The Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild wrote to City Council members today urging them to vote against the reappointment of City Attorney Susan Segal, who authored the controversial legal opinion that paved the way for the approval of the Vikings stadium.
Segal was nominated by Mayor Betsy Hodges – who opposed the stadium in 2012 as a council member – to stay on in her position, a move that will require approval by the council this month. Seven of the council’s members are new and did not vote on the project, while the remaining six are evenly split in opponents and supporters.
The legal opinion claimed that raising $150 million through a sales tax increase did not conflict with a provision in the Minneapolis charter requiring a voter referendum on stadium funding over $10 million. That “reasoning seemed patently absurd and politically motivated to many at the time,” the guild wrote, adding that Hennepin County Judge Phillip Bush also rejected that rationale when ruling in November on a court challenge of the project.
Additionally, the guild said Segal had used her office to restrict access to public data about abuses by the police department, and pursued prosecutions that were “unreasonably harsh” on political activists, including Occupy protesters.
“We are convinced that a search process can identify eminently qualified candidates who will represent the city’s interests, while ensuring that politics do not shape legal advice, that the public has robust access to data … and that the prosecution policies of the City Attorney are not used to curb dissent,” the attorneys concluded.
Segal was not available for comment.
Read the full letter below: