NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE
DALLAS — Despite being defeated at the polls on Tuesday, opponents of the Dallas wet/dry vote told News 8 they will ask a judge to void the election after claiming they've uncovered 5,555 invalid signatures on the petitions that originally put the issue on the ballot.
"This is a major deal because what you've got is the City of Dallas not being truthful and fully transparent in showing you which petition signatures were verified and which ones were not," said Andy Siegel, attorney for the opposition.
Siegel said his clients spent $56,000 to audit the boxes of signatures that put the issue on the ballot. He claims to have uncovered at least 5,500 — and said there might be as many as 13,000 which are invalid.
Siegel told News 8 he plans to file a lawsuit in the next 30 days — perhaps sooner — asking a judge to void the election.
In July, Siegel filed similar legal action using the same merits but it was reportedly rejected by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which cleared the way for November's referendum.
Less than 48 hours after Dallas voters approved alcohol sales county-wide, Jon Alexis, owner of TJ's Seafood Market, began filling out his state application to sell wine.
"We certainly believe that the people have spoken," Alexis said. "If the opponents want to drag it in a legal battle, that's well within their rights. But we're going to keep moving as if the people's voice has been heard."
For 21 years, his market in North Dallas has sold fresh catch from around the world. But, being in a dry area, the store has never been able to sell wine to pair with the fish.
"We're just looking to add another value to our customers so they can make one less trip and go home with a great piece of wild salmon and a great pinot noir to go with it," Alexis said.
Formerly dry areas could start selling alcohol as soon as next month, said Carolyn Beck, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The first permits will be issued to chains and businesses that are "known" to the state and already operate in wet areas. Other applicants, like Jon Alexis, might have to wait longer for their requests to be processed.
Dallas County Commissioners must officially verify the vote before it becomes law.
Alexis said he is still moving forward as if the people have spoken, submitting his application and awaiting a permit -- hoping to receive it in time for the holidays.