Law firm’s fees rile Broadview board

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Kevin Beese

BROADVIEW |  Legal fees continue to be a point of contention among Broadview village officials.  Part of the ongoing disagreement lies in the previous trustees’ use of a second law firm to represent their interests, where that firm’s responsibilities in representing trustees ends, and if the trustees — most of them who are still on the Village Board — have a right to continued representation from the firm, at village expense, in litigation.

The Ancel Glink law firm was hired to represent a majority of the former trustees who felt the village’s former law firm, Fornaro Law, was representing former Mayor Sherman Jones’ interests and not theirs.  That difference was extended when each side filed suit against the other over actions taken.  Ancel Glink was hired to provide legislative counsel for Trustees Tara Brewer, Judy Brown-Marino, John Ealey and Diane Little. Defeated in the spring election, Little is no longer on the board, but Brewer, Brown-Marino and Ealey remain.  When control of the board shifted from the Better Broadview Party to the Broadview People’s Party with the election of Mayor Katrina Thompson and her slate, the new board majority determined that the village would no longer retain the services of Ancel Glink as legislative counsel for the trustees.

“We are no longer paying Ancel Glink. Why are they still showing up in the findings of fact?” Trustee Verina Horne, a member of the People’s Party, asked at the Aug. 21 Village Board meeting when a bill for the law firm was presented. “They are no longer serving as a law firm for the village. We said we would not pay them anymore in May; and yet they are in front of us again.”

Jones said that the village has ended its dealings with Ancel Glink and that the law firm should not be acting as legislative counsel at village expense.  “They have no authority to act as legislative counsel,” Jones said. “We are not paying for another litigator. Several times since May we have seen bills from them and they include actions after May, past the time we terminated their agreement.”

The village current legal representation is Delgaldo Law.  Mayor Katrina Thompson said she has continued to provide the Ancel Glink bills to trustees to get their input on just what should be done with the invoices.  The board has taken two actions to cut Ancel Glink from village representation – that May action to end the firm’s time as “legislative counsel” and again in August when the majority of the board voted that the village will not cover the legal expenses of trustees’ legal fees in cases against former Mayor Jones and current Mayor Katrina Thompson.

Ancel Glink represents the trustees in the legal cases.  However, both the former and current mayor’s legal expenses in the cases will be picked up by the village.  When in the board majority, Brewer, Brown-Marino, Ealey and Little cut the salaries of two of Jones’ department heads. Jones reinstated the salaries of the two department heads, friends of his, without board approval, the trustees contend.  The trustees have added current Mayor Thompson to the suit, noting she has been made aware of Jones’ action in hiking the department heads’ salaries and went along with the action, still paying them at the higher rate.

Broadview People’s Party trustees have questioned how Ancel Glink was acting as “legislative counsel” on invoice items such as conferring with trustees about election results.  Brown-Marino said she would address issues with how Ancel Glink was acting as legal counsel for the group of trustees pitted against Jones on various issues but has not been able to access bills as the mayor has changed the locks limiting trustees’ access to the bills and requires trustees to set up appointments with her to view the invoices.

“If I could see the items, I could try to address them,” Brown-Marino said at the late August meeting.

Jones said invoices are available to all trustees equally.  “The invoices are available,” Jones said. “There is no excuse for not reviewing them in the conference room.”

Trustee Judy Abraham agreed.  “I think it’s of fundamental importance that trustees are responsible and come into the office to look at the bills,” Abraham said.

Brewer said something needs to be worked out regarding payment to Ancel Glink.  “We all need to come to an agreement,” Brewer said.

“It was passed that we were done paying them,” Trustee Horne said.

Voting to not pay a total of $22,867 in invoices from Ancel Glink and AB Brown, an electrical firm the village contends did unauthorized work on a village project, were Trustees Abraham, Horne and Jones, and Mayor Thompson.  Voting to pay the bills as presented were Trustees Brewer, Brown-Marino and Ealey.

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