DALLAS — A lawsuit has halted delivery of $33 million of bonds for San Antonio's VIA Advanced Transportation District that priced Oct. 17.
The bonds had been scheduled for delivery Wednesday, but district officials issued an addendum to the official statement Tuesday announcing that the lawsuit would curtail the deal.
The district did close Wednesday on $39.9 million of bonds backed by farebox revenues that were not affected by the lawsuit. Those bonds were also priced Oct. 17.
The lawsuit filed Friday in Austin by former San Antonio Tea Party president George Rodriguez and George Alejos of the League of United Latin American Citizens claims that bonds for two downtown transit centers will be used ultimately for a streetcar line.
The lawsuit called the bond issue a "surreptitious attempt" to spend transportation district revenues on a VIA streetcar system.
VIA spokesman Charlie Gonzalez called the lawsuit "frivolous" and "baseless."
"We believe we will be able to get it dismissed," he said.
The Via Advanced Transit District was created by Bexar County voters in 2004 with the approval of a quarter-cent sales tax for buses and transit projects. The lawsuit claims that the proposal promised no funding for light rail. Since then, the district has proposed a streetcar line that opponents consider light rail.
What becomes of the deal priced on Oct. 17 is unclear. How long it takes to deal with the lawsuit could affect whether the pricing remains in place or a new offer has to be drafted, a person involved in the deal said.
With ratings of AAA from Standard & Poor's, the bonds drew yields of 4.22% on 5.25% coupons maturing in 2033.
The underwriting team was led by Loop Capital Markets as senior manager, with M.E. Allison & Co., M.R. Beal & Co., SAMCO Capital Markets and Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. as co-managers.
Estrada Hinojosa & Co. and First Southwest Co were financial advisors.
The bonds, with maturities through 2033, were rated triple-A by Standard & Poor's.
About $5 million of the proceeds of the bond sale were earmarked to refund bonds privately placed in 2012 for the same project.