Dallas City Council to debate extra $600,000 for legal expenses in poker social-club battle

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: January 3, 2023 4:40 pm EST

The ongoing battle in Dallas, Texas over the legality of the city’s social-poker clubs continues to translate into added legal expense that the city’s taxpayers must bear. In one of the latest twists, according to the Dallas Observer, the Dallas City Council will address the matter and consider authorizing an additional $600,000 in its continuing efforts to revoke the occupancy permits of two Dallas clubs, Texas Card House and Shuffle 214. The city has already allocated $200,000 to cover legal expenses related to the dispute.

The money will be used for two separate requirements that are at cross-purposes with each other, obtaining a court order that upholds Dallas Code Compliance Department Assistant Director Andrew Espinoza’s revocation of the clubs’ certificates of occupancy, while at the same time, defending the city’s Board of Adjustment office, which has twice ruled in favor of the clubs in their efforts to remain in business.

Both clubs have also retained their own legal counsel in a battle that’s likely to stretch well into 2023, and Shuffle 214 is also involved in a separate case over its right to operate. A third Dallas club, Poker House of Dallas, was sued by the city in November and faces similar closure threats. All three clubs remain open per an agreement with city officials, pending final resolution of the matter in the Texas legal system.

According to a recent Observer update, the Dallas City Council initially planned to debate the proposed funds allocation during its December 14, 2022 general hearing, but delayed the matter after a council member requested more information on the licensing conflict. Both sides have presented multiple legal arguments as to why or why not the clubs should be allowed to continue to operate. The latest salvo was in late November, when Espinoza issued his opinion that the city’s Board of Adjustment “abused its discretion and made an illegal decision” when it declined to revoke the clubs’ operating permits.

The Observer update declared that the City Council would debate the issue in January. However, the matter does not appear on the draft agenda for the next scheduled council meeting, on January 11. The topic could still be added to that meeting, or it could be pushed back to another scheduled meeting two weeks later.

Featured image source: Texas Card House Dallas