Posted: Oct. 22, 2002

WILMINGTON -- Republican Party Chairman Everett Moore called on New Castle County Council to stop allowing taxpayer money to be used for illegitimate legal fees.

“It has come to my attention that this government has now spent more than $116,000 on private attorneys so far this year – and unless someone takes action, we could see hundreds of thousands of more dollars illegally taken from the taxpayers and handed to out-of-state trial lawyers,” Chairman Moore said.

“The amount of money this administration has wasted is staggering,” Chairman Moore said. “By my estimate, the County could have hired three new police officers for the amount they have spent in legal fees in an attempt to cover up wrongdoings and questionable actions.” 

In January, money was transferred to the County’s General Insurance program to pay $91,000 to Richard Wier, an attorney representing a former County employee. 

Months later, the County issued two checks to Kirkland and Ellis – a Washington, D.C.-based law firm – for a total of $25,368.37. The invoices referenced “Defamation Counseling.” 

“While the County has not released specific information about the reason behind the $25,000 legal bill, I find it interesting that the County would hire the same attorney who successfully sued the News Journal’s parent company, Gannett, to the tune of $10 million,” Chairman Moore said. “I know if I wanted to get the media to leave me alone, I’d want to have an attorney with that kind of reputation working for me – especially if I could get the taxpayers to pick up the $25,000 tab.” 

Chairman Moore said New Castle County taxpayers may now have to pay three Washington-based lawyers an estimated $700 an hour – in violation of County Code – if no one is willing to enforce the law.  

“Tom Gordon chose the husband and wife team of Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, whose web site proudly states the firm has particular expertise in high-profile, media-driven matters requiring special legal and press skills and that it represents individuals in such criminal matters as public corruption and ethics,” Chairman Moore said. 

Moore said the idea of potentially sending $28,000 a week of taxpayer money to Washington lawyers should outrage the people of New Castle County. 

“I call on the members of County Council to refuse payment to these Washington-based lawyers,’” Chairman Moore said. 

“If County Council is unwilling to meet their obligation to the public, then the Republican Party will have no choice but to seek Court intervention on behalf of the hard-working men and women of this County,” he said.