After Stamford mayor’s plea, Board of Representatives approve money for outside legal fees


STAMFORD — After Mayor Caroline Simmons accused the Board of Representatives of endangering the city’s legal efforts, the board reversed an earlier decision Monday and approved a transfer of money to the city’s law department.

They did so despite members’ concerns about the department spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an investigation into the Board of Education.

The school board probe and related work, conducted last year by an outside law firm, cost more than $400,000. City representatives have said they were blindsided by the price tag, and some weren’t convinced that such an expensive undertaking was necessary, even though law department officials have argued that the probe potentially saved the city from having to pay millions of dollars in damages.

After months of debate, the Board of Representatives voted 26-10, with two abstentions, Monday night to appropriate $350,000 from the city’s contingency reserve to the law department, which now has racked up more than $200,000 in unpaid bills. The funding request failed to get enough support when it came up for a vote last month, but Simmons pressed the board to reconsider, saying the denial put certain legal efforts in jeopardy.

Officials have said that outside attorneys are currently working on behalf of the city on matters related to zoning, the schools mold crisis and union negotiations, among other issues.


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