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Attorney who sued city disbarred

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

The State Bar of Texas has disbarred the attorney who filed a mineral takings lawsuit against the city.

Charles Chandler Davis of Argyle appeared before a special disciplinary panel on Sept. 26 and received a judgment of disbarment on Oct. 2, according to documents obtained in an open records request. How that disciplinary action affects the case Davis filed — Arsenal Minerals and Royalty, et. al., v. City of Denton — remains to be seen.

Assistant City Attorney Jerry Drake said city officials only became aware of the disbarment Tuesday and declined to comment further. Davis did not return a call for comment.

In the judgment, the state bar’s District 14-1 evidentiary panel found that Davis “knowingly made a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal” and “engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” The panel also found that Davis brought a frivolous case and took positions that unreasonably increased the costs of a case.

In the judgment, the state bar ordered Davis to surrender his license within 30 days as well as notify his clients and every court where he has matters pending.

Davis, a former Denton district judge, has been disciplined by the state bar before, including being barred from practicing law from 1999 to 2005 after he pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency with a child, records state.

Davis filed the mineral takings lawsuit against the city on Sept. 11 in a Denton district court. The city successfully petitioned to move the case to federal court on Oct. 3.

In the pleadings, Davis claimed that the city should have made a “takings impact assessment” and determined the value of the 487 oil and gas wells in the city’s corporate and extraterritorial limits before adopting moratoriums on new drilling permit applications.

He also called the upcoming proposition election to ban hydraulic fracturing within the Denton city limits a governmental fiat.

Federal court records show a new attorney, John Thomas Haughton of Aubrey, representing the plaintiffs against the city, which include Arsenal Minerals and Royalty, an assumed name registered to Davis and a trust fund for his son, the Chandler Davis Trust; and NASA Energy, a Texas limited liability corporation, based in Lantana and registered to Jerry Pratt.

Haughton did not return a call for comment.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.