St. Louis comes after past “Unsung Hero” who accused them of Sunshine Law violations


Attorney Elad Gross. Photo courtesy of Elad Gross.

Ryan Krull , In partnership with the Riverfront Times

In September, attorney Elad Gross sued the city of St. Louis, alleging wide-ranging violations of the state’s Sunshine law. Last week, the city slapped back at Gross — filing a counterclaim that seeks $25,000 in damages.

Gross calls the counterclaim “pretty unnerving.”

“The city of St. Louis is now willing to sue its citizens who dare to ask that the government follow our basic public transparency laws,” he tells the RFT. “It’s pretty wild to wake up on Thanksgiving and see that.”

Gross’ initial lawsuit stemmed from what he said was a year-long delay in accessing records relevant to a potential lawsuit he was researching on behalf of a man injured while in the City Justice Center. A St. Louis-based lawyer focused on government transparency, Gross ran for state attorney general in 2020’s Democratic primary. Prior to suing the city, Gross was involved in numerous transparency lawsuits against state officials.

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

In their filing, lawyers with the City Counselor’s office called Gross’ suit a “transparent publicity stunt — an opportunity for self-promotion in service of Gross’ political ambitions.” They accuse him of weaponizing the Sunshine Law and abusing the court system.

The city’s counterclaim includes numerous jabs at what it calls Gross’ “self-promotion, at all costs,” calling him “a self-styled ‘Sunshine Law Defender,’ ‘Missouri Lawman,’ and ‘government transparency attorney’…Along with other remnants of Gross’ unsuccessful 2020 statewide political campaign, Gross maintains a website to trumpet his various policy views and to promote himself and his political aspirations…[the] website doubles as an advertisement for Gross’ legal services.”

Gross says it’s “scary to think about” the city using his history of being involved in politics as a way to discredit his lawsuit. He says the city is sending a message that “citizens shouldn’t ask us for records. Citizens shouldn’t file lawsuits against their government.”

“Other folks have done some similar things,” he says. “When I first had a lawsuit involving records with the Greitens administration, Eric Greitens’ attorney called me names. Josh Hawley, Eric Schmitt, Mike Parson, all these folks have done similar things. I guess I really wasn’t expecting the city to be like them and be so resistant to transparency.”

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