Today Judge Patrick Garcia of the 384th Judicial District Court of El Paso County signed the attached order ending my lawsuit against the City of El Paso.

On January 3 of this year, our City Council voted to abandon Duranguito as the site of a multipurpose sports arena—a disastrous project driven by local developers and their political allies that employed eminent domain, displaced more than three dozen people, and would have gone more than $300 million over budget.

I agreed to end my litigation when the City signed a Rule 11 Agreement, withdrawing the archeological permit issued by the Texas Historical Commission under Permit No. 8525. That permit would have allowed the City to demolish the buildings within the “Arena Footprint.”

I hired Frank Ainsa as my lead attorney in October 2016, nearly seven years ago, and the City began litigation on May 2, 2017. The legal battle spread into numerous courtrooms across Texas, including the Texas Supreme Court and four District Courts of Appeal.

The arena issue cost the careers of numerous City politicians and staff, who fought in vain for a boondoggle that was doomed from the start.

Now that the war is over, the City must support establishing a National Register Historic District in Downtown El Paso so that the historic buildings of Duranguito will be eligible for generous federal and state tax credits. Only then can the buildings be sold to investors who will restore them and put them back into productive use.

In tandem with their commitment to signing a Rule 11 Agreement, the City agreed to reopen Chihuahua Street and push back the fencing to the adjacent sidewalks, reestablishing a right of way dating to the Plat of 1859.

I look forward to seeing that happen expeditiously and trust that Interim City Manager Westin will get it done.


I wish to thank, with all my heart, my dear friend J. P. Bryan for financing the litigation. He is an extraordinary man and we are fortunate to have such a committed advocate for historic preservation on our side. Thanks also to the many others who contributed to the litigation cost.

I wish to thank Romelia Mendoza and her daughter Soledad, and Tonita Morales for their courage and determination as their neighborhood was threatened with destruction.

I wish to thank the members of my legal team for their exceptional work: Frank S. Ainsa, Jr., Carlos Cardenas, Harriet O’Neill, Lisa Bowlin Hobbs, Eduardo Cadena, Wallace Jefferson, and Chantel Crews.

I want to thank Dr. David Dorado Romo and those members of Paso del Sur who worked hard to protect Duranguito, especially during the early phase of the crisis, when they jumped atop the bulldozers and faced off against scores of riot police, and then watched over the neighborhood day and night to prevent more displacement and destruction.

I wish to thank Carmen Rodriguez, Veronica Carbajal, and the other attorneys of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid for their litigation effort and for protecting the interests of the Duranguito residents.

I wish to thank all the honorable judges who ruled in my favor at critical moments during the litigation, staying up late to sign emergency orders, and thoughtfully articulating their opinions before issuing their rulings.

I wish to thank City Rep. Alexsandra Annello, who supported us when no one else on City Council would, as well as Reps. Brian Kennedy, Joe Molinar, Art Fierro, Chris Canales, and Mayor Leeser.

I thank Commissioner David Stout, Texas Sen. Jose Rodriguez, and New Mexico Sen. Patricia Roybal Caballero, who were among the loudest political voices of support outside of City government.

Many thanks to Dr. Miguel Juarez and the members of his Facebook page “Save the Union Plaza Neighborhood.”

I thank the Native American Nations who came to Duranguito and affirmed their presence on land that had originally belonged to the Mansos and then the Mescalero Apaches.

I thank the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Texas, the Texas State Historical Association, the El Paso County Historical Commission, the El Paso County Historical Society, the Historic Landmark Commission and City Plan Commission of the City, and all the other historical and cultural organizations whose Boards sent us letters of support.

I thank all those anchors, news directors, editors, and reporters in our media who spent many thousands of hours covering the Duranguito crisis and informing the public at every stage.

I thank those leaders in the Libertarian, Republican and Democratic parties who stood up to support us publicly.

I thank the Chinese community of El Paso for fiercely advocating for saving the Chinese Laundry at 212. W. Overland.

I thank the many thousands of individuals who attended City Council meetings, wrote letters to newspapers, and lent their time and effort to safeguarding Duranguito.

I thank my family for their support, especially my New York mother, who told me today to never do this again!

I thank Gabriela and Bella, my two loves.

And I thank most of all my God, the omnipotent Master of all things on earth and in heaven.

I am but one person in a huge community effort that resulted in the preservation of a neighborhood that tells the story of El Paso from its Indigenous origins through the era of the Mexican Revolution.

It is now up to our City Council to ensure that Duranguito survives for posterity.


Max Grossman

PHOTO CREDIT: Aaron Montes, El Paso Inc, September 12, 2017.