Ellisville councilman: 'High probability' city goes bankrupt if Paul draws lawsuit

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by KMOV.com staff / Associated Press

KMOV.com

Posted on June 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 10 at 10:28 PM

ELLISVILLE, Mo. (AP) -- Two months after the Ellisville City Council ousted Mayor Adam Paul, he’s got his job back.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge David Lee Vincent III on Monday put Paul back into office, returning the case to the city council.

Vincent ruled the council failed to give Paul time to prepare a defense, and also cited the fact that the city attorney worked with council members who opposed Paul in preparing the charges.

“The above facts indicate that Paul may have been improperly removed as mayor by the city council,” Vincent said in the ruling.

Paul’s attorney, Chet Pleban, said, “It’s a good-news week.”

A message seeking comment from the city manager was not returned.

Paul was elected in April 2012 after a campaign opposing use of tax subsidies for a Wal-Mart project.

In ousting Paul in April, the council said he failed to control council meetings, gave illegal orders to workers and cited other factors.

Since Paul’s removal in a 5-1 vote on April 8, three new members have joined the Ellisville council. Just two of the five council members who voted to remove him are still part of the council. The new members were elected prior to the ouster vote, but weren’t sworn in until after the vote. Two of the new members were outspoken Paul supporters.

 

Matt Pirrello, a former mayor, has been mayor pro tem since Paul’s ouster. The council voted in May to have a special election in November to fill Paul’s four-year term.

Pleban says the entire proceeding is unconstitutional, as the council is bringing the allegations and yet also acting as judge and jury. He said it doesn’t give the mayor a fair chance to defend himself. 

Paul told News 4’s Lauren Trager the council just wanted him to resign, but he says he was taught not to back away from a fight.

“I’ll continue to do whatever it takes to vindicate myself and if there was any inclination for me to step down I would do that. But if it was any other situation, I would want me to be mayor and so that’s how I look at it."

"It is going to be hard to sit professionally at the dias with people who tried to railroad you," he added. 

Still, Paul insisted he wouldn't hold a grudge.

Pleban also urged the council to stop spending money on the legal battle, saying it has cost the city $100,000. 

However, Pirrello says the city could go bankrupt if Paul returns and continues his opposition of the Walmart development.

"I would almost one hundred percent guarantee that it would result in some sort of a lawsuit against the city," he said. "I would imagine there's a high probabilty it could very well bankrupt this city."


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