- A judge stated that Grande Garbage Collection Company must pay a $1.5 million bond if it wishes to resume waste collection operations in Rio Grande City, TX. This is the latest development in a complex, ongoing fight between Allied Waste Services and the city about local waste collection.
- The city took over collection after Grande was found in contempt earlier this month. City commissioners approved a temporary lease-purchase agreement of the company's equipment.
- Allied had a long-term contract with the city which was terminated over accusations that the company "fraudulently billed more than $150,000 for undelivered services." A hearing is schedule to take place on June 10 in regards to Allied's second motion of contempt against Grande.
This all began last October when city commissioners voted to end Allied's contract. Allied pursued legal action and pointed out that the city's new choice, Grande Garbage, is owned by Mayor Joel Villarreal's former campaign treasurer. The city then countersued, saying a 2014 audit showed that Allied had "fraudulently billed more than $150,000 for undelivered services."
A judge issued an injunction against the city and Grande in February, stating that only Allied was allowed to collect waste. The city appealed. A higher court decided that this didn't apply to the city, but did apply to Grande. City attorneys have argued that this should apply to Grande as well since the company is an agent of the city.
While lawsuits are not uncommon between cities, haulers, and other waste companies, they're never ideal. This one in particular has dragged on for months and likely contributed to inefficiencies in daily collection. The legal proceedings even played a factor in Mayor Villarreal's recent reelection campaign. A timely resolution seems to be in sight, but is far from guaranteed.