Taxpayers Lose Nearly $10,000 to County Supervisor’s Legal Bills
Today a Milwaukee County Supervisor had a solid victory over the taxpayers.
MILWAUKEE—Today a Milwaukee County Supervisor had a solid victory over the taxpayers.
Supervisor John Weishan billed the county for exorbitant legal fees for his defense against ethics charges that alleged he had improperly sent publicly funded mailings to Waukesha County voters right before he launched a failed 2014 campaign to represent those residents as a partisan state official.
The Milwaukee County Board’s Judiciary, Safety, and General Services Committee, of which Weishan is a member, had sole authority to authorize paying his attorney’s bill.
“The committee ignored whether Supervisor Weishan had followed standard protocol for obtaining legal representation, and whether there were other ways he could have more responsibly paid his legal bills,” said Supervisor Deanna Alexander.
Weishan didn’t opt to follow state guidelines to use his own campaign funds for his legal defense, nor did he request that county attorneys direct him to outside counsel who they could authorize paying reasonable rates.
Supervisor Alexander confirmed directly with county attorneys that if Weishan had sought approved external counsel, they would not have recommended the bill for payment with public tax dollars and would have instead encouraged Weishan to arrange private payment.
“The taxpayers have $9,382 less going toward much-needed public services today because an elected official used poor judgment in how he spent their money to begin with, and then thought best to add insult to injury,” said Supervisor Alexander.
The 4-1-1 vote, (Aye: Broderick, Johnson, Jursik, Rainey, No: Staskunas, Abstain: Weishan) approved paying the legal fees. Because the claim was for less than $10,000, the matter does not require full County Board approval and the committee’s decision is final.
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