MWDN gets copies of some town legal bills

In an article published today, the Metrowest Daily News said they are still waiting to receive copies of the legal bills they requested related to the “Southborough Eight” investigation — within the law the town has 10 days to respond to the request — but they did find out how much the town spent pursuing the identity of an anonymous commenter on this blog.

Invoices show that a special counsel hired to appear at an Oct. 22, 2009, emergency executive session involving eight town employees was also paid to investigate the identity of an anonymous poster on a popular town blog.

From Oct. 1, 2009, through Dec. 1, 2009, billing records show that the town paid special counsel and Leicester attorney Barry Bachrach $3,091.50 for his work on an issue referred to as “Marty.” Portions of the billing statements were blacked out.

The first letter I received from Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano — the one that demanded I reveal “Marty’s” identity — arrived on September 22, 2009, so it seems likely there was some amount of legal work in September that is not accounted for in the bills obtained by MWDN.

You can read more in the Metrowest Daily News.

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Marnie Hoolahan
12 years ago

This is not a surprise but it makes my stomach turn to continue to read about the expenses associated with the ongoing “investigations” of “Marty” and “Southborough EIght.” I have read the comments on the “breaking news” and appreciate that there must be more to these allegations but I am hard pressed to believe it. I am clearly missing the objective for the investigations- there is truth somewhere- I am not sure that our tax dollars or investigation of our town employees will help discover the why? how? and what?

Sue Grinblatas
12 years ago

Instead of “Southborough Eight” investigation, it really should be called “Deep Dish” as some really witty person posted earlier.

Sue Grinblatas
12 years ago

Thank you to Al Hamilton for taking the initiative to get this info.

Michael Moore
12 years ago

The most frustrating thing for me is that there seems to be no possibility of verifying that these legal maneuverings are justified. Everything is under a cloud of secrecy, and from what I understand we may never be given full disclosure as to what the rationale for this expense was.

I remember selectman Bill Boland saying at the town meeting that, in his opinion, all the legal actions of the town were justified. I also remember him saying that he didn’t know why the people of the town didn’t seem to trust their elected selectmen. I understand what he’s saying. The only thing I could suggest (in view of the privacy issues) to deal with the situation is that the town elect or appoint someone to make sure that these actions are in line with the town interests… which is precisely the role of the selectmen whom we’ve already elected.

Of course, just because this is their job doesn’t mean that they do it well. The three serving members of the board will have to do something quite extraordinary to keep me from voting against them in the future. At the very least, they will have to gain an understanding of why I no longer trust them to serve our community.

Superfly
12 years ago

Make sure to recognize that there are Special Counsel Accounts and Town Counsel accounts. Those two expense lines may represent the total costs.

Many at TM might remember the call for 26 additional hours for Town Counsel when the budget was attempted to be cut 3% like every other department and budget line!

Is there a limit to the expenses that can be racked up by the lawyers in this “internal investigation?” If a demand letter to a blog moderator cost $3k or more, is it safe to guess that this “investigation” may run upwards of $15-20k or more?

Oh the insanity!!!!!

Voter Paying Attention
12 years ago

You know, it occurs to me that not everything a lawyer gets involved in is automatically private or secret or privileged or confidential.

Here we have a BOS that launched it’s OWN investigation, and then turns around and tells anyone who asks to bug off because it’s confidential. Seems very conveniently self-insulating to me.

To put it another way, just whose confidences are being protected? I bet the folks being “investigated” (what a crock) would love to tell their side of the story — so ask yourself, who really benefits from all the secrecy here?

Marnie Hoolahan
12 years ago

Michael- I am in agreement- we should be able to trust our elected officials but we have now heard of two perceived ridiculous investigations that our BoS authorized. As to Superfly’s point- just a note Susan mentioned that the $3K that Metro-west discovered was from October – Dec- it did not even include the letter Aldo sent to her….can you imagine how quickly these costs can and will escalate? I do believe it is time for many people to attend the BoS meeting and demand answers- they obviously will not provide them but we can give them a chance to address these rising concerns and invoices for town and special counsel. We will have the opportunity to make our decisions on May 10th- the only issue is that we don’t seem to have enough candidates out there. Sue Grinblatas- I know you are already deeply involved with schools but would you consider a run for Selectman? You would have my vote!

southsider
12 years ago

The comment from Voter Paying Attention raises an interesting point.
Maybe our BofS feels constrained for confidentiality reasons from explaining what they’re trying to accomplish but that should not be preventing any of the town dept heads who were ‘questioned’ from shedding a little ( or a lot ) of light on this craziness.
Some one or two of you could step up and provide some info or at least a bit more background. Do it anonymously if you’re worried.But frankly, worrying about retribution from this Board is probably not that necessary; the way they’re performing, they won’t be around long enough.

Voter Paying Attention
12 years ago
Reply to  southsider

Southsider,

My understanding is that those under “investigation” have been specifically instructed by the BOS and Town Counsel not to discuss the matter (or else).

Just more intimidation that we should all be ashamed of.

VPA

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