BUDA, Texas (STPNS) -- The city of Buda has settled a lawsuit with Sam Braswell, the area rancher who claimed that the 2004 development of the Whispering Hollow subdivision resulted in pollution to Garlic Creek.

Councilmembers voted unanimously to negotiate the deal in August, saying it was cheaper to settle the lawsuit than pay attorneys to fight it. The city denied any wrongdoing in the suit.

Under the terms of the settlement, Buda will pay Braswell's attorneys $10,000, and Joe Bland Construction, L.P., the other defendant in the suit, will pay $40,000.



Additionally, the construction company agreed to remove a berm than Braswell said was left in the creek.

Braswell filed the suit last September against the city and Bland Construction, alleging both parties violated the Clean Water Act by using contaminated landfill to dam Garlic Creek during construction of Whispering Hollow near the property Braswell leases on Garlic Creek at RM 967.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) investigated Braswell's claims after some of Braswell's livestock died unexpectedly. In July of 2004, TCEQ investigators found no violations.

Braswell compiled a text-filled website on the alleged pollution, www.garliccreek.com, suggesting it could be responsible for the resignations of former Buda Mayor John Trube, former city administrator Bob Mathis, former Sheriff Don Montague, and numerous TCEQ officials, as well as the 2005 suicide of respected Austin-American Statesman science reporter Kevin Carmody. He later set the website private and password protected.

Braswell is represented by the Austin-based law firm Lowerre and Frederick. Outside attorney Chris Sileo represented Buda.

Due to the terms of the settlement, neither side can comment on the case.