See also Housing, DiBartolo lawsuit
Croton Overlook Legal Fees
Town Board, 3/13/2012
Saying that the subject required more than a five minute discussion, Supervisor Grace suggested, and the rest of the board agreed, to postpone the discussion to a future date.Councilman Paganelli agreed with the Supervisor but Councilman Bianco said that he had reviewed the bills and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.When he said he had also received an email on the issue from the town’s outside counsel, Supervisor Grace said that he hadn’t gotten the email and Town Attorney Koster said she had received it but hadn’t read it.
Supervisor Grace said that when the board was ready to discuss the issue in executive session, it should also be ready to discuss repealing the Master Fee law.
Town Board, 2/28/2012
In response to a letter from T.J. Muldoon, the developer for the proposed Croton Overlook project, Supervisor Grace said he was bringing the board’s attention to Mr. Muldoon’s objection to some of the fees. According to Mr. Muldoon’s letter, there are about $27,000 in outstanding legal bills. Supervisor Grace said that there was no need for a board decision that evening.
Supervisor Grace said that his position on legal fees was well known and that he thought it improper for an outside attorney to bill an applicant when the attorney had to “educate” the town supervisor on the law. He said the bills should be audited to determine their appropriateness.
There was some confusion as to what the bills were for, and Planning Director John Tegeder explained that the outstanding bills were for legal services rendered during the SEQRA process and that they were charged pursuant to the town’s laws regarding SEQRA review fees. There was also confusion as to how much money the outside attorney had previously taken off its bill. Mr. Tegeder said that the attorney had previously negotiated with Mr. Muldoon a $4,000 reduction in the firm’s pre-SEQRA legal bill.
Town Attorney Koster explained that the Croton Overlook team had specifically requested that the town hire an outside attorney to advise the town on its rezoning application and that a contract to that effect had been signed. It was only after they received the bills, did they start objecting.“They haven’t lived up to the contract,” she said.
Councilman Bianco said that the bills were Mr. Muldoon’s problem but Supervisor Grace said that they were the town’s problem.When Supervisor Grace called the problem a “mess,” Councilman Bianco said it wasn’t. Councilman Murphy said that this was what he was concerned about all along: giving the lawyers an open check book.
Town Comptroller Joan Goldberg said that the town has not paid the attorney’s bills.
Legal Services for Highway Superintendent
Town Board, 3/20/2012
In a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Patel voting no, the board approved the selection of attorney Brian Sokoloff of the firm Sokoloff Stern to represent Highway Superintendent DiBartolo in the lawsuit against him filed by resident William LaPierre. The town will pay Mr. Sokoloff $200/hour, plus reasonable and customary disbursements.
Town Board, 3/13/2012
In an item not on the agenda, the board voted 4-1 with Councilman Patel voting no, to have the town pay for an outside attorney to represent Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo in the lawsuit filed against him by a town resident. The resolution allows Mr. DiBartolo to select the attorney but the board must approve the selection. The resolution did not include any cost information.