Joseph Lee's legal fees are still an issue

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery wants to sue the former president of MLGW to recoup some of the 426-thousand tax dollars spent on Joseph Lee's legal fees.

The Mayor Pro Tem said the court action is nothing personal, but threw explosive accusations at former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton. "This is all entangled in a web of mess. That's the only way I can describe it," Lowery said.

He said a 426-thousand dollar legal bill was too much. That's how much the city paid for former MLGW president Joseph Lee's year and a half public corruption case. Now Lowery wants to sue and said he is "seeking to enter this court action on behalf of the city to try to recoup some of the funds."

He then blasted former Mayor Willie Herenton: "This is one of the reasons the former mayor delayed his retirement. I think what he did was wrong."

Lowery also pointed out Herenton's relationship with Lee's attorney, Robert Spence. "The mayor didn't require anything of Mr. Spence who, by the way, happened to be his personal attorney that he paid other funds for representing him on a personal matter that he said was a city matter."

Lowery said Herenton was supposed to settle, meaning compromise, but said Herenton paid the whole amount. Lowery admitted some of the funds were justified, but maintained "the legal bills were highly inflated." He also acknowledged the feds dismissed Lee's case.

"I personally have no animosity toward Mr. Lee at all. He's a fine man who suffered extreme hardship. This lawsuit is not about him. It's about high-priced attorney bills that are imply unjustified." Lowery said it's up to a judge to say how much he should recoup. The 426-thousand dollars went to two attorneys and covered expenses.

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