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City Attorney Michael Bernard Defends Practice Of City Hall Bans

Office of the City Attorney

San Antonio City Attorney Michael Bernard is standing by the ban he’s placed on John Foddrill and Michael Cuellar. The two are not allowed to go to City Hall or attend city council meetings. 

Foddrill and Cuellar are two former San Antonio city employees who were both fired from their posts; both men claim they have found evidence of waste in the city government.

They are more than city council gadflys, they are irritants and pests to city officials, and both have been warned that if they ever step into City Hall or the city council chambers they will be arrested.

Foddrill explained his situation on KSTX's "The Source" on Wednesday of this week:

“Two policemen came to my house and hand delivered a criminal trespass warning saying under threat of arrest I was not allowed in City Hall, city council meetings and some other buildings inside the city. I asked them why. They could provide no reason why or any recourse or any hearing. I could get no information at all. They just said we are supposed to deliver this to you.”    

Bernard defended the practice that the city uses to ban residents from city buildings, and in particular, City Hall.

"It’s a very rare event that it happens," he said. "We have issued criminal trespass warnings banning people from city facilities unless they have an appointment or business here."

Bernard said the city is following the law in banning people he says are dangerous and or harassing city employees, and that no independent oversight, means of appeal or open process is needed to ensure that the banning fate isn’t abused by city officials.

“That’s not just part of the criminal trespass law. There are places for that. There are opportunities for that – if that’s what’s necessary – but so far it isn’t," said Bernard of the need for some kind of oversight on the process.

  • The full interview with City Attorney Bernard will air next Wednesday at 12:30 on "The Source" along with additional follow-up interviews.
David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi