East Ridge Council Balks At Paying Ex-Attorney For Copying 41 Boxes Of Legal Records; Gobble Says He May Hire Anderson

Friday, January 25, 2013

The East Ridge City Council on Thursday balked at paying former City Attorney John Anderson $5,914.33 for copying 41 boxes of legal records.

Council members said they recently learned that the lawyer, who was fired in mid-December when the council majority changed, made the mass copyings at his office just before departing. He had his office staff spend a week copying the mass of documents related to East Ridge lawsuits. Then he shipped them by truck to East Ridge City Hall.

Then he sent the bill to East Ridge taxpayers.

Cost was itemized as $1,822 for copying and the rest for paying his staff overtime on the project.

City Manager Tim Gobble said the mass of material was temporarily stored in a secure area at the city. Hal North, the new city attorney, said he is the recipient of the pile of material.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gobble was quizzed on whether he has retained attorney Anderson to represent him in any matter relating to East Ridge - with the charge to East Ridge taxpayers. Mr. Gobble said he has not at this time.

But he said he may in the future hire the lawyer on a matter such as "involving my performance" because he said attorney Anderson is familiar with the city's government and "he's an excellent attorney." The new council majority has had a prickly relationship with City Manager Gobble, but has yet made no move to fire him.

Councilman Marc Gravitt said, "I don't want the citizens of East Ridge to have to be paying two attorneys. I think we need one voice."

City Manager Gobble said for the time being he is represented by attorney North in a case involving East Ridge in which he was sued. But he said, if there is a conflict, "I may go out and hire a separate attorney." He said he is entitled to do so under his contract with the city.

Vice Mayor Jim Bethune said he counted $204,000 in charges from attorney Anderson for 2012, including $37,000 in severance pay. Then the city got another bill recently for $14,331.74, including the disputed copying charge.

The council passed a motion to pay all of the latest bill except for the copying. Voting in favor were Vice Mayor Bethune and council members Gravitt and Denny Manning. Councilman Larry Sewell abstained and Mayor Brent Lambert voted no.

Attorney North suggested that the city seek arbitration arranged by the Chattanooga Bar Association on the copying charge. He said attorney Anderson could opt to go along with the arbitration or sue the city for the amount.

He said it is normal for attorneys to make copies prior to handing over a case to another lawyer. He said, "It is not normal to charge for the copies."

The remainder of the latest Anderson bill deals with ongoing litigation. Attorney North said under his contract he had a basic retainer and he also was paid per hour for litigation. Attorney North is paid a flat $7,500 per month that covers all charges.

Councilman Gravitt said of the city's legal bills, "We've got several cases, my gosh, that have been dragging on for years - over very trivial matters. Is there any way we can get these off our backs?"

Attorney North said the city of East Ridge is embroiled in 6-8 lawsuits and some of them indeed have been going on for years. He said, "The city does not need to be juggling that many balls," and he said he has been taking steps to try to settle some or all of the pending cases.

One long-running one, he said, involves the Superior Creek Lodge. He said attorney Anderson had lined up 41 potential witnesses in a projected trial of the case in Criminal Court. 

The latest Anderson bill included $4,819 for Superior Creek Lodge litigation.

 

 

 

 



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report: ADAMS, JARRETT LEE  8219 CICERO TRAIL CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION COMMUNITY SUPERVISION FOR LIFE --- AKE, NAOMI MICHELLE  7321 SOUTH PITTSBUGH MOUNTAIN ROAD S. PITTSBURG, 37380  Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck On Highway 58 At Oakwood Drive On Tuesday Night

A pedestrian was struck on Highway 58 on Tuesday night. The incident happened around 7 p.m. at the intersection with Oakwood Drive. A Taco Bell is nearby. An ambulance was at the scene. (click for more)

Current Republican Tax Plan Will Add To The National Debt

Independent tax experts agree that the Republican tax plan will add over $1 trillion to the national debt, even accounting for economic growth.  Adding to the national debt during good economic times doesn’t seem smart to me. The time for adding anything to the national debt is during a major war or when the economy needs more government spending to stimulate it during a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s Focus On ‘Better’

As I stepped away from the overflow crowd at Monday night’s Town Council meeting on Signal Mountain, I leaned in to tell Jean Trohanis how sorry I was to hear of the loss of her dearest friend. But in that millisecond before I could speak, the former but still-loved elementary school principal gave me her best hallway hiss and, with a pointed finger, she ordered, “You be nice!” ... (click for more)

Hayes Surpasses 1,000 Points As Lady Canes Beat Walker Valley 54-43

East Hamilton sophomore Madison Hayes scored 17 points in a 54-43 victory at Walker County in Cleveland on Tuesday night and pushed her career scoring past the 1,000-point mark in the process. Hayes scored a team-high 19 points Friday in a 52-40 victory over Notre Dame in the East-West Classic, giving her 996 points in her career, including eighth-grade and freshman seasons ... (click for more)

McMinn County Slaps Soddy-Daisy With Two 5-3A Losses

McMinn County roared into Soddy-Daisy on Tuesday night and blasted the Trojans and Lady Trojans lop-sided victories in District 5-3A high school basketball action. The Cherokees (3-5, 3-0) blitzed the Trojans (3-5, 1-2) early to build a 26-14 halftime lead, built a 20-point lead and cruised to an impressive 58-30 victory. The earlier game was even more one-sided as the ... (click for more)