City Attorney Dave Feldman resigned his post and will join his sons law firm in January.
Feldman said he made the decision to resign some time ago, but the trial date of Jan. 19 led him to make it effective Jan. 16.
And he says thats not just because he wouldnt be able to testify and represent the city at the same time.
I think its important that whoever the trier of fact is recognizes that Im not up there testifying because Im the city attorney, he said. Im up there testifying because I want to tell the truth.
A coalition of pastors and conservatives is suing the city for not accepting a petition to have a referendum on the ordinance. The suit alleges Feldman unlawfully inserted himself in the process when he invalidated thousands of the submitted signatures.
Council member Michael Kubosh said Feldman is a very intelligent and able lawyer, although, he said, the attorney mishandled the equal rights ordinance lawsuit.
The embarrassment over subpoenaing the ministers sermons was way over the top and his lack of seeing that coming was poor, Kubosh said.
As part of the discovery process, the citys outside counsel had asked for communication, including sermons, of five pastors who were involved in the petition drive. That led to a far-reaching backlash by conservatives and eventually the withdrawal of the subpoenas.
Feldman said if he has any regrets in his almost five years as city attorney, it would be that he didnt review the subpoenas himself.
I would not have personally asked for sermons and that was the word that seemed to so offend everybody because theres a different way to ask for it, he said.
The interim president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, Alvin White, said he is glad to see Feldman go.
He said the union didnt have a good working relationship with the attorney.
Feldman responded that if your opponents are glad that youre gone, its a heck of a compliment.
He will join the law firm of his son Cris, to be named Feldman & Feldman.