Thrash dismissed claims that the city had illegally cut off the controversial shelter's water service; had defamed the Task Force in the press; had conspired to rob the nonprofit of its revenue by declining to recommend it for state and federal grants; and had improperly interfered with the Task Force's ability to solicit private donations.
Oh, and you guys also owe the city $147,000 in overdue water bills, Thrash told Task Force executive director Anita Beaty.
The judge's order is filled with legalese (big surprise), but here's the money quote:
The intentional interference with business and contractual relations alleged by the Task Force, even if true, were not performed for “business purposes, and for [the City’s] own advantage or profit.” At most, the Task Force can only show that the City of Atlanta and its officers intentionally interfered with the Task Force’s business relationships because they did not approve of the Task Force’s operation of the homeless shelter and its impact on the City.
In other words, there's no law against thinking you guys do a lousy job — and saying so.
As for the state and federal grants, the Task Force claimed the city improperly removed its name from the list of nonprofits entitled to get public funding. Wrong, Thrash said:
The Task Force was a mere applicant for a benefit, dependent on the approval of both the City of Atlanta and the Department of Community Affairs. … The Task Force cannot claim it is entitled to a benefit that can be lawfully withheld.
And, finally, about that unpaid water bill:
The City has the right to terminate service when a customer fails to pay for services rendered. Moreover, the City’s Code requires the termination of services due to non-payment.
Could Beaty and crew appeal? Sure, you can appeal almost any ruling, but this was not what you'd call a narrow defeat or a close call. This was an unqualified trouncing in which the judge effectively said
the Task Force's case didn't even merit a trial.
Now, the big question is, does this mean the city can throw the shelter out of its longtime home? Honestly, I don't know yet. The Task Force still has a lawsuit fighting eviction by building owner Manny Fialkow. The Fulton County Superior Court judge in that case seems much more sympathetic to Beaty's claims, which largely echo the complaints made in the federal lawsuit. But now that another judge far above his pay grade has dismissed many of the same arguments, I wouldn't be surprised if the Fulton case took a turn not in the Task Force's favor.
lol looks like broch recently renewed his library card
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