Knox County has sued itself and spent nearly $1 million on legal fees, according to KnoxNews.com.
The attorneys who did legal work on the case, as the website went on to say, are coming out of this quite well.
This, of course, is all taxpayer money.
According to Knox News, the suit pitted the Knox County Law Department against the county’s pension board and a few Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies approved to receive benefits under the county retirement plan.
“The Law Department sought to reverse a longstanding pension board process and require the board to calculate pensions on base salary and not total compensation (such as vacation pay) in accordance with changes to the county charter,” the website reported.
“That ultimately translated to reduced pension benefits.”
Authorities ruled the Knox County Law director couldn’t press on with the lawsuit.
But, as the website went on to say, “the bills are still racking up.”
County officials have announced they’ll pay $97,500 to settle attorney fees for the deputies the county sued, according to KnoxNews.com.
“Attorneys Herb Moncier and Al Holifield originally asked for $190,000, but the county litigated down the amount,” the website reported.
“In all, the county has legal fees adding up to approximately $985,500 — with more to come.”
“The law director’s office, represented by Egerton McAfee Armistead & Davis, has been billed roughly $285,000 while the pension board, which is represented by three law firms, has billed the county about $565,000, according to county finance director Chris Caldwell,” Knox News reported.
“Another $3,000 will be paid to a mediator for the class of employees and the county has agreed to reimburse employees for legal fees for roughly $17,000.”
The final amount will cross the $1 million mark and include still-to-come court costs and one more bill from Arnett, Draper and Hagood for the settlement hearings, the website reported.
“This lawsuit put an unnecessary strain on our county government, our Sheriff’s office and our taxpayers,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs in a press release.
“I’m glad to see it finally resolved and that the deputies, as well as their families, will get what was promised to them.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Knox County Courthouse” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 3.0.