Chapala city councilors could end up in the slammer if they fail to comply with a court order to pay off a 90-million-peso penalty for the settlement of a lawsuit lodged against the municipal government.
The case stems from the concession granted to Led Lumina, S.A. de C.V. in April 2012 for the installation and operation of public street lighting. The company filed suit against the city in September 2015 for defaulting on its monthly service payments. Jalisco’s Administrative Tribunal ruled in Led Lumina’s favor in September 2016. The Chapala government also lost subsequent appeals, leaving it with no further legal recourse.
On January 25, the current municipal government learned that the court had set a five-day deadline to settle the debt. The document included a warning that failure to comply on time put the city’s governing body in jeopardy of spending 36 hours behind bars.
On January 28, the city council approved a proposal from Chapala Mayor Moisés Anaya that could delay immediate punishment by demonstrating the municipal government’s good faith to meet its obligations, despite the implicit financial burden.
The strategy is to advise the court that the Chapala council has agreed to seek emergency state and federal funding to help cover the hefty penalty. In addition, municipal authorities will approach Led Lumina’s management to negotiate terms to reduce the amount of the settlement, establish an extended payment schedule or explore the possibility of reactivating the service contract as an alternative resolution of the dispute.