TAPS Public Transit will soon settle more of its legal obligations.
The TAPS board of directors recently voted to authorize its legal council to start settlement negotiations with the Texas Municipal League’s Intergovernmental Employee Benefits pool. In recent months, the transit provider has settled other pending litigation against it, including another case related to the Texas Municipal League.
The motion was made following a closed, executive session where the board was scheduled to discuss “pending litigation” with an attorney. Assistant District Attorney Craig Price, who represents the board, was not present at the meeting but left notes for the meeting.
The board gave no discussion on the item in open session leading up to the vote.
“Mr. Chairman, I make a motion to authorize our attorneys to enter into negotiations to settle a dispute with Texas Municipal League’s Intergovernmental Employee Benefits Pool concerning the full release of liability,” TAPS board member H. L. Compton, who represents the city of Bonham, said.
Following the meeting, TAPS Vice Chairman Bill Magers said that there was pending litigation between TAPS and TML, but gave no details on what the case involved. In late February, the board voted to settle a case between TAPS and TML Intergovernmental Risk Pool. At the time of the settlement, TAPS officials declined to comment on the details of the settlement.
Transdev General Manager Josh Walker said the risk pool was related to insurance matters.
In January, TAPS made the first in its recent line of settlements when it accepted agreements from former management provider First Transit and Conway Company CPA. Calls to First Transit for comment were not returned and representatives for Conway Company said it had no comment.
In 2016, First Transit filed a lawsuit in which it sought payment for $1.12 million of management service fees that were not paid. In response to the default to its service agreement, TAPS issued a promissory note for the debt that would be paid off in installments in 2016.
However, in the lawsuit First Transit said TAPS missed the first two payments, triggering a clause in the agreement that allowed First Transit to make the entire balance due effective immediately.
With the January agreement, TAPS officials said the agency is finally overcoming some long-lasting hurdles that have prevented it from moving forward following a financial crisis in 2015. These difficulties culminated in the departure of former CEO Brad Underwood, the elimination of TAPS on-demand services and reduction in service area, and millions of dollars in debt to the IRS, local vendors and other parties.
“It is one more step forward toward financial recovery and wholeness,” Magers said in January. “It is an important step, but we still have hurdles remaining.”