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>>

  • Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:11:38 GMT
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
  • New MTA bus routes take effect

    New MTA bus routes take effect

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:51:36 GMT
    MTAMTA
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
  • 3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:47:41 GMT
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Minimum wage hike launches this Labor Day

    Minimum wage hike launches this Labor Day

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:30 AM EDT2014-09-01 11:30:54 GMT
    Minimum wage workers across metro Detroit and the rest of the state are getting a small raise this Labor Day.
    Minimum wage workers across metro Detroit and the rest of the state are getting a small raise this Labor Day.
  • All you need to know: Arts, Beats and Eats 2014

    All you need to know: Arts, Beats and Eats 2014

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-09-01 11:28:22 GMT
    Celebrating its 17th year and returning to the bustling streets of Royal Oak from Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, Ford Arts, Beats Eats presented by FirstMerit Bank will entertain thousands of visitors from across the region with its outstanding music line-up, stellar arts programming, mouthwatering selection of food, and a number of new attractions this Labor Day weekend.
    Celebrating its 17th year and returning to the bustling streets of Royal Oak from Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, Ford Arts, Beats Eats presented by FirstMerit Bank will entertain thousands of visitors from across the region with its outstanding music line-up, stellar arts programming, mouthwatering selection of food, and a number of new attractions this Labor Day weekend.
  • VP Joe Biden speaking in Detroit on Labor Day

    VP Joe Biden speaking in Detroit on Labor Day

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:19 AM EDT2014-09-01 11:19:13 GMT
    Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to be in Detroit on Labor Day for the second time in three years.
    Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to be in Detroit on Labor Day for the second time in three years.
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 | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices