Injunction requested against city

WEIRTON – Tri-State Medical Group, Ocean-Air International Inc. and another local business have filed a request for an injunction against the city in an attempt to stop or postpone the special Weirton City Council meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to City Attorney Vince Gurrera.

The second reading of an ordinance that would enact new categories of the business and occupation tax was expected to take place at the meeting. The ordinance passed the first reading by a vote of 3 to 2 with one abstention.

The Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce has been outspoken about its opposition to the tax. J.J. Bernabei, owner of Tri-State Medical Group, and Rick Starck, owner of Ocean-Air, are both members who were in attendance at the Chamber’s press conference on the topic June 19. Neither could be reached for comment this morning.

The businesses will be represented by attorneys with Frankovitch, Anetakis, Colantonio and Simon.

The injunction request alleges that a majority of City Council met to discuss the proposed tax privately, according to Gurrera. Normally, with seven council seats, a gathering of four or more council members is considered a quorum, which must be open to the public to avoid violation of Sunshine Laws. Weirton Council currently has six of its seven council seats filled following the resignation of Ronnie Jones as Ward 1 councilman.

The injunction also claims that City Council was in violation of Robert’s Rules of Order when it scheduled two special council meetings in a row.

A hearing will be scheduled sometime today or Friday, Gurrera said.