New information about investigation into former MLGW head - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New information about investigation into former MLGW head

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - New information has surfaced in a case that turned Memphis City Hall upside down, enraged taxpayers, and led to the resignation of the Former Memphis Light, Gas & Water President Joseph Lee.

On December 19, 2006, former Memphis City Council members Rickey Peete and Edmund Ford, Sr. were indicted for corruption.
    
While Peete went to prison, Ford's case was eventually dismissed, but not without fallout that led to Lee's very public downfall.

The indictment accused Lee of ignoring Councilman Ford's $16,000 overdue utility bill in exchange for votes on the council.

Soon after, Mayor Willie Herenton accepted Lee's resignation.  But 18 months and thousands of taxpayer dollars later, the feds dismissed the case.
    
Now, the Memphis City Council is considering whether MLGW ratepayers should reimburse Lee's $426,422.33 legal bill.
    
But taxpayers actually picked up a $117,362.50 tab to pay Glankler Brown Law Firm to investigate MLGW practices linked to Lee's case. Although the number is less than Lee's bill, the length of time spent on each case tells a different story.
    
Lee's attorneys accrued fees over an 18-month period, from February 20, 2007 to June 26, 2008. But a report commissioned by the previous city council was compiled between February 23 and March 20 of 2007, a period of less than a month.
   
That means taxpayers spent $864.95 per day for the legal bill for a period of just over a year - this versus the $4,513.94 per day for the 26-day investigation.
    
Glankler Brown points out that, in addition to scouring over volumes of materials to draft a 37-page report, the three partners and four associates on the MLGW investigation faced a tight deadline.The price tag also included follow-up reports and several meetings with the previous council that were not calculated into the 26-day investigation.
    
It's only fair to say the council didn't know the case would be dismissed when they commissioned the $117,000 investigation.
    
But some current city council members question why the full council is so hesitant to pay Lee's legal bill, while the previous council didn't hesitate to pay another law firm to investigate him.

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