A state district judge ruled June 25 that the Bee Cave City Council acted without proper authority when members voted in June 2020 to remove former Council Member Bill Goodwin from office.
State District Judge Lora Livingston issued a ruling from the 353rd district court stating the city charter did not give the council the authority to remove Goodwin.
“Mayor Kara King as well as council members Andrea Willott, Jon Cobb, Andrew Clark and Kevin Hight were without legal authority under the Bee Cave Charter to remove Plaintiff Bill Goodwin,” Livingston stated in her order. “Such removal was void, and all actions taken by the City Council in reliance on Plaintiff Bill Goodwin’s removal from office are likewise void.”
Further, the order states that Goodwin can exercise his rights as a City Council member until his term ends on May 12, 2022.
In an email to the media, Goodwin’s attorney Bill Aleshire stated a separate lawsuit by Goodwin against Council Member Courtney Hohl, who took over Goodwin's seat, is pending before the 3rd Court of Appeals and seeks to rule whether the state district court has jurisdiction to determine if Hohl or Goodwin have title to a seat on the city council.
"With Judge Livingston's ruling, now that the seat was never vacated, that gives us great advantage in the lawsuit against Hohl," Aleshire said in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper.
Aleshire said his client was forced to bring a lawsuit against Hohl when the city declared her the winner of the council seat held by Goodwin.
"I don't know how she's going to react to this decision," he said. "She was told there was a vacancy, and that was wrong."
The Bee Cave City Council voted June 17, 2020 to remove Goodwin from office after a private, executive session. Council voted first to find that Goodwin forfeited his office based on what was stated as violations of the city charter and then voted to remove Goodwin from office.
A June 9, 2020 report issued by the Bee Cave City Council stated that Goodwin violated the charter by “impermissibly giving order to subordinates, and impermissibly pressuring subordinates of the city manager to communicate information to Goodwin before that information was made known to the city manager.”
Hohl was out of state on June 25 and did not have comment at the time of this posting. Community Impact Newspaper requests for comment from legal counsel representing the city were not returned at the time of this posting. Updates will be made as needed.