"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Litany of Legal Fees not paid by BFL Continues

I posted today, then removed it. Something didn't make sense? Not just the Mayor's and Councillor Abel's slippery suggestion insurance premiums increase is because of what I have endured at the hands of Morris et al., cost to date $845,000 and not done yet.

At Tuesday's Council meeting a Vice President of BFL the town's insurance company delegated. The Town Solicitor made a written presentation on claims paid and impact on premiums. The V.P. followed up and answered questions.

The redoubtable Mayor and Councillor's plan to play the blame game of tit for tat shows their frustration and need to pay back for stuff they've done to themselves.

I understand that but can't help. It's a gift that keeps on giving. If they were nice I would be nice.

I  have been reminded of legal fees I know were paid by the insurance coverage during the last term and this.

Right off the bat in 2007 and for two years lawyers least two were being paid over to make against former Mayor Tim Jones. Morris was sure there was enough to sue him for breach of privacy. She vowed she would not be spending her money.

Staff finally brought the matter to an end and the final lawyer to a meeting with the whole Council behind closed doors to end the campaign.

There was no case to answer and even if there ever had been, no damages likely to be assessed. The lawyer was surprised Council had seen none of his communications up to that time.  Expense incurred was never known either.

The tribunal behind closed doors followed, herself acting as judge with lawyer at her elbow to complete the house of horrors fantasy.

Three Directors were called one at a time to be cross-examined like felons.

The lawyer's opinion was sought about policy contravened and appropriate penalty.

He cited a clause and stated termination possible. For one it came to be. But not without further public degradation and not until the contract was honoured was the CAO escorted from the premises
and a statement given to the press.

Then followed  the emergency when refusal to sell a parcel of land to the Region to relocate the police headquarters hit the press. A lawyer was retained to advise how to handle the " breach" of confidentiality, three months after the decision, that was never reported out.

An invoice showed $56,000 billed for that episode.

Town Treasurer left soon after that.

The Town Solicitor found a new position closer to home and left as well.

Next big ticket was $650,000 for an OMB hearing the town lost to stop development of a golf course and 75 town houses on Leslie Street.

Several failed court proceedings and conferences incurred legal expenses to enforce a Joint Board OMB  Hearing that never happened.

$45,000 was expended for a lawyer retained to read and interpret two blog posts with a view to write a complaint under the new and untested Code of Conduct.

Said complaint was publicized severally.  It was read into the public record in a public meeting...on television...directed to be posted on the Town web site .....and published as a statement bearing signatures of  six individuals in two local newspapers.

The complaint was considered and dismissed by the Integrity Commissioner. He judged it to be purely political.

The Integrity Commissioner was dismissed after his first decision his contract paid out for while the ink was still wet in his newly signed contract.

Not in time to invalidate the decision.

The Town Clerk provided my copy of the decision as required, and coincidentally decided to leave the town's employment on the same day.

The CAO notified Council by e-mail the Clerk had decided overnight to retire early.

During the last election campaign, legal costs were incurred to file a SLAPP lawsuit on three residents to silence criticism.

We learned a week ago the lawyer was retained by the CAO the only affidavit was filed by the Town Solicitor.

In his findings, a Judge found the Solicitor evaded answering questions and lied.  It cost the lawyer at the hands of the new Council but the town paid a generous severance package.

Fees of $43,000 were just generated in the action but had not been paid by the time the current Council came to office.

A second lawyer was paid a fee of $8,000 to advise whether or not the fees should be paid.

They were.

A charge under the Conflict of Interest Act was filed against the former Mayor in connection with the law suit. It was dismissed on a technicality.

$153,932 was paid by the town's insurance company. First I know of not funded straight from town coffers.

It was listed in the report received Tuesday as "Conflict of Interest & legal expenses".

The town is currently being sued by the former Mayor for $250,000 in connection with the SLAPP action. Legal fees to defend the action are being paid.

Directly above the Conflict. A claim for Personal Injury (Buck v Morris et al.) is listed in an amount of $845,000.

In response to a question by Councillor Abel, the Vice President of BFL Insurance, present at Tuesday's meeting, informed Council the company tries to bring the parties to the table to effect a settlement.

That is the opposite of my experience.

A second question by Councillor Abel elicited the response the matter of damage award might be decided with an order to apologize.

There have been several opportunities to apologize and withdraw the statement signed by six individuals?

The first prior to commencement of the action.

The second prior to commencement of the trial.

It never happened.

It may have been initially advised.

The first lawyer assigned by the insurance company was replaced.


Anonymous said...

Wow ! You are really cooking this morning. I was able to follow but expect most readers including myself are going to need some time. Some of what you wrote, I knew about. Other material was just rumour when it happened. It is interesting that the insurance guy blew this all into the open.

Anonymous said...

"The town is currently being sued by the former Mayor for $250,000.in connection with the SLAPP auction (sic)."

Didn't this case get transferred to Small Claims Court (with a maximum possible award of $25,000)?

Anonymous said...

The insurance VP stated that in most cases the lawyers seek to find a settlement and that an apology can right the world. That has not been my experience and I have seen nothing to support his view.

Anonymous said...

That was the plan. I don't know if she was successful. The Auroran gives a date this month when it is supposed to be back in court. Actually it says September so it could be next year ?

Anonymous said...

I believe the 3 residents sued by the former tried initially to settle with her. She rejected their attempt which I think involved a sum to her and a similar amount to a charity she selected.
That is just scuttle-butt and might not be accurate.
Someone with access to the records could check it out.

Anonymous said...

19:42, Elizabeth Bishenden settled. She must have been kicking herself in the wake of what happened.

Anonymous said...

To 22:49

It's easy to say that after the fact and when you don't have to live through the experience yourself.

We try to make the best decisions we can based on the information we have at the time. What more can we ask of ourselves and others?
Whatever E. Bishenden did at the time she would have thought it best for her and her family in order to put an end to it. IMHO, that whole incident drove a huge wedge into local politics and not only at the municipal level. And it is still not fully settled.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right. We are in no position to judge the actions of others. It was an awful mess & after all that huffing and puffing, the aim to punish anonymous bloggers for criticizing political actions was in vain.

Anonymous said...

Granted, 10:17. That's why I included "in the wake of what happened." Anyone would be kicking themself if they paid when it later proved to be unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

"We are in no position to judge the actions of others."

Well, then it's time to put Blog to bed, because "the actions of others" get judged all the time here.