Legal dispute within Cameron county continues

The dispute between the Cameron County Commissioners' Court and the District Attorney's office over a lawsuit escalated Monday morning.

During a special meeting, the county commissioners voted unanimously to hire three new law firms to represent them, instead of using the services of District and County Attorney Armando Villalobos.

"The first two firms, which are a firm out of Austin and a local firm, will represent the Cameron County commissioners with this litigation," County Judge Carlos Cascos said.

He added the third firm would be on stand by for any legal matters the commissioners discuss during meetings.

However, Assistant District Attorney Chuck Mattingly said he felt that was unnecessary and will end up costing the taxpayer.

"I think it's going to be a great cost to the county and I think it TMs needless," he said.

But County Judge Cascos disagreed saying that none of these attorneys are on retainer.

They're all billing by the hour so there will not be any duplication of efforts," he said.

An end to the conflict could come as early as Friday.

A hearing is scheduled to either grant or dismiss the restraining order, which would transfer legal matters from the commissioners to the attorney.

However, the hearing could be moved to another date as Friday is also New Year TMs Day, a recognized federal holiday.

The conflict between the two sides stems from a restraining order placed by Villalobos against the commissioners for alleged usurpation of duties.

"As the County Attorney Mr.. Villalobos is responsible for advising the commissioners TM court and the county judge, and other county officials in matters of the law," Mattingly said.

But commissioners disagree.

"We believe strongly that the commissioners court like any other commission in the state of Texas not just Cameron County, has the fundamental right of employing and hiring their own attorneys," County Judge Cascos added.