Effort to oust Ellisville mayor could cost taxpayers big bucks

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 and KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 4:21 PM

(KMOV) -- The effort to oust Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul mayor could cost taxpayers big bucks.

 

The city council is moving forward with its plan to impeach Paul and is paying a team of attorney’s $200 an hour to handle the process.

Each of the past five years, the city of Ellisville has had to cut its budget. Some of that time, salaries for city employees were frozen. But Ellisville’s part-time city attorney has been paid $474,000 since 2007, $113,000 last year alone.

The ordeal started after Paul campaigned on his opposition to TIF financing for a controversial, proposed new Walmart. It was approved, but in the wake of the vote he was accused of violating the city charter and the council voted to impeach him.

“The current city council has turned that city into a laughing stock and an expensive laughing stock at that,” said Chet Pleban, Paul’s attorney. “So by the time all is said and done this is going to cost the city a small fortune.”

News 4 wanted to ask Ellisville council members about the legal expenses the city will rack up and knocked on five of the six city council members’. We got no response until we got a hold of one by phone.

“Is it fair for the taxpayers to pay for the impeachment proceedings of the mayor,” News 4’s Russell Kinsaul asked Ellisville councilman Matt Pirrello.

“I think we have an obligation to the charter and the taxpayers to fulfill our oath to the charter,” said Pirrello.

Court documents show the three attorneys hired at the impeachment hearing, judge and prosecutors will be paid $200 an hour, but city officials are not flinching at the cost.

While Pirello acknowledges expenses could add up rapidly, he hoped it wouldn’t get to that point.

“I would hope that these proceedings would get over rather quickly,” he said.

 

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