By John Hubbuch
" There must be some way outta here said the joker to the thief. There's too much confusion. I can't get no relief." All Along The Watch Tower. Jimi Hendrix.
Yesterday I got my e-mail update that the combined bill for the self-immolating litigation between the Village and the school disrticts now totals $648,000 That was a shock. It seems like only a few months ago that we were only at $100,000. How time flies when high-priced lawyers,$500 an hour mediators and indifferent ,secretive elected representatives are having fun.
And it's not like we couldn't use the dough on other things. Maybe that money could be used by the schools to help the kids that are at risk, or to wage war on drugs. Maybe the Village could use the money to buy more beet juice for the predicted harsh winter. Almost anything would be better than helping the lawyers draw farther a head in the race to 1%.
But the most maddening thing about this whole debacle is the litigants' unwillingness to let us the taxpayers know just what is going on. Hiding behind privilege and confidentiality the tax payers who fund this litigation never know what the suit is about except in the most vague and general terms. No doubt there are competing versions of the truth, but we don't know any of them. Remember the litigants to this dispute can waive the privilege. It is not required. If there was ever a case for such waiver, then this one is it! I've always suspected if we could see the memos and bills that underlie this case, then members of the public would figure this out and shine the antiseptic light of day on this sewage and clean it up. I for one would like to know how even creative lawyers can spend $648,000 on legal fees without taking a deposition, hiring an expert witness or doing any trial preparation. What are the hourly rates? Is there a litigation budget? Why wasn't this submitted to binding arbitration at the out set? So many questions. No answers.
It's just wrong to spend that much money litigating an issue that practically speaking has no impact on the tax payers bottom line with no explanation whatsoever as to why it need be so. I'm thinking about voting against anyone who has had anything to do with this $648,000 mess. That might be stupid, but I know I'll feel better.