City of Amarillo wins lawsuit against Tent City property owner


On Tuesday, Judge Richard Dambold ruled in favor of the City of Amarillo in its lawsuit against Tent City property owner Melvin McEwen. According to court documents, McEwen failed to show up for the court hearing.

Judge Dambold ordered McEwen to pay all of the City of Amarillo's court costs associated with the filing of the lawsuit. The judge also ruled that McEwen can not allow the Christ Church Camp of New Beginnings aka Tent City to return to his property located at 109 S. Washington Street.

“It was an appropriate finding.

"We don’t know what the amount is. The dollar amount remains to be seen.

"I think the litigation is done, but an appeal is possible. As far as I know, the litigation is now done," Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller said.

Several attempts to contact McEwen about the ruling were unsuccessful.

Records show that the Amarillo Police Department responded to numerous calls to the Tent City camp while it was in operation. Incidents at the former camp from Nov. 17, 2017 to Feb. 15, 2018 included assaults, disorderly conduct and fights, a fire, suspicious activity, and trespassing.

The City of Amarillo alleged in the lawsuit:

Structures on the property have been erected without permits, in violation of Amarillo Municipal Code Section 4-10-82

Tents and temporary shelters are maintained on the property in violation of Amarillo Municipal Code Section 4-10-82 and 4-10-83 (56a)

The camp contains improper devices that are used for recreational fire and unattended fire in violation of Amarillo Municipal Code Section 10-2-16 and the International Fire Code Section 307

The camp has not met and does not meet minimum standards for sanitation and health protection measures mandated by Texas Health & Safety Code, Chapter 341.

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