Ocean Springs moves forward with push for payback from Mississip - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Ocean Springs moves forward with push for payback from Mississippi Rising

Mississippi Rising alleged that by flying the state flag with the Confederate emblem, Ocean Springs discriminates against its citizens and violates the Fair Housing Act. (Photo source: WLOX) Mississippi Rising alleged that by flying the state flag with the Confederate emblem, Ocean Springs discriminates against its citizens and violates the Fair Housing Act. (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

From the day it was filed, Ocean Springs city leaders called a recent lawsuit filed over the state flag "frivolous." Now they're taking action to get back the money they spent on legal bills.

During a meeting Friday, the Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen voted during executive session to move forward with filing a claim to ask a judge to order Mississippi Rising to pay the city's legal bills.

The lawsuit at the center of this debate was thrown out by a federal judge Tuesday. The group  Mississippi Rising had argued that by flying the state flag with the Confederate emblem, Ocean Springs discriminates against its citizens and violates the Fair Housing Act.

"This group knowingly filed a frivolous lawsuit. They knew it wasn't going to go anywhere from the very beginning, and they did that in order to bully the residents of this town to pay for a publicity stunt," said Dobson.

Two separate motions were filed Friday afternoon. One is for sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The other is being filed under the Mississippi Litigation Accountability Act and under Chapter 42, Section 1988 of the United States Code.  Only Alderman Authement voted against the action.

Mississippi Rising Coalition President Lea Campbell was at the meeting to find out more about the board's next move. She said her group stands by their decision to file the lawsuit.

"All we're asking for is for the flag to come down. It's as simple as that," said Campbell. "The mayor and board of aldermen are on the side of the Klan and white supremacists who have distributed flyers in the dead of night throughout our city."

Dobson said the finger should be pointed at Mississippi Rising, calling the group "instigators."

"It's not because of the flag," Dobson said, "The flag has always flown in Ocean Springs. Always. The only thing that's changed is an extremist group wants to run around, play identity politics and stir the pot."

As far as how much money the city is hoping to recoup, officials wouldn't name an exact dollar amount but said it was more than $7,000. They're leaving the request open-ended because the Plaintiffs could still appeal, and the city wants to recoup all fees until termination of the suit. 

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