Watchdog Group Adds County to Lawsuit

Watchdog Group Adds County to Lawsuit

Judicial Watch, a public interest group based in Washington, D.C., added Fairfax County to its existing lawsuit against the Town of Herndon to stop the creation of formal day-labor hiring centers in the area.

Filed Oct. 19, the lawsuit names five Town of Herndon residents, one Fairfax resident and one Falls Church resident as plaintiffs.

On Sept. 12 Fairfax County's Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the allocation of $400,000 to three day-labor sites in the county, in Culmore, Annandale and Herndon. The lawsuit was filed because residents represented by Judicial Watch do not want taxpayer money to fund the creation of a hiring center where possibly undocumented immigrants can find work, according to a Judicial Watch release.

In August, Herndon's Town Council approved, 5 to 2, an application for the creation of a regulated day-labor hiring center in town. During the town's public hearings, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton told council members that if the site were approved, the conservative self-proclaimed watchdog group would sue. The group filed suit against the town Sept. 1 in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

A judge had not yet reviewed the lawsuit before the county was added by the organization, according to Herndon Mayor Michael O'Reilly.

The lawsuit also asks for an injunction against the site and for the "determination that the expenditure of taxpayer funds in the furtherance of the day laborer site is unlawful and void."

During a Sept. 8 public hearing before the board of supervisors, Judicial Watch's Paul Orfanedes, director of litigation, and Chris Farrell, director of investigations and research, testified about the group's intent to sue.

The Town Council recently appointed outside counsel, Walter T. Dudley and William G. Broaddus of McGuireWoods LLP, to handle the case. Fairfax County officials have been instructed not to comment on the case.