Dan Johnson's attorney bills county attorney's office $15K for l - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Dan Johnson's attorney bills county attorney's office $15K for legal fees

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Metro Councilman Dan Johnson Metro Councilman Dan Johnson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – An attorney for Metro Council member Dan Johnson billed the Jefferson County Attorney’s office more than $15,000 in legal fees during the council’s unsuccessful attempt to remove him.

Attorney Thomas McAdam spent nearly 100 hours working on Johnson’s case and charged $150 an hour, according to invoices obtained by WDRB News under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

In addition, Deborah Kent, the attorney for the council’s charging committee, billed the city more than $30,000, according to the invoices, provided by the county attorney’s office.

The Courier-Journal reported earlier this week that the city was paying McAdam despite a rule saying Johnson should pay for his own defense.

A spokesman for the county attorney’s office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The office told the newspaper this week that late Councilwoman Judy Green's defense attorney in her 2011 removal trial was not paid with public money.

Two years later, according to the Courier-Journal, Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin paid for her own attorney during a trial in which she avoided removal.

McAdam's itemized bill includes time he spent talking to Johnson on the phone and emails to the county attorney's office.

Johnson was allowed to keep his Metro Council seat after the special council court agreed to a settlement instead of removal.

The agreement followed an opinion from the county attorney’s office that Johnson "would likely" ask a Jefferson Circuit Court judge to delay his removal while his attorney could argue, in part, that citizens elected Johnson and removing him was a "disservice to his constituents."

Assistant County Attorney Matt Golden, who wrote the opinion and sat in Metro Council chambers during the proceedings, cited cases in which judges had prevented the removal of elected officials until a case was fully litigated. 

"If a judge were to (stop) Metro Council from filling the District 21 seat, the judge would likely not prohibit Councilman Johnson from sitting as a Councilmember during the pendency of the appeal to avoid disenfranchising his constituents," Golden wrote. 

As part of the agreement, Johnson waived his right to a hearing, admitting that there is enough evidence for his removal. Johnson will be allowed in City Hall only for the 20 minutes before, during and 20 minutes after committee and council meetings. He must stay off the premises at all other times.

Johnson will not be allowed to initiate contact with other council members, other than by phone or email. He cannot attend any "ceremonial functions" outside District 21, the area he represents on Metro Council.

Also, any "intentional or accidental exposure of his genitals or buttock will result in review..."

This story will be updated. 

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