HOUSTON — Houston’s mayor stated he won’t be taking money from survivors or the families of firefighters killed in the 2013 Southwest Inn fire.
Marty Lancton, President of the Houston Professional Firefighters Association, says this week he discovered the city had issued liens, reportedly to reimburse medical and ambulance expenses.
Lancton provided KHOU a February 2016 email to those families from the attorney representing them in a lawsuit. It appears to show an outside lawyer hired by the city asking for liens of $20,000 from the families of fallen firefighters Robert Garner, Anne Sullivan, and Robert Bebee, as well as $50,000 from severely injured firefighter Robert Yarbrough.
“I don’t care if it is a legal maneuver,” said Lancton. “It is, in my opinion, unethical, not morally correct, and it’s not right.”
On Thursday, Lancton sent Mayor Turner a letter asking for assurance that those liens will be released, and that no other firefighters or their families will be subject to them.
“The city will release, the city is not going to seek, the city is not trying to collect any dime from any family from the Southwest Inn fires,” said Mayor Turner on Thursday afternoon.
Houston City Council member Michael Kubosh told KHOU he believes the lien process likely started during the previous administration. Regardless, he also is calling for all liens against the Southwest Inn firefighters and families to be released.