MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - One day after he was fired from city work by Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery, attorney Ricky Wilkins claimed Lowery fired him to gain political attention.
"Myron Lowery is completely ignorant about the deals of this lawsuit," Wilkins said. "Who's side is he really on? That's a question in my mind."
Years ago, Wilkins said, he was hired by the city to handle a decades-long dispute with Beale Street management. Wilkins said he finally scheduled a late-September deposition of Beale Street head John Elkington after years of trying.
"I backed these folks in a corner," he said. "I put them in a box out of which they can't escape. I built the box."
Wilkins claims Beale Street owes the city millions of dollars, plus interest, and Beale Street would have been forced to pay his fees if the city wins.
But Wilkins is off the case, after he was fired by Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
"Legal bills like this are simply outrageous," Lowery said.
Lowery said Wilkins charged city taxpayers some $162,000 for April 2009. Wilkins says $122,000 of that money was used to pay an outside firm to investigate past Beale Street financial dealings.
Lowery also said Wilkins' $35,000 per month retainer is out of line, but Wilkins says the city is getting a deal because he works on other city cases, too
"When you look at the history there is a good and reasonable and solid explanation for why the attorney's fees have gone up," he said.
Wilkins said he believes his firing is politically motivated.
"Things were going just fine until Myron Lowery started to think about the possibility of becoming mayor," he said.
At this point we do not have Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery's reaction to Wilkins statements, but Lowery has said that he is merely trying to save the taxpayers money.