Transit group wants another hearing on law firm in Chevy Chase -- Gazette.Net







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The Action Committee for Transit wants the town of Chevy Chase to hold another public hearing before deciding whether to hire a law firm to oppose some elements of the Purple Line, the $2.2 billion light rail project the group supports.

The Town Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to “engage a law firm and/or lobbying firm to assist in responding to the proposed Purple Line project,” according to an agenda for the meeting.

The council is expected to consider whether to give a law firm an 18-month, $360,000 contract to oppose some aspects of the Purple Line, such as light rail tracks planned to run behind some houses in the town, The Gazette reported last month.

The town has been working with the law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney for two months, but also is looking at Dickstein and Shapiro, another law firm, for the contract.

The pro-Purple Line group wants the town to hold another public hearing before deciding, according to a news release from the organization. Residents learned that the firm would be participating in lobbying activities only after a Jan. 8 public hearing, the release said.

The group recently filed a public information request for the contract, invoices and correspondence between the town and Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney. Ben Ross, a nonvoting board member and former president of the Action Committee for Transit, said the group wants to determine whether the law firm is lobbying Congress on behalf of the town, The Gazette reported.

The group says it also has filed an Open Meetings Act complaint related to the town’s hiring of the law firm.

The Town Council is scheduled to meet in closed session at the start of Wednesday’s meeting to discuss potential Purple Line litigation, an open meetings act complaint and a Public Information Act request.

The council is scheduled to meet in open session beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday.