Hecht to File Lawsuit

By: Brian Dorman Email
By: Brian Dorman Email

Shawnee County District attorney Robert Hecht indicated Friday that he plans to act on the City’s refusal to stop a deal to buy a new police helicopter.

In January, Hecht advised the City the procedure the City Council used to approve the deal was not valid. He asked the City to provide legal argument why a civil lawsuit to stop the deal was not warranted.

Acting City Attorney Braxton Copley responded to Hecht his opinion that the helicopter deal was valid.

The City Council on Tuesday turned down an attempt by councilman Bill Haynes to stop the deal.

Hecht sent a letter to 13 News Friday morning, saying his original opinion stands, “This office will move as quickly as prudent to fulfill our professional responsibilities and obligations to the law and Topeka’s citizens.” In an interview Friday afternoon, he explained that means he is preparing the paperwork to file suit to stop the helicopter purchase.

Hecht says his decision is not about whether or not the city should purchase the helicopter. Instead, he says it's about ensuring city government acts according to state law. He says Copley failed to present legal evidence convincing him the action was valid. Hecht says it will take several days to prepare the filing.

City Spokesperson David Bevens released a statement Friday, saying the city stands by Copley's earlier opinion.

Deputy Mayor Brett Blackburn, who sponsored the communication authorizing City Manager Norton Bonaparte to enter into a lease-purchase agreement for the helicopter, declined to comment Friday, saying he hadn't seen Hecht's statement.

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