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Clayton lawyers, PR firm big winners in Ellisville impeachment

5:00 PM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
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By Leisa Zigman, I-Team Reporter

ELLISVILLE, Mo. (KSDK) - As Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul fights for his political life, NewsChannel 5's I-Team spent the day looking at how much the impeachment process is costing Ellisville taxpayers.

A marathon hearing was held Monday evening that lasted five hours and another hearing is set for Tuesday night.

John Maupin, the hearing officer, charges $200 per hour. Ellisville taxpayers are also paying $200 an hour for two Clayton attorneys, including prosecutor Keith Cheung. That means city taxpayers spent a minimum of $3,000 in legal fees for Monday night's five-hour hearing.

That number does not include the cost to have eight Ellisville police officers on duty. The I-Team has been told by a city official part of those police hours were likely overtime. In addition, a court reporter was hired.

Earlier in March, Ellisville city officials retained the Clayton based public relations firm of Casey Communications. The firm is supposed to help the city communicate its message that this fight is about protecting the city's charter which is against a strong mayor form of government.

In fact, the impeachment centers on the charge that Mayor Adam Paul abused his authority.

The first PR official charges $210 an hour, the second charges $230 an hour and if they consult with each other on the project, taxpayers will fork up $440 an hour to communicate the city council's position.

When the I-Team called Casey Communications for a statement about all the money being spent, we were told city officials do not want to try the impeachment hearing in the media so there would be no statement.  City officials were telling the communications company they hired not to commuicate. 

The I-Team made a formal request to Ellisville officials for any and all documents relating to fees associated with the impeachment hearing. By law, city officials have three days to respond.

This case is far from over. If the mayor is impeached, the case will end up in circuit court. It may also end up in civil court if Adam Paul decides to sue city officials for damage to his reputation.

The longer this case goes on, the higher the legal bills and cost to taxpayers.

Chet Pleban, Paul's attorney, would not disclose his hourly rate. However, he said his office has been receiving unsolicited funds to help pay for the mayor's defense. 

 

KSDK

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