The rising cost to defend Wayne County - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

The rising cost to defend Wayne County

Posted: Updated:
(Credit: WJBK|myFOXDetroit.com) Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano (Credit: WJBK|myFOXDetroit.com) Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano
DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano finds himself on the defensive as the feds continue to investigate a severance pay scandal. But the county is prepared to pay big money to fight back.

Eight law firms handling issues on a case-by-case basis in the Wayne County severance scandal are charging at least $200 an hour. It's added up and the million dollar tab that is being passed on to taxpayers according to a Detroit News analysis of Bob Ficano's office.

Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton says the Ficano staff has 32 lawyers on board who have handled only a handful of the lawsuits so far.

"I don't know what those 32 attorneys for Wayne County are doing, but they could be working on these cases. It's not unusual for a county or a governmental agency to hire other law firms that have expertise in handling what really amounts to employment issues," Langton said.

According to reports this is the largest bill since the Kwame Kilpatrick text message scandal unfolded. More than a dozen former aides have sued saying they were let go trying to uncover issues while others sue for not getting their severance checks. Ficano's office is fighting these cases calling then frivolous. But why not just settle?

Langton said, "usually if there is a settlement there is some merit, somewhere down the line. And most attorneys want to resolve these cases as opposed to going through the lengthy time and the costly time of going through discovery and the court hearing. Settle the cases, get rid of them which will save the county money in the long run."

A spokesperson for Ficano telling Fox 2 there's a good reason to fight these lawsuits saying many of the employees who are filing suit were at will employees. Many of the lawsuits are won by County.

Meanwhile, Bob Ficano is paying for his own legal fees incurred during the FBI probe surrounding his office. It takes fire to fight fire in this case. "It's just kind of an evil situation here, you have to pay the lawyers to defend these cases and it's going to cost millions of dollars to defend them," Langton said.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 24-year-old women is $66 million jackpot winner

    24-year-old women is $66 million jackpot winner

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:26:09 GMT
    The Michigan Lottery says a Port Huron woman is the winner of a $66 million Mega Millions jackpot that was drawn in mid-June.Kelsey Zachow says in a statement that she "could barely breathe" when she learned she was the winner.
    The Michigan Lottery says a Port Huron woman is the winner of a $66 million Mega Millions jackpot that was drawn in mid-June.Kelsey Zachow says in a statement that she "could barely breathe" when she learned she was the winner.
  • Winner of $66 Million Mega Millions Jackpot to be Announced

    Winner of $66 Million Mega Millions Jackpot to be Announced

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:31 AM EDT2014-07-31 14:31:30 GMT
    Michigan Lottery news conference to announce the winner of the $66 million Mega Millions jackpot from Friday, June 13, 2014.
    Michigan Lottery news conference to announce the winner of the $66 million Mega Millions jackpot from Friday, June 13, 2014.
  • City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:18 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:18:29 GMT
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices