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West U City Council discusses reimbursement of legal fees

April 11, 2016 By:Jesus Acevedo Jr.

City Council, Community, Local News

City-of-West-University-Place-senior-activities

The West University City Council had a lengthy discussion regarding reimbursement of legal fees incurred by council members who were investigated by the Harris County District Attorney’s investigation into possible Open Meetings Act violations.

Council Member Bob Kelly, who kicked off the discussion, mentioned that it was discovered that there is a gap in the city’s insurance coverage between the levels of investigation as it regards to criminal actions and investigations of city council members.

West University’s insurance coverage relates to matters of an indictment being made on a city council member. The city’s insurance pays up to $10,000 in reimbursement fees, but only when there is an end result to the investigation.

Currently, the city’s insurance coverage begins when criminal charges are brought on against a city council member. Kelly’s suggestion is to close the gap and begin coverage during the investigation stage.

“I have no intent of asking the City of West University Place to reimburse me for consulting an attorney during the investigation stage,” said Kelly, who added that the investigation is over.

Mayor Susan Sample said she doesn’t have any information from the D.A. saying the investigation is close. She added that in speaking with the Assistant D.A. she was told that the investigation, “is not being pursued at this time.”

The mayor said that she’s done grand jury work and these type of investigations can open back up at anytime, “unless you have something in writing saying, ‘we will never prosecute this again’.”

West University City Attorney Alan Petrov, citing an opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, said that a council member under criminal investigation cannot vote on reimbursement payments of his own criminal defense fees or fees of other council members who are subject to the same investigation.

In the end, no action was taken on the discussion. Council member Brennan Reilly requested that city staff research if there is a type of insurance coverage to cover the gap between the levels of investigation.

If no insurance is available, Reilly suggested enacting a policy where, “if a city manager gets a request for reimbursement that they will hold that [request] and bring it to the next city council that is qualified to hear the request.”

 

6 Responses to “West U City Council discusses reimbursement of legal fees”

  1. rodney Says:

    No one will read this. But City Councilmember Brennan Reilly is a self-righteous jerk. He preaches about truthfulness and openness, but he is the least transparent council member ever for West U. I don’t think he should get indicted, but I do think he is ineffective and morally corrupt.

  2. Roger Says:

    Tell me again, I missed it? Why did Bob Kelly and Brennen Rilley need to both hire a criminal attorney? Each said there was no merit to the investigation (the same thing Charles Manson’s attorney said prior to trial). Both Brennen and Bob Kelly said there was no basis for the DA’s investigation. So why did they need Criminal Attorneys?

    Is their best hope to get off on a technicality? Why the hired guns? Why hire a criminal attorney if they did nothing wrong?

    • Anonymous Says:

      Manson? Really? You can’t seriously be comparing our city council to a mass murderer.

  3. Another disgusted voter Says:

    The DA’s investigation is NOT closed, it is just not being pursued at this time. When a city manager, with a good record and good evaluations, is fired (citizens were informed the city manager would be terminated prior to the election), this should be investigated. “Anonymous” should NOT come forward. Every citizen has a right to voice their concerns, and to contact the DA if they believe it is warranted. Tax payers should NOT pay for mistakes of the mayor or city council members! Tax payers should not be punished for bad decisions of corrupt leadership.

  4. Disgusted voter Says:

    What happened to the city council’s intention to enforce parking laws in West U? Looks like residents will continue to complain about cars parked on the sidewalk – and council will do nothing about it. Clowns. While cities around the world are taking steps to improve accessibility for handicapped people, West U council is determined to make life more difficult for our handicapped residents – including the child of a councilmember. West U should be ashamed and embarrassed.

    • Sidewalk Parking Says:

      It was my understanding that the former city manager instructed the police department to not enforce the sidewalk law. I am out and about on foot in the neighborhood all the time. I don’t believe folks think about it. They often pull in their driveways, park across the sidewalk and wave. What warning tickets?

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