Texas AG Paxton requests records on San Antonio Chick-fil-A decision

(Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has made an open records request for documents related to his office’s investigation of the City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio International Airport.

In the April 11 letter, Paxton requested communications between city councilmembers, city employees, and third parties that discuss the inclusion or exclusion of Chick-fil-A in the airport’s recent concession contract. The letter asks for public records from January 1 to April 9, 2019 and allows the exclusion of attorney-client communications.

The request also asks for calendars, records of councilmember meetings and any internal communications among city employees regarding the contract.

“The decision to discriminate against any vendor based on religious beliefs associated with the company and its owners flies in the face of the Constitution and Texas law,” Paxton said in the letter. “I look forward to reviewing the City of San Antonio’s records explaining why the City Council targeted this respected restaurant chain for exclusion from the City’s concessionaire contract for the international airport.”

Paxton previously sent a letter on March 28 to the mayor and city councilmembers announcing his office’s investigation, and in a separate letter, urged Secretary Elaine Chao of the United States Department of Transportation to open an investigation into the city’s potential violation of federal law and Transportation Department regulations. 

According to a release from Paxton’s office, the First Amendment protects individuals and closely held companies from governmental restrictions based on their religious views or status and that federal regulations governing grant money provided to the San Antonio airport prohibit religious discrimination.

The city of San Antonio voted 6-4 on March 21 to approve an amendment that would exclude Chick-fil-A from a concession agreement with Paradies Lagardère at the San Antonio International Airport. City Councilman Roberto Treviño made the motion due to Chick-fil-A's "legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior."

“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion," Treviño said in a statement. "San Antonio is a city full of compassion...Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport."

San Antonio is not the only city to ban the national chicken-based fast food chain from their airport.

Buffalo, New York will also not have a Chick-fil-A location in its airport either after Democratic state assemblyman Sean Ryan expressed disappointment about plans to include Chick-fil-A at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport on March 28 in a statement via Twitter.

The vendor for the airport food court project, according to Ryan on March 29, informed him that they have removed Chick-fil-A from the project.

A copy of Paxton's records request can be viewed here.