March 27, 2012
BOSTON — On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered Foxborough officials to allow representatives of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to speak to selectmen over a dispute involving two billboards. The ruling came after Kraft's company filed a civil rights lawsuit against the town, alleging the company has been denied the right to speak at public meetings.
The complaint stems from a dispute between Kraft and town government over control of the billboards on land owned by Kraft near Gillette Stadium. Kraft has maintained that the town lacks the authority to solicit bids for billboards on company property. But Foxborough town manager Kevin Paicos said the town is on firm legal ground.
The billboards are located on Kraft property "but on an easement which the town owns title to," he said. A legal memorandum of understanding "says very clearly that the town becomes the owner of the property if the use is abandoned by the Kraft group or should the town for whatever reason decide to take its property back or we decide to give someone else the right to advertise there.”
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro granted a restraining order allowing Kraft representatives to speak during the public portion of the March 27 Foxborough selectmen meeting.