Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Former Mayor Morris Legal Bills to Town Approaching $70,000

Posted by auroracitizen on February 16, 2011

Mayor Dawe indicated last week that legal bills that have been billed to the Town for the lawsuit by ex-mayor Phyllis Morris are approaching $70,000.

Council is looking for ways to avoid forcing taxpayers to pay for these expenses in what is seen by many as an abuse of power and inappropriate use of tax payers funds.

After a lengthy closed session last Tuesday, Aurora has retained lawyer George Rust-D’Eye as legal counsel to determine the town’s responsibility for the legal bills associated with former mayor Phyllis Morris’ $6-million legal action against 3 private citizens.

Mr. Rust-D’Eye has been charged with examining the Sept. 14 council decision that led to the lawsuit and determining if the contract entered into with the law firm Aird and Berlis was valid.

“Quite frankly, the majority of council feels that this never should have happened in the first place,” Mr. Dawe said. “The town never should have been involved and, therefore, shouldn’t be paying for (the former mayor’s lawsuit).”

Of particular interest will be the impact the fact that Phyllis Morris participated in a discussion that lead a clear financial benefit which would appear to have put her in a clear conflict of interest according to the rules governing this type of behaviour.

The hope is Mr. Rust-D’Eye’s findings will result in the town not having to pay any of the former mayors legal bills. Mayor Dawe indicated that any legal costs connected to getting this legal opinion should be a small fraction of the potential savings.

Only Councillor Wendy Gaertner voted against this week’s motion.

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10 Responses to “Former Mayor Morris Legal Bills to Town Approaching $70,000”

  1. Guy Poppe said

    I await to know why four councilors (Buck, Thompson, Abel and Pirri) voted against the motion to correct an obvious error in the record. Even the Mayor saw this.

  2. Anonymous said

    Interesting approach the Mayor and Council are taking. If the contract is not valid then the Town doesn’t need to pay the law firm’s bills. But if the the contract is valid, in that the Town agreed to pay the former Mayor’s legal expenses in her lawsuit against the AC moderators, then is the Town out of line in cutting off funding? Is that a breach of the contract?

    I would think all concerned should tread carefully, in that they wouldn’t want to be in a position where they disclosed privileged information. Afterall, isn’t Morris the client, regardless of who’s paying the bills .

    • Evelyn Buck said

      For a number of reasons ehich I am not at liberty to disclose, I do not believe taxpayers of Aurora are on the hook for these legal bills.

      Ms Morris has retained her own solicitor as she should have from the beginning.

      Council have directed further legal advice be obtained.

      My position would be to pay nothing. Hit the ball into the other court. Let a judge tell Aurora homeowners. property taxes are intended to pay legal costs to protect thin-skinned politicians from criticism.

    • Anonymous said

      “Council have directed further legal advice be obtained”, Councilor Buck, are you telling me that the actions taken todate by this council were based on legal advice? If that’s the case, why do you need further legal advice? Sounds like you’re wasting taxpayer’s money on lawyers.

      Or is it that the actions this council took, ie cutting off Morris’ legal funding, was done without the benefit of legal advice?

      Which one is it? As a taxpayer, I’d like to know if you’re wasting my tax dollars on lawyers or just wasting my tax dollars?

    • sharon said

      To Anonymous at 12:00,

      Please, these commentS don’t help, nor do they have value to discussion. If you’re not part of the solution…

  3. Anonymous said

    I am thinking that if there is no recourse for us taxpayers to be out of pocket over Phyllis Morris’s ridiculous lawsuit, perhaps we, as a total citizenry, should withold our taxes and simply not pay them.

  4. Anonymous said

    My question is to Phylis: Would you have done the same thing if this was your money?

  5. Anonymous said

    In watching events unfold in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Iran and now Libya, I see no reason why Aurora should not join the list. After all we are being held to ransome by an autocratic former leader (so-called). Perhaps if rational, legal avenues do not make much progress, perhaps we can follow the growing trend of peaceful, organized demonstration. Oh, and let’s not forget that most of it was attributed to social networking media strategies – you know, the stuff that our former mayor is hoping to squash! Egypt could not successfully block internet activity so I think dear old Phyllis, our litigious former mayor, should take note.

    • JOHN H SARGENT said

      TO Anonymous 3.34 pm Hmmmmm peaceful organized demonstration,:) would this halt all the B.S going on in Aurora politics .GOOD THOUGHT

    • Brickbat Returns said

      There must be a sale on paint somewhere.

      Who is good at lettering the signs?

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