Kendleton mayor expected to face judge for not abiding by open records request regarding water bill

Lileana Pearson Image
Friday, March 10, 2023
RV park owner denied an open request on price hike increase
The Lazy K RV Park owner saw a nearly $600 price increase in his water bill. After learning that a city ordinance approved the price hike, he went to ask but was left empty-handed.

KENDLETON, Texas (KTRK) -- Across from the train tracks in Kendleton sits the Lazy K RV Park, which has surprised its residents after a massive hike in their water bill.

"I had been paying the same amount for seven years, which is about $100 a month, and went to $700 a month," RV park owner Todd Deucet said.

Deucet said the mayor's office told him a city ordinance allowed the price hike, so he made an open record request, but Deucet was left empty-handed.

The Texas Public Information Act, or PIA, says a governing body must turn over records requested to the public or send the request to the attorney general's office for further review within 10 business days.

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If the review is required, it must be sent to the AG, and the person requesting the information must be notified, but that never happened.

The mayor's office tells ABC13 it's because they've never had to navigate the system before.

"This is something that I, as mayor, have never been faced with all these open records. I was making sure from the beginning to get with the attorneys to make sure I was giving the right information. Once we were able to understand the process, we were prepared to move forward," Mayor Darryl Humphry said.

But Deucet says that's a bad excuse.

"You're telling me I'm the only person to ever ask for information from the city? I don't think so," Deucet said.

Because of the failure to turn over records, Kendleton Mayor Darryl Humphrey is now set to face a judge on March 16.

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Deucet also told ABC13 he's still waiting on documents. The mayor's office said they are working with Deucet's attorney to get any lingering documents sent.

"Any information that was being requested to the best of our knowledge, all that pertinent information has been turned over," Humphrey's lawyer, Wilvin Carter, said.

ABC13 put in a request with the Kendleton mayor's office for the ordinance that's supposedly in the middle of the situation, allowing the price hike. It's a document Deucet said he still doesn't have.

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