MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Thousands of documents in dozens of boxes, representing years of work, were removed from the office of attorney Rickey Wilkins on Friday.
"These documents are historical records of the city of Memphis," Wilkins said.
It took an entire room in Wilkins' law office to hold files relating to the case of Beale Street versus the city of Memphis. But Friday, a courier picked up every last document. Wilkins has been replaced by the law firm of Baker Donnelson.
"Here we are six months away from trial, and the city decides it wants to move in another direction," Wilkins said.
It was a decision made by Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery.
"I don't have to defend what I've done," Lowery said. "The public knows that the legal fees were extremely excessive."
Since August of 2007, the city of Memphis has been paying Wilkins an average of $35,000 a month to intensify his efforts to win back millions of dollars that he believes Beale Street management owes the city.
"I have this lawsuit tee'd up to be won," Wilkins said.
But now, he said, it will take more time and money for a new firm to comb through a mountain of records.
"Fees will likely be no less than mine - possibly greater," Wilkins said.
Wilkins added that Lowery doesn't know how close he was to winning the case.
"Myron Lowery has not once asked me a single question about this lawsuit since he's been Mayor Pro Tem," he said.
"This case has been dragging on in the courts for much too long," Lowery said. "That will happen quickly - we will either settle or we will have a trial."
A trial Wilkins claims he was prepared to win.