Grigsby, Shreveport end litigation against each other

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A long-running dispute over bond issuance fees between Shreveport, Louisiana, and the city’s former financial advisor, Calvin Grigsby, is over.

Grigsby and the city agreed to settle all litigation just days before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was set to hear oral arguments Feb. 8 in Grigsby’s racial discrimination suit against Shreveport.

The settlements end Grigsby’s federal case, as well as a suit Shreveport filed in the First Judicial District Court in Caddo Parish in February 2014 attempting to claw back $53,450 in bond issuance fees the city alleged that Grigsby was overpaid.

“The parties reached an amicable settlement of these cases,” Grigsby said in an email.

Terms of the settlements were not disclosed.

The city declined to comment on the settlements, said City Attorney Mekisha Smith Creal.

The legal dispute between the city and Grigsby began in 2011 after Grigsby was paid a total of $166,887 for financial advisory work on the sale of $81.5 million of general obligation bonds. The fees were also approved by the State Bond Commission.

The City Council later conducted an investigation and alleged that Grigsby was overpaid, passing ordinances to reverse a portion of the approved payment.

“The city has withdrawn those allegations,” Grigsby told The Bond Buyer.

Each party agreed to bear their own costs to dismiss the federal suit, which means it cannot be refiled at a later date, according to a joint motion filed with the appellate court Jan. 28. The motion only said the two parties reached a compromise.

The court on Jan. 29 granted the joint stipulation to dismiss the appeal.

A similar joint motion was filed in the First Judicial District Court in Caddo Parish, ending the city's lawsuit.

The city council members named in Grigsby’s federal complaint are no longer on the council.

Grigsby, who is also an attorney, filed the federal suit against the Shreveport City Council and its attorneys in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in July 2014.

Grigsby contended that city officials conspired to terminate his financial advisory contract and destroy his business, at the time Grigsby & Associates, by using city money “to make false and wantonly malicious statements” about his performance.

Grigsby had also asked the federal court to rule that five ordinances adopted by the City Council violated the U.S. Constitution “because the ordinances infringe on the fundamental right of African-American financial advisors to receive equal treatment and hiring by the city.”

Federal Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. in February 2018 granted Shreveport’s motion to dismiss the case, and ruled that Grigsby & Associates failed to state claims for which relief could be granted on counts alleging breach of contract, fraud, violations of Louisiana’s unfair trade practice laws, defamation and malicious prosecution.

Grigsby filed an appeal of Hicks’ ruling in March 2018, which was pending when the settlement was reached.

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