Cookie Case Could Crumble as Girl Scout Mom's Lawyer Hits the Road
The founder of the Freedom Center of Missouri is leaving the state for a paying job, leaving the Mills family without an attorney. The family wants to change the city's rules that prevent them from selling Girl Scout cookies in their driveway.
Dave Roland, founder of the Freedom Center of Missouri and the lawyer who represents Carolyn Mills and her teenage daughters, has announced that he will leave the St. Louis area for a new job in Olympia, Washington at the end of October, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.
Roland said he’s leaving for one simple reason: he and his wife are expecting a daughter soon, and he needs a steady paycheck. The Freedom Center of Missouri was founded almost two years ago, but relies heavily on donations.
"We can live hand-to-mouth as long as it's just the two of us, but now that we're going to have a little one depending on us, we felt like we had to go for some more stability," he told the Post.
How the Cookie Crumbled
You might remember Mills and her daughters, Caitlin and Abigail. They clashed with the City of Hazelwood over the girls’ annual Girl Scout cookie-sales stand in their front yard. While the city never ordered them to shut down the stand, officials say they did send a letter explaining that they were violating home occupancy codes.
The letter was only sent after neighbors complained that the booth had caused traffic congestion and increased noise thanks to dogs barking.
Although the case was thrown out, the girls’ mother attempted to sue for their right to sell the cookies at their home. A local minister stepped in to purchase the rest of the girls’ cookies, which made many think the matter would be resolved, but the mother decided in March that she wanted to give the lawsuit a second try. The City of Hazelwood’s request to drop the case was denied by the judge.
A judge tossed the case out last summer.
With the Freedom Center of Missouri's help, the family re-filed its case in December and plans to challenge the Hazelwood zoning ordinance which enforces whether the cookie operation creates traffic backups, noise and safety issues in a residential neighborhood.
Left in Limbo
Now that Roland is leaving St. Louis, the Mills’ case may be left in limbo unless Roland can find them a new lawyer—one who’s willing to work for free.
"It's possible if we can't find an attorney to take it on pro bono, we may just have to drop the case," Roland told the Post. "The Mills family can't pay to have someone try and fight that case for them."
Still, the Mills girls have managed to keep their cookie stand open by cooperating with a church a block from their home on Latty Avenue.