Thomas Frawley

Thomas E. Frawley

Assistant Vice President at SYSTRA Consulting Inc

Location:
617 W 7TH STREET SUITE #602, Los Angeles, California, United States
HQ Phone:
(213) 623-1888

General Information

Experience

Vice President  - Interfleet Technology Ltd

Affiliations

Principal  - Thomas E. Frawley Consulting , LLC

Recent News  

The people giving the presentation were Michael Dawkins of SEPTA community relations, senior project manager of the Wayne station project Rusty Acchione, and Tom Frawley of Systra Consulting.

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The people giving the presentation were Michael Dawkins of SEPTA community relations, senior project manager of the Wayne station project Rusty Acchione, and Tom Frawley of Systra Consulting.

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The RSA argued three main points to Judge Thomas Frawley (Frawley) concerning the ordinance: 1) the RSA statutes were a matter of state law in creating the agency, and, thus, preempted the city ordinance; 2) the ordinance conflicted with state laws and even with St. Louis's own charter; and 3) the Ordinance was unconstitutionally vague.[16]
As to the issue of vagueness, Frawley agreed, calling sections of the ordinance "too vague to be enforced" in his ruling.[17] Frawley cited prior Missouri case law, stating that vagueness, in the context of ordinance interpretation, applies where people "must guess at its meaning would differ as to its application," or if the ordinance is "incapable of rational enforcement."[18] Frawley went on to state that while the ordinance is clear as to legislative intent, it provided no guidance on "when, how or by whom the issue of St. Louis's financial assistance to development of the proposed new professional sports facility will be submitted to a public vote. "Development" is one uncertain term, as it fails to address what constitutes development; is it an idea? Are St. Louis investigations into feasibility of a stadium, internal discussions with officials, scouting locations, and other pre-construction issues subject to voter approval?[19] "Financial assistance" is another ambiguous term. While the Ordinance defined it as "any city assistance of value, direct or indirect, whether or not channeled through an intermediary," Frawley remained unconvinced that the above definition could be effectively enforced. "Financial assistance," per the ordinance, includes tax increment financing (TIF), transportation development district (TDD) financing, and community improvement district (CID) financing, which is already preempted by state law.[20] Additionally, he pointed to so many "uncertainties" in the law, stating that "their sum makes a task for us, which at best could be only guesswork."[21] Finally, Frawley notes that there is no ordinance guidance as to what exactly will be submitted to the voters for approval. Will the citizenry be voting on whether to allow carte blanche financial assistance, or must the assistance be of a specific type?[22] Finally, the ruling held that the Ordinance was vague as to who would be preparing any ballot measure for voter approval. While the Ordinance "clearly directed the comptroller to prepare the fiscal note and the governing body to conduct the public hearing," it is silent as to delegating duties related to preparation of ballot measures, and who would determine dates for submission of said measures.[23] Further, although the Ordinance listed certain officials and entities as examples of the governing body, it left another layer of ambiguity as the Ordinance fails to clarify which of the officials controls in this situation. As to the Ordinance being preempted by state statute, Frawley was unconvinced by the RSA's arguments and noted that the RSA failed to identify any section in the RSA statutes mandating St. Louis enter into agreements with the RSA.[24] The statutes merely authorized, not mandated, St. Louis and the RSA to "enter into contracts, agreements, leases and subleases with each other."[25] Thus, the statutes did not provide a "comprehensive scheme for constructing and financing a new professional sports facility in the Metropolitan St. Louis area and, therefore, do not preempt the Ordinance."[26] The RSA also argued that because the RSA state statutes do not require a public vote prior to St. Louis providing financing for a new sports facility, the Ordinance stands in direct conflict with state law and must be preempted by the latter.[27] Frawley agreed here, noting that several state statutes limited their "requirements for all cases to their own prescriptions and, therefore, preempt the portions of the Ordinance that require city-wide voter approval before St. Louis may provide TIF, TDD, and CID financing."[28] St. Louis's arguments centered on showing that the law that created the RSA simply said what it had the power to do, and that it was City law that controlled its own legislative processes.[29] Additionally, St. Louis, in its Counterclaim, argued the RSA lacked statutory authority to construct the new stadium because the state statute giving authority to RSA for stadium construction required said construction to be "adjacent" to the old one.[30] However, Frawley remained skeptical of the ordinance itself and simply could not get past the vagueness inherent in the Ordinance language.[31] As to the definition of "adjacent," Frawley articulated that Missouri courts had commonly defined it as "near or close at hand," and not necessarily touching each other or immediately next to each other.[32] Additionally, "adjacent property" was held to "include property that is located across intersections and roads," and nothing of the same kind intervening, i.e. another property or independent piece of land.[33] John Ashcroft and the legislature intended to create a perpetual stadium-funding machine is ludicrous."[36] Hartmann opined that while Frawley's legal analysis was spot on, it amounted to the RSA winning on a technicality.[37] Hartmann went on to point out in rather tongue-and-cheek fashion that City Counselor Winston Calvert might have lost his job if St. Louis prevailed on its opposition, due to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay making the stadium deal a top economic priority of his administration. An appeal to the decision has been filed in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, by St. Louis University School of Law professor John Ammann (Ammann), who represents St. Louis residents.[39] Ammann argues that Frawley erred in denying Ammann's motion to intervene, because St. Louis could not be trusted to defend its own ordinance, and further, the interests of the citizenry. Ammann points to St. Louis's decision not to appeal as proof.[40] Further, Ammann argues that Frawley incorrectly deemed the ordinance vague, and misinterpreted the term "adjacent."[41] Although he has asked for an expedited appeals process, a decision is not expected for a few months, even in a best-case scenario.[42] [16] Rachel Lippmann, Fight over new NFL stadium heads to Judge Frawley (June 25, 2015), http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/fight-over-new-nfl-stadium-heads-judge-frawley.

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