ordinances approving the project.
Over 5,000 Columbia residents signed the petitions. Many signers were concerned that the high-density housing project would overburden the aging sewer main serving downtown. Manholes along the main already often overflow, sending raw sewage into nearby creeks and onto adjacent recreational trails. When the petitions were submitted, the city itself had conceded that existing downtown infrastructure was inadequate to handle the development.
The city circumvented the first petition by approving a second ordinance identical to the first ordinance. When citizens submitted another petition to repeal the second ordinance, the city issued construction permits to Opus anyway. By its actions, the city undermined the petition process, a civil right granted to citizens by the U.S. Constitution and the city charter. The only recourse available to citizens was to challenge the City's actions through the courts.
If the plaintiffs win, it will mean that CoMo citizens will be granted the opportunity to bring about substantive, meaningful changes to how Columbia's city government conducts itself.
Litigation is a costly process. Please give whatever you can to help us protect the rights of Columbia’s citizens
Sincerely, Repeal 6214 and Central Missouri Citizens Council
(Donations are being managed by Central Missouri Citizens Council, a Missouri-registered non-profit organization assisting Repeal 6214 with fundraising for this case. Contributions are not tax deductible.)