Texas newspaper files lawsuit claiming Farenthold was hired as lobbyist illegally
© Greg Nash

A Texas newspaper filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming a local port authority illegally hired former Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdAP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups Republican wins right to replace Farenthold in Congress MORE (R-Texas) as a lobbyist.

The Victoria Advocate argued in its lawsuit that the Calhoun Port Authority violated the state’s open meetings laws earlier this month when it hired Farenthold, who resigned from Congress this year amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

The suit alleges that the port authority did not provide proper public notice that it intended to discuss the hiring of Farenthold as a lobbyist during a May 9 meeting. The authority indicated on its agenda that it intended to deliberate a hiring matter in a closed session, but did not mention Farenthold’s name, the position or compensation.

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Farenthold said last week he'd landed a job with the port authority, where his annual salary will be $160,000.

The Advocate argued that the authority did not provide sufficient notice of the hiring given the public interest in Farenthold. 

“The discussions between the Board and its chief executive regarding Mr. Farenthold’s hire were a matter of public concern, and Texas law required that more specific notice be given to the public,” the newspaper argued. 

If the court sides with the newspaper, Farenthold’s hiring would be reversed. 

The authority could attempt to re-hire the ex-congressman, but would have to disclose that during a public meeting.

The port is located in Calhoun County in the district Farenthold previously represented.

Farenthold resigned last month after previously announcing he would not seek reelection following reports he used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim from a staffer.

He recently said he does not plan to repay the money, despite earlier pledges to do so.