MLGW could pay Lee more than lawsuit asked for - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

MLGW could pay Lee more than lawsuit asked for

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Former utility president Joseph Lee sued MLGW last July after he was indicted on federal bribery and extortion charges and MLGW refused to pay for his lawyer.

In the lawsuit, Lee asked for $61,000 to cover the cost of legal representation during a federal investigation.  The feds wanted to know why Lee allowed former city councilman Edmund Ford to delay payment on a $16,000 utility bill. 

Thursday, the MLGW board agreed to pay Lee a $489,000 settlement.  How did the figure go from $61,000 to almost half a million?

Friday, an MLGW spokesperson said Lee's lawsuit asked for expenses incurred before he resigned as president of MLGW.  But the suit also provided for an undetermined dollar amount incurred after Lee's departure. MLGW's Chris Stanley says,

"Obviously, the majority of expenses occurred after he left," MLGW spokesperson Chris Stanley said.

Lee used his own attorney, Robert Spence, from February 2007 to June 2008.  If Spence worked every day on the case, including weekends, he would have averaged a fee of $895 a day. 

In the end, after the money was spent, neither case made it to court.  Lee decided to drop the lawsuit against MLGW after federal prosecutors dropped their case against him.

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