Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed a petition in Travis County District Court against the City of San Antonio as part of his office’s investigation into the city’s exclusion of Chick-fil-A from an airport concession contract. The petition seeks to compel San Antonio to hand over documents deemed public under state law.
Chick-fil-A’s leadership is well-known for their personal belief in the Christian faith and traditional understanding of marriage. Members of the City Council who spearheaded the decision to exclude Chick-fil-A did not attempt to hide their discriminatory motives: one branded the company out of line with “our core values as a city.” Yet another council member denounced Chick-fil-A as a “symbol of hate.”
The Public Information Act ensures that “the people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.” Nevertheless, the City of San Antonio has refused to comply with the Office of the Attorney General’s investigation, instead claiming an exemption to disclosure.
“The City of San Antonio claims that it can hide documents because it anticipates being sued,” Attorney General Paxton said. “But we’ve simply opened an investigation using the Public Information Act. If a mere investigation is enough to excuse the City of San Antonio from its obligation to be transparent with the people of Texas, then the Public Information Act is a dead letter. The city’s extreme position only highlights its fear about allowing any sunshine on the religious bigotry that animated its decision.”
On March 28, Attorney General Paxton sent a letter to Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the San Antonio City Council informing them of his investigation. He also sent a letter urging the Department of Transportation to conduct its own inquiry, which is currently ongoing.
View a copy of the petition here.