Saturday, August 05, 2006

Councilmen Charge Williams Exploits Laws For Self Benefit

By Tony Brockmeyer

In a manner reminiscent of when President Clinton remarked, “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” and when President Nixon told the the nation, “I am not a crook” Alan Williams shouted to Councilman John Gieseke at a recent Council meeting, “I have done nothing illegal.”

Gieseke was troubled when he learned Williams had contacted the Errors and Omissions Insurance Carrier for the City on July 11th and asked them to provide legal representation for himself (Williams) the Mayor and Councilmen Kneemiller and Weller. The matter involved a lawsuit that former Special City Counsel Eric Tolen had filed against the four when they refused to pay $14,000 in legal bills for work Tolen had done for the Council.

Gieseke remarked, “I thought we had passed a law that the Council was to approve attorneys and it seems to me this is just another way our City Administrator is circumventing the law because they knew they would not get any representation for a $14,000 suit that we have already spent a tremendous amount of money defending them. And instead of settling it we are going to fight. Now we are going to go and try to fight it again instead of just settling it the way it should be done in the first place. The guy did the work he should get paid. Now we have our City Administrator asking our insurance carrier to defend them but when it was Councilman Brown he would not let him go over $20,000. We have a lot of rules for the Council but when it comes to Dr. Williams it seems he just goes around all the rules so he can get what he wants. We had this before, this same lawsuit before; you guys took a vote to get your defense from the Council. Now we have this lawsuit again and since you know you can’t get the votes you are doing it this way. This isn’t right and for anybody to sit up here and say this is right you need to look in a mirror and see if you are actually representing the people because this right here is wrong. “

In response to questioning by Gieseke, City Attorney Mike Valenti admitted the Council had an ordinance requiring Council approval for legal counsel and also admitted Councilman Brown when sued by developer Michael Sellenschuetter for refusing to allow his county development to hook up to City water and sewer, was required to obtain permission for his legal representation. He couldn’t go to the insurance company for Errors & Omissions. coverage

Councilman Gieseke said, “People need to know when our insurance rates go up or we can’t get insurance it’s based off a $14,000 legal bill we owe a guy. That is what it comes down to and if you check the legal bills from the last time I guarantee you it is more than $14,000.”

Williams told Gieseke, “I did nothing illegal. Gieseke responded, “Then I need to know why the last time you asked for it from the Council? You knew you weren’t going to get it this time. You knew the votes weren’t there so you did it this way. You didn’t do it this time but you certainly did it last time. To dance around ethics and morality and the law it is amazing how they do it here at City Hall. It works one way for one person and another way for another person. If you are not on his (referring to Williams) good side, I’ll tell you guys you don’t want to get on his bad side because you are going to get screwed.”
Councilman Mark Brown had stepped out to meet with a constituent during the discussion. He was later interviewed by the FCN. Brown said, “I was outraged when I found out what was happening and Mr. Williams and his co-conspirators should be charged. They never seem to stop when it comes to misappropriating taxpayers money. If the City only had the money that Williams has squandered since he has been here we could lower the property tax and provide free trash pickup for our residents.”