Legal

Hillsborough County, Florida (population 1,229,226): Hillsborough County’s former administrator and former attorney should be paid back for legal fees they amassed defending themselves from a criminal investigation. Commissioners have previously indicated they expect to have to pay the legal bills of both former County Administrator Pat Bean and former County Attorney Renee Lee. But they had asked that an outside legal expert be consulted to determine whether the fees are reasonable. Bean is seeking about $51,000. Lee is seeking just more than $81,000. Bean was fired in June 2010 by commissioners, who ultimately found she improperly gave herself and Lee 1 percent pay raises three years earlier that Lee said were allowable. Lee’s contract was terminated a year later for what commissioners characterized as a series of poor judgment calls, including having lunch with former Commissioner Kevin White, whom the county is suing.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated both over the raises and allegations that they had improperly accessed e-mails of the auditor who unearthed them. The 15-month investigation concluded it could not be proved that either had done anything criminal, while finding both had acted with poor judgment.

Commissioners agreed initially to pay Bean $191,737 in unused sick and vacation pay when they fired her, but not the full year of pay and benefits her contract stipulated if she was fired for a reason short of committing an illegal act. She asked for the rest when the FDLE concluded its investigation, which the board denied her, so she’s suing the county for the $263,496 balance, plus interest. When she was forced out in June, Lee agreed to accept a payout of half of her severance guarantee, which was just more than $300,000. The legal fees are separate from those payouts. Read more at TampaBay.com.

Homestead, Florida (population 55,074): Former Homestead Deputy City Manager Johanna Faddis last week filed a lawsuit against the City of Homestead and six sitting city council members. Faddis claims the city and council violated her privacy when they released copies of private e-mails and text messages that included untoward and unwanted advances from former City Manager Mike Shehadeh. The suit seeks compensatory damages from all parties. Faddis claims that the City of Homestead was negligent when it distributed electronic copies of Shehadeh’s e-mail, text and BlackBerry PIN messages to six council members in 2010. The city had previously terminated Faddis due to “reduction in force.” The messages then appeared in several local news outlets. Additional counts in the lawsuits name Waldman for defamation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress due in part to the vice mayor’s ongoing communications with the media. Specifically, the suit states that, “Waldman’s statements to the Miami Herald implied and created the reasonable inference of an inappropriate relationship between the plaintiff and Mike Shehadeh, and Waldman’s statements in this regard caused the plaintiff injury and/or damage.” Read more on Market Watch.

Ventnor, New Jersey (population 10,650): A former Upper Township mayor and Ventnor city administrator was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison Wednesday for stealing $458,000 during the 15 years he was Frank LoBiondo’s campaign treasurer. Andrew McCrosson, 60, admitted in March he wrote himself checks while he controlled two bank accounts for the Republican congressman’s campaign starting in 1995 and ending when he was replaced in 2010. Upon release from prison he must serve three years of parole supervision and complete 100 hours of community service within the first year. He also must pay restitution. Read more on pressofAtlanticCity.com.

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