The rising cost to defend Wayne County - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

The rising cost to defend Wayne County

Posted: Updated:
(Credit: WJBK|myFOXDetroit.com) Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano (Credit: WJBK|myFOXDetroit.com) Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano
DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano finds himself on the defensive as the feds continue to investigate a severance pay scandal. But the county is prepared to pay big money to fight back.

Eight law firms handling issues on a case-by-case basis in the Wayne County severance scandal are charging at least $200 an hour. It's added up and the million dollar tab that is being passed on to taxpayers according to a Detroit News analysis of Bob Ficano's office.

Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton says the Ficano staff has 32 lawyers on board who have handled only a handful of the lawsuits so far.

"I don't know what those 32 attorneys for Wayne County are doing, but they could be working on these cases. It's not unusual for a county or a governmental agency to hire other law firms that have expertise in handling what really amounts to employment issues," Langton said.

According to reports this is the largest bill since the Kwame Kilpatrick text message scandal unfolded. More than a dozen former aides have sued saying they were let go trying to uncover issues while others sue for not getting their severance checks. Ficano's office is fighting these cases calling then frivolous. But why not just settle?

Langton said, "usually if there is a settlement there is some merit, somewhere down the line. And most attorneys want to resolve these cases as opposed to going through the lengthy time and the costly time of going through discovery and the court hearing. Settle the cases, get rid of them which will save the county money in the long run."

A spokesperson for Ficano telling Fox 2 there's a good reason to fight these lawsuits saying many of the employees who are filing suit were at will employees. Many of the lawsuits are won by County.

Meanwhile, Bob Ficano is paying for his own legal fees incurred during the FBI probe surrounding his office. It takes fire to fight fire in this case. "It's just kind of an evil situation here, you have to pay the lawyers to defend these cases and it's going to cost millions of dollars to defend them," Langton said.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Mark Schauer says he will not sign the 'no tax pledge'

    Mark Schauer says he will not sign the 'no tax pledge'

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:13 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:13:01 GMT
    The Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer says he will not sign the no tax pledge, and says he probably would have sent Detroit in bankruptcy if he had been governor. 
    The Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer says he will not sign the no tax pledge, and says he probably would have sent Detroit in bankruptcy if he had been governor. 
  • Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:01:39 GMT
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
  • Duggan bringing big changes to Detroit water department, starting with shutoffs

    Duggan bringing big changes to Detroit water department, starting with shutoffs

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:56 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:56:25 GMT
    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is promising big changes at the water department, starting with the controversial shutoffs."Certainly it has hurt the reputation of the city," Duggan said. "I have been anxious to do something about it for awhile and I am just glad I have a chance to do it,"Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr handed over the water department to the mayor and City Council TuesdayDuggan says better publicizing assitance programs is the biggest priority."I still don't think the people in need h...
    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is promising big changes at the water department, starting with the controversial shutoffs."Certainly it has hurt the reputation of the city," Duggan said. "I have been anxious to do something about it for awhile and I am just glad I have a chance to do it,"Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr handed over the water department to the mayor and City Council TuesdayDuggan says better publicizing assitance programs is the biggest priority."I still don't think the people in need h...
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices