The rising cost to defend Wayne County - FOX 32 News Chicago

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>>

  • Renisha McBride's family leaves courtroom as photos are shown

    Renisha McBride's family leaves courtroom as photos are shown

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:29:16 GMT
    On day two of the trial for Renisha McBride's shooting death, the final hours of her life and the moments after her death were detailed in court. Thursday the jury heard what Ted Wafer, her accused killer, told police about the shooting that night.  
    On day two of the trial for Renisha McBride's shooting death, the final hours of her life and the moments after her death were detailed in court. Thursday the jury heard what Ted Wafer, her accused killer, told police about the shooting that night.  

  • Romulus teen dies after crashing car during police chase

    Romulus teen dies after crashing car during police chase

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:43 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:43:30 GMT
    An 18-year-old man is dead after a police chase ended in a crash. The chase ended on Beverly Street in Romulus.
    An 18-year-old man is dead after a police chase ended in a crash. The chase ended on Beverly Street in Romulus.
  • Science lover looking for a place to call home

    Science lover looking for a place to call home

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:34:22 GMT
    Right now, about 300 children in Michigan are waiting to be adopted. Many of them are teens.One of the is Marvin, whose love for science goes to infinity and beyond. He's been in foster care for a long time but he still dreams of finding a place to call home.
    Right now, about 300 children in Michigan are waiting to be adopted. Many of them are teens.One of the is Marvin, whose love for science goes to infinity and beyond. He's been in foster care for a long time but he still dreams of finding a place to call home.
Powered by WorldNow

205 N. Michigan Avenue
Ground Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Station Operator: (312) 565-5532
Newsroom: (312)565-5533

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