If people were in a frothy lather over Nick Kydes lawyer bills, they must be in a positive washing machine over soap over the first taxing district’s legal bills. Naturally they won’t line item what incident generated what, because that would mean, full disclosure, and disclosure is something the first taxing district is totally unfamiliar with. Remember how they refuse to reveal what the water consumption is by client over to the Water Pollution Authority so that the WPA can bill people correctly?
This time, The Hour, is reporting that the first taxing district, needs to pony up $252,368 for the all encompassing legal work identifier.
The Hour had received numerous calls from residents asking about the amount of the legal fees in light of the nearly year-long dispute over Klondike Park, at Wall and Main streets.
I break here only to point out that any sentence that begins with numerous calls, is just another indicator of political tit for tat that takes up all the oxygen in Norwalk. Of course it was political tit for tat that the first taxing district engaged in the first place. No reasonable person would ever think that a sub contractor who cut a lock on a gate in order to stage equipment to fix a bridge was attempting some sort of “land grab.” Weren’t there residents who called the Hour then too?
But more importantly, the real issue here was that the public works committee of the common council, knew exactly what work was going to performed under the bridge, and approved of that work, which is hardly anything anyone could point to as some vast conspiracy of a city.
The spat between the city and the district began in May 2007, when employees for Hartford-based PJF Construction Corp. cut a lock on Klondike Park’s gate to enter the property. At the time, the construction company was doing repair work on the Wall Street Bridge and using Klondike Park to set up and store its equipment.
The action by the PJF employees led the district to file a lawsuit in July 2007 in Stamford Superior Court against Mayor Richard A. Moccia, Harold Alvord, director of Public Works, PJF Construction Corp., and the city of Norwalk.
The case was one of many legal matters in the district. The district also was engaged in various land use negotiations, tax assessment issues and watershed issues in 2007.“Eleven different lawyers with varied specialties worked on District matters in this office,” wrote attorney James Fulton, of the law firm Whitman, Breed, Abbott and Morgan. “The number of cases and wide-ranging legal matters were larger, more complex and more time consuming than in any year since I first started providing legal services to the District in 1977.”
Ya know, why even run this response. It’s a non response. Show us the detailed bill there Fulton. This is the same guy who couldn’t manage to get a meeting to discuss replacement of a $20 lock. Since June of 2007. They settled in February of 2008. Can we see all the billable hours? So the other taxing districts happily explained their legal bills, because, when you have nothing to hide …
The 3rd Taxing District spent an undisclosed amount of money on legal advice, as they thought the Klondike Park case would affect their land ownership, according to 3rd Taxing District General Manager George Leary. In the end, the district found out it owned the deeds to all of its property and the Klondike Park ruling could not affect them.
“There was a concern that, if the ruling was reversed to the 1st District, it could affect us,” said Leary. “We determined, after investigation, that it couldn’t affect us.”
The 3rd District spent $16,852 on legal fees last year, including work on a new lease for the fire house. The district spent an additional $20,966 on its labor attorney, which was not factored into the total legal fees.
John Hiscock, general manager of the 2nd Taxing District, said the topic of Klondike Park came up in “casual conversation” with their legal counsel but the district did not ask for research on the matter.
Hiscock said the 2nd District would have perused legal action if the lawsuit over Klondike Park escalated into a large land ownership issue and it affected property that the 2nd District owned.
“It truly was not a very big to-do for us,” he said. “I think, had the city attacked one of our assets, we would have reacted quite differently but we just didn’t see the issue spilling over in a way that would have affected us.”
Last fiscal year, the 2nd Taxing District spent $89,833 for legal fees, including the hiring of the Robinson Cole law firm to secure a $24 million safe drinking water loan from the state of Connecticut.
Andy Conroy, the treasurer for the 6th Taxing District, said his district would weigh legal action in a land ownership case similar to the Klondike Park dispute depending on the size and value of the land in question.
“You never know until you encounter it,” he said. “I know that we have dodged issues like that because we didn’t want to create a big problem and didn’t think the gain was commensurate with the legal challenges.”
First taxing district residents should be outraged.
source: The Hour, Districts rack up legal fees after ’07 tax battle over park, March 30, 2008