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AG Paxton launches investigation into San Antonio council decision to bar Chick-fil-A from airport

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday his office is opening an investigation into the San Antonio city council’s decision to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport last week.

Paxton sent the following letter to San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg informing him of the investigation:

“The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-filA’s chicken. Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport. Please see the enclosed letter from my office to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao highlighting my concerns that the City’s recent action to remove Chick-fil-A from the City’s new airport concessionaire contract may violate federal law and applicable federal regulations. You should also note that I have directed my office to open an investigation into whether the City’s action violates state law. I trust the City will fully cooperate with my investigation into this matter, and will abide by relevant federal and state laws in the future.”

Paxton also sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao requesting the investigation, specifically raising a concern that the city council may have breached federal law and the transportation department’s regulations prohibiting religious discrimination by federal grant recipients.

Both letters can be seen here.

“The City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude a respected vendor based on the religious beliefs associated with that company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The city’s discriminatory decision is not only out of step with Texas values, but inconsistent with the Constitution and Texas law.”

Councilman Greg Brockhouse, who is challenging Nirenberg in the May 4th municipal election, called for the city council to immediately reconvene to consider revoking last week’s vote and moving forward with the contract as originally proposed by city staff, which included Chick-fil-A.

“The City’s Attorney’s Office is reviewing the letter,” the mayor told KTSA News in a statement.  “I am withholding comment until we have had adequate time to analyze it.”

Story has been updated to include statement from the mayor’s office.

Nirenberg defends council decision on blocking Chick-fil-A from airport; company responds

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