Dallas To Pay $650,000 For Banning Porn Convention

Courthouse News reports:

The Dallas City Council approved a $650,000 settlement Wednesday of a free-speech lawsuit filed by a pornography convention organizer that was kicked out the city-owned convention center three years ago on moral grounds.

The 15-member council unanimously approved the settlement without debate. Interim City Attorney Christopher J. Caso told the council before the vote that “it is in the best interest of the city to settle” the lawsuit, according to the meeting agenda.

His office warned the council three years ago before it voted to ban Exxxotica and reject the show’s lease that the First Amendment allowed the organizer to use the public facility and that Dallas’ sexually oriented business ordinance did not apply because Exxxotica was a temporary event, not a fixed business.

The Dallas Observer reports:

During council discussion of the Exxxotica ban, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and council members who supported the ban repeatedly pointed to the deleterious effects of pornography on society as the reason to keep Exxxotica out.

Adam McGough, for example, called pornography lethal and “a lie.” It was clear that council support for the ordinance was not, as the city’s attorneys would later argue, “based on conduct and the best business interest of the convention center.”

Between the settlement and legal fees, Dallas ended up shelling out more than $1 million to keep Exxxotica out of downtown for a little over three years. Whether the convention comes back to the city is up in the air.