Council members should justify legal fees
Sep 20, 2012 | 1152 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print

In the spirit of election season, I am following up on my original letter to the editor published in the Feb. 16 edition of the Patterson Irrigator (“Council should refocus on city’s well-being,” Page 12).

To briefly review, the letter focused on two Patterson City Council members who had racked up (at the time) more than $47,000 in legal fees. That included more than $8,000 of the city’s money that went toward hiring the world-renowned Tip Mazzucco from the firm Murphy, Pearson, Bradley and Feeney, who carried a retainer of $5,000 and an hourly fee of $350 an hour. This money was spent to have a statement drafted.

Now, I am no accountant, but from my perspective, that is an awful lot of taxpayer dollars being spent unjustly. Eight thousand dollars? To draft a statement? It makes absolutely no sense to me, and I find myself asking, “Would these council members have spent this money so frivolously had it come directly out of their pockets?” In total, well more than $50,000 was spent on legal fees for a case that was thrown out and a case that was intended to uphold someone’s “personal” reputation and clearly had no legs from the get-go.

Throughout this entire process, questions continued to arise, but we were led to believe that the cause was just and the ends would justify the means. Now, the case is dead and is no longer being looked at. So I ask both council members: How did the end justify the means, and why did you decide to do this? And would we, most citizens, have done the same thing if we were in your shoes?

I am 100 percent for backing and supporting our elected officials if a lawsuit had been brought upon them. Since both council members decided it would be in their best interest to spend the city’s money in this manner, I think it only makes sense that we hear their side of the story.

Now that the suits are over and lips no longer need to be sealed, I believe that all of the residents of Patterson would be interested in hearing why these lawsuits were necessary.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and helping the citizens of Patterson make sense of this situation.

For the record, I am a Palm Desert resident who takes great pride in his hometown and would like to one day settle down in the town that I grew to love as a child. Please don’t read this letter in an aggressive manner; written word has no tone of voice. Just looking to make sense of this all and finally get some answers.

Kevin Scoles, Palm Desert

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