The rising cost to defend Wayne County - New York News

The rising cost to defend Wayne County

Posted: Updated:
(Credit: WJBK|myFOXDetroit.com) Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano (Credit: WJBK|myFOXDetroit.com) Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano
DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano finds himself on the defensive as the feds continue to investigate a severance pay scandal. But the county is prepared to pay big money to fight back.

Eight law firms handling issues on a case-by-case basis in the Wayne County severance scandal are charging at least $200 an hour. It's added up and the million dollar tab that is being passed on to taxpayers according to a Detroit News analysis of Bob Ficano's office.

Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton says the Ficano staff has 32 lawyers on board who have handled only a handful of the lawsuits so far.

"I don't know what those 32 attorneys for Wayne County are doing, but they could be working on these cases. It's not unusual for a county or a governmental agency to hire other law firms that have expertise in handling what really amounts to employment issues," Langton said.

According to reports this is the largest bill since the Kwame Kilpatrick text message scandal unfolded. More than a dozen former aides have sued saying they were let go trying to uncover issues while others sue for not getting their severance checks. Ficano's office is fighting these cases calling then frivolous. But why not just settle?

Langton said, "usually if there is a settlement there is some merit, somewhere down the line. And most attorneys want to resolve these cases as opposed to going through the lengthy time and the costly time of going through discovery and the court hearing. Settle the cases, get rid of them which will save the county money in the long run."

A spokesperson for Ficano telling Fox 2 there's a good reason to fight these lawsuits saying many of the employees who are filing suit were at will employees. Many of the lawsuits are won by County.

Meanwhile, Bob Ficano is paying for his own legal fees incurred during the FBI probe surrounding his office. It takes fire to fight fire in this case. "It's just kind of an evil situation here, you have to pay the lawyers to defend these cases and it's going to cost millions of dollars to defend them," Langton said.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Sunday, April 20 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-04-21 02:56:44 GMT
    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had over 300 jumps under his belt.
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had over 300 jumps under his belt.
  • Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.
  • 2 children die in overnight NYC fire

    2 children die in overnight NYC fire

    Sunday, April 20 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-20 22:57:33 GMT
    Police say 4-year-old half siblings have died in an overnight fire at a home in New York City, and the twin of one of the children has survived.
    Police say 4-year-old half siblings have died in an overnight fire at a home in New York City, and the twin of one of the children has survived.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Clutch Cargo's Returns to Religious Roots

    Clutch Cargo's Returns to Religious Roots

    Monday, April 21 2014 3:07 AM EDT2014-04-21 07:07:08 GMT
    Clutch Cargo's, a southeastern Michigan church building that spent several years as a nightclub, reopened as a house of worship on Easter Sunday.
    Clutch Cargo's, a southeastern Michigan church building that spent several years as a nightclub, reopened as a house of worship on Easter Sunday.
  • Easter Sunday benefit for Steve Utash and crime victims

    Easter Sunday benefit for Steve Utash and crime victims

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:46 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:46:19 GMT
    Since his near death beating by a mob, family, friends and total strangers have rallied around Steven Utash. The latest show of support was on Easter Sunday at Bethany Baptist Church in Detroit.
    Since his near death beating by a mob, family, friends and total strangers have rallied around Steven Utash. The latest show of support was on Easter Sunday at Bethany Baptist Church in Detroit.
  • Wanted suspect arrested for high profile crimes

    Wanted suspect arrested for high profile crimes

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:43:01 GMT
    A wanted suspect connected to serious crimes in Metro Detroit is now in custody. Ray Slayton, 47, was arrested Sunday morning at a hotel in Warren on felony drug charges.
    A wanted suspect connected to serious crimes in Metro Detroit is now in custody. Ray Slayton, 47, was arrested Sunday morning at a hotel in Warren on felony drug charges.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices