City, county combine for $168,076 in attorney fees in 2014

Published 5:35 pm Friday, January 9, 2015

Decatur County and the City of Bainbridge paid a combined $168,076 in legal expenses from Jan. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014.

The year saw Decatur County and the City of Bainbridge butt heads over disagreements surrounding Service Delivery Strategy and an alleged double taxation by the county within city limits.

Additionally, Decatur County took on covering legal expenses for a group of federally indicted employees who were allegedly involved in the beating of BikeFest 2012 attendee Ronnie Aaron Parrish and an ensuing cover up.

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The county by itself accounts for $121,008 in attorney fees.

Then Decatur County attorney Brown Moseley was paid $58,591 for retainer and general legal services. This total excludes December because services for that month have not been invoiced. Moseley withdrew his name for potential 2015 appointment as Decatur County attorney. A new county attorney is expected to be named at the county commission meeting next Tuesday.

Polsinelli PC, an Atlanta-based law firm, billed Decatur County a total of $28,477. Ken Hodges III of Polsinelli is representing Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin, III, who has not been indicted.

Josh Bell, the attorney representing indicted DCSO captain Elizabeth Croley, has billed Decatur County a total of $28,940.

Croley, along with Wiley Griffin, IV, Robert Wade Umbach and Christopher Kines, were indicted July 9. The Board of Commissioners voted to pay for the legal fees of Croley, Umbach and Kines on July 22, with Griffin III announcing his family’s intentions to cover Griffin, IV’s legal counsel. Umbach and Kines are being provided court appointed attorneys.

Additionally, Parrish has filed a civil lawsuit against Decatur County, the four indicted individuals and Griffin, III. The county’s liability insurance carrier is providing legal representation in the civil case.

Harrell and Lewis LLC of Camilla has also billed Decatur County $5,000 for representing former DCSO employee Rachel Trolinger in a criminal case.

The City of Bainbridge paid a total of $47,069 in 2014.

They paid Bainbridge attorney Tom Conger $6,360 for working on retainer and providing general legal services.

Bainbridge’s biggest legal expense is for Smith Welch Webb & White, amounting to $36,270. The McDonough law firm was hired by the city to perform an analysis of various documents from Decatur County. The goal was to determine if city residents were being double taxed form services they aren’t receiving.

They paid attorney David Kendrick of Floyd & Kendrick LLC $4,439 for additional service delivery counsel.