It's a story we first told you on FOX10 News Thursday night at 5 pm.

A Mobile City Council meeting was canceled after three council members didn't come.

The meeting was called to consider renewal of a the Carnival Cruise contract, as well as next year's budget.

But Council Members C.J. Small, Bess Rich, and Fred Richardson didn't show.

That didn't sit well with council member John Williams.

city council

Thursday, he said, "When we were elected, we said we would do our absolute best.  In plain language, we would do our absolute best to do what we were elected to do, and, today, we didn't do that."

When asked about Williams' statement, Richardson said,  "I like John.  John has the right to say what he wants to say."

Richardson said he didn't come to the meeting because he had no supporting documentation on the agenda, including a contract signed by Carnival officials.

But he believes the contract was a lure by the Stimpson administration to get the council to pass the budget.

He said, "It's an 'Okie Doke,' with the matador holding out his cloth trying to get the bull to run.  The bull is angry so the bull is going to run.  I'm not a bull.  I'm not running."

Richardson says he believes the administration wanted the council to pass the budget because it would further the Mayor's case in that legal battle with the council to hire employees of his choosing.

A judge has a hearing scheduled on the lawsuit next Friday.

Richardson said, "If we pass that budget, they don't need a ruling because the mayor is going to go over there and say the council has now approved me."

Attorneys were hired to represent six of the council members in the lawsuit against the mayor.

But Richardson says three council members have now pulled out of the group, another reason he believes the administration wanted the budget passed Thursday before the court hearing.

Richardson said, "He had four people already there.  He was going to wave that budget:  'We have passed the budget, you can whine all you want to.' "

Richardson said the new developments have the potential of gutting the council's lawsuit by default.

But, he says it's not over yet.

Richardson said, "I'm going to be working hard for it not to go down that way."

As for the other council members who didn't attend the meeting, Council Member C.J. Small says he submitted a doctor's note to the council and city clerk that said he needed to rest and he couldn't make the meeting.

Rich says she had an event to attend Thursday night that her colleagues should have known about because she had discussed it.

Rich also said as far as a vote on the budget, she thinks the people deserve for there to be clarity on proposed amendments or changes prior to a vote.

When asked about discussions between the administration and some council members to settle the lawsuit, George Talbot, the Executive Director of Communications and External Affairs at City of Mobile, issued a statement.

He said, "The Administration has worked tirelessly to try and reach a settlement, both through mediation and directly with council members.  Those conversations are ongoing and we are appreciate the individual council members who have shown a willingness to work toward a solution.  Out of respect for the Court, we will not comment on specific issues of the case which remains under litigation.”

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