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Appeals court tosses Brimer’s suit

Three strikes, he’s out!

The 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas has rejected the lawsuit by state Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth, who was appealing a lower court ruling that former Fort Worth City Councilwoman Wendy Davis is eligible to challenge him on the November ballot.

A panel of three justices hinted during oral arguments last week that they were reluctant to overturn the ruling by state District Judge Tom Lowe in Fort Worth, who ruled in July that Davis is an eligible candidate. Brimer appealed Lowe’s ruling.

But the appeals court in Dallas today upheld Lowe’s ruling, saying in its opinion that “Brimer’s only legally recognized interest in pursuing this appeal is to avoid being opposed by an ineligible candidate.”

“Even if Davis is ineligible to hold office — an issue we do not reach in this appeal — her name will be included on the November 4, 2008 general election ballot in opposition to Brimer. We cannot, at this point, change that outcome and, therefore, this appeal is moot,” the justices wrote.

You can read the ruling here. I’m not a lawyer, but my interpretation of this is that ad Brimer filed his suit prior to the deadline for removing a candidate’s name from the ballot, he might have stood a chance. He probably still would have lost – it seems clear that the court wasn’t going to rule Davis ineligible anyway – but at least it wouldn’t have been a moot issue. That’s what you get for procrastinating, Senator.

He could still appeal to the Supreme Court, assuming that they can get their act together in time before Election Day. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll consider running a campaign instead. A press release from the Davis campaign is beneath the fold.

UPDATE: North Texas Liberal has a timeline of events in the case.

UPDATE: Burka weighs in.

The Wendy Davis Campaign called on Senator Kim Brimer today to stop using legal challenges to hide his history of trying to force taxpayers to pick up the tab for personal bank loans he refused to repay.

Brimer was denied by the 5th Court of Appeals in his second attempt to use the courts to avoid a competitive campaign that would shed light on his 20-year record of ethical lapses and self-dealing.

Davis campaign spokesman Bernie Scheffler pointed out that the second ruling in favor of Davis’ eligibility would place some pressure on Brimer to answer to questions about his past attempt to use taxpayers to bail him out of personal loans that he refused to pay. Scheffler outlined Brimer’s methodical plan to game the system and get relieved of his debt:

  • Brimer refused to repay multiple loans, resulting in lawsuits and a judgment against him saying he had to pay his debts
  • One of the banks that Brimer refused to pay failed, and his loan was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Even though he owned a successful insurance company and drew a government salary, Brimer told the FDIC he could not afford to pay back the $24,000 loan, forcing his personal debt onto taxpayers
  • During the same time period Brimer was refusing to pay his debts, he wrote himself nearly $50,000 in checks from his campaign account, including $25,000 just 60 days after telling the FDIC he couldn’t afford to pay them

“Kim Brimer took deliberate steps to avoid paying his personal debt and to force it onto the back of taxpayers. Tarrant County families who are feeling the effects of the economic downturn are having enough trouble paying their own debts – they shouldn’t be forced to pay Brimer’s debts too,” Scheffler said.

Political observers around the state have called the contest between Brimer and popular former Fort Worth City Council member Wendy Davis “the race to watch.” Davis welcomed today’s ruling and expressed a strong desire to continue the campaign that Kim Brimer has worked so hard to avoid.

“I am very pleased with the Court’s decision today, and I look forward to continuing my conversation with Tarrant County families about the issues they are facing. What I’m offering voters is a representative who will bring real change to the way Austin does business,” Davis said.

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