City’s legal fees reach $52,000
Clintonville council member questions attorney’s invoice
By Bert Lehman
The final total the city of Clintonville paid for legal fees associated with the Chapter 17 complaint filed by Tricia Rose against Mayor Judy Magee is $52,579.
City Administrator Chuck Kell provided that total to the Clintonville City Council at its meeting, Monday, Nov. 10.
The previous day, Nov. 9, at a Finance Committee meeting, committee member and Council President Lois Bressette questioned the invoice submitted by Rose’s attorney.
The invoice for Rose’s legal fees was submitted by Corporate Legal Counsel, LTD of Neenah, for an amount of $2,687. It was stated on the invoice that it was for “Professional Services Rendered Regarding Chapter 17 Complaint.” On the next line of the invoice, it stated, “Re: Rose Publications Legal Matters.”
The invoice was not itemized.
At the committee meeting, Bressette said she was concerned about the city paying an invoice that was designated for Rose Publications legal matters.
“I was under the understanding that she was a private citizen bringing this complaint against the mayor and is billed for Rose Publication legal matters,” Bressette said.
Bressette added that all the documents she had seen regarding the Chapter 17 complaint by Rose referred to Rose as a private citizen.
At the committee meeting, Kell said he thought the wording on the invoice was a mistake.
“I think it should say Tricia Rose there,” Kell said.
Bressette said she wanted to see a new invoice if indeed it was a mistake.
“I’d like to have this investigated. Of the $2,687, I’d like to see a detailed report for that,” Bressette said.
She added, “This is the first I’ve seen all of these (invoices). I’m disappointed with the amount of money we paid for this that I had to ask for this instead of this being brought to our council packet prior to it being paid.”
Clintonville City Clerk/Treasurer Peggy Johnson told the committee that attorney James Kalny, whom the city hired to oversee the Chapter 17 complaint, had authorized the city to pay the invoice from Rose’s attorney, after the city questioned the invoice not being itemized.
Johnson said not all the details were on one of the invoices submitted by Magee’s attorney.
Kell told the committee that Kalny told him the invoices fall under attorney client privilege.
“I had asked for detail on the Rose bill and I was told that we wouldn’t be able to request that because its attorney client privilege,” Kell said.
Kell said he would contact Rose’s attorney to request a new invoice. Kell did point out that all the invoices had been paid already.
Bressette raised her concerns at the city council meeting the next day.
Kell told the council that the complaint was brought forth by an individual. He said that he spoke with Rose’s attorney earlier in the day and asked if he would consider reissuing the invoice under Rose’s name only, and remove any reference to Rose Publications.
“What he told me was, he was hired by the [Clintonville] Chronicle,” Kell said. “So that’s why his invoice read as such.”
Kell said the attorney told him if he contacted Rose and Rose asked to have that change made on the invoice, the attorney would consider making the change.
Magee’s legal fees that the city paid amounted to $21,452.
The remaining amount of the $52,579 was paid to Davis Kuelthau Attorneys at Law.