Questions surround who will pay Lee's legal bills

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Joseph Lee's legal bill is more than 60 pages deep, and it's price tag is more than $426,000.

It's a bill the Memphis City Council won't pay.

"What got him indicted, and he admitted it, was beyond the scope of his authority as president of MLGW, and therefore, not related to his job as president of MLGW," council member Jim Trickled said Wednesday.  "So I think that took it out of the MLGW realm and into his personal pocket."

In February 2007, Joseph Lee was indicted on charges he allowed city councilman Edmund Ford to slide on a 16-thousand-dollar utility bill.  Lee later resigned his post.

In June 2008, federal prosecutors dropped the case.  Lee sued MLGW, but offered to drop the suit if the utility paid his lofty legal fees.

A Memphis City Council committee recommended the city pay the fees, but the full council failed to pass the measure.

MLGW officials say the utility is through with the process, and the legal bill is a matter between the City Council, Lee, and his attorneys.

Now, the City Council says it is through with the process, too.

Unless, of course, Lee and his attorneys re-kindle the original lawsuit against the utility.

Lee is back working for the city of Memphis as Deputy Director of Park Services.  Both Lee, and his attorney, Robert Spence, were unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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