A letter from MLGW's top attorney authorized Joseph Lee to hire Robert Spence as outside council to represent him when he appeared before a federal grand jury and the Memphis City Council.
Spence bills $210 an hour. So far, the bill is more than $61,000.
MLGW board member Nick Clark was caught off guard by the attorney fees. "I think there is something definitely amiss in regards to this situation," he said.
Clark didn't know about the bills because neither his board nor the city council had to approve the expense.
The MLGW authorization letter says, "...no single bill may exceed $24,999.00."
That's because any bill greater than $25,000 must get approval.
Clark is not happy with how the process has been handled. "I think the board will need to review its policies in regards to personal service contracts that can be issued independent of board knowledge," he said.
Robert Spence told us he sees no problem in his hiring. In fact, he thinks the whole Ford bill controversy was a fiasco that could have been stopped.
"I don't think the public is going to be angry. Public is angered by fact that 23 months of an issue which is not an issue. It's about a $16,000 bill. How much has been spent by Tom Marshalll on the lawyers he hired?" he said.
It's not clear whether Spence's services are done or if more bills could be in the mail.