Alert Auditing Saves Village Close To $5000 In Criminal Defense Legal Fees
After I publicly questioned an alleged 20-hour "Telephone conference with John LiGreci regarding Grand Jury Subpoena", on 9/26/2012, for which the Village was billed $5,500.00 last month (for the one supposed phone call), a revised copy of the invoice, this one dated December 6, 2012, was sent by the law firm of Burke, Miele & Golden, LLP of Goshen.
When I called with Mr. Burke about the bill last month, asking him to explain the 20-hour phone call, he told me that the item actually included time consulting with the Mayor, Trustee Hutchins, LiGreci, and others. However, in the current bill, the time spent in the supposed consultations advising how to targets of a Grand Jury investigation should respond to subpoenas (criminal defense strategy) the 20-hour claim was reduced to 20 minutes, at a cost of only $55.00. Big time, "Oops!" A typo? Really?
I remain opposed to using public money to cover legal fees of officials charged with crimes. This $5,000 discrepancy raises questions about whether padding of bills may be occurring, in which charges are hidden in line items that may go unnoticed.
Fortunately, I caught this discrepancy during my auditing, but it is my opinion that the billing practices of all the law firms employed by the Village (not just this one, but more especially the firm of Nyack lawyer Dennis Lynch who has billed the Village a quarter-of-a-million dollars over the last 12 months, purportedly for salary, litigation fees, and consulting) deserve close scrutiny by proper outside authorities before the Village of Monticello is bankrupt.
See prior article entitled TC Hutchins Legal Defense For Grand Jury Investigation, Latest Bill: $2,650.00 - Added To $8,222.50 Earlier Bill posted here a month ago, together with a link to the original bill.