published Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Legal bills for WWTA hit nearly $120,000


by Cliff Hightower
Audio clip

Curtis Adams

PDF: Tennessee infrastructure report

Article: WWTA cedes area to city

PDF: Plumber reimbursement worksheet

Article: Red Bank request could be costly

PDF: Red Bank letter

PDF: Announcement of the $8 fee implementation

Article: Hixson utility to charge WWTA for $8 fee

Article: Hamilton County: Confirmed: $8 sewer fee will start in May

PDF: WWTA brief

Article: East Ridge: WWTA committee turns down proposal for alternative fee

Article: Hamilton County: Residents push for Anderson inquiry

Article: East Ridge: Lower WWTA fee may be option

Article: Hamilton County: WWTA seversties with attorney

PDF: Analysis of the WWTA board’s makeup

Article: Hamilton County: Former WWTA chairmam blames politics for ouster

Article: Signal Mountain sewer moratorium remains

Article: Hamilton County: Official calls for sewer fee revote

Article: Tennessee: WWTA board member wants attorney out

Article:Chattanooga: Wright named to WWTA board

Article: Chattanooga: WWTA chairman Hoss resigns

Article: Chattanooga: Adams declares document fight with WWTA over

Article: Legal bills for WWTA hit nearly $120,000

Article:Chattanooga: WWTA chairman Hoss resigns

PDF: Hoss resignation letter

PDF: Hoss Letter

Article: Hamilton County: Angry residents threaten suit in eminent domain case

Article: Chattanooga: Adams declares document fight with WWTA over

PDF: Mr. Anderson’s bills to the WWTA for the month of July

Article: Hoss works on providing legal accounts for Hamilton county

Article: Signal mountain sewer moratorium remains

Article: Water panel tempers out-of-county expansion

Article: WWTA attorney says he has not resigned from East Ridge post

Article:Hamilton County: Commissioners to wait for WTTA documents, but raise questions

Article:Hamilton County: Chairman rebuts conflict-of-interest questions

Article: Hamilton County: Wastewater authority agrees to produce legal bills

PDF:WWTA accounts

Article: Hamilton County: Adams says latest WWTA document unacceptable

Article: Hamilton County commissioners demand WWTA documents

PDF: Resolution the commission passed

Article: Hamilton County to vote on WWTA records today

PDF: Redacted versions of the legal invoices

PDF: Commissioner Curtis Adams’ letter

Article: Adams unsatisfied with new WWTA documents

PDF:Letter from Commisioner Curtis Adams about the WWTA

PDF: Hamilton county’s Water and Wastewater Treament Authority

PDF: East Ridge invoices from attorney John Anderson

Article:Hamilton County: Attorney bill dispute delayed for two weeks

Article:Hamilton County: Adams pushes vote on WWTA

Article: Hamilton County, water authority continue standoff

Article: Hamilton County Commission defers vote on WWTA records

Article: Hamilton County: Adams pushes vote on WWTA

Article: Hamilton County Commissioner Adams continues fight for WWTA information

Article: Hamilton County Commissioner Adams angered at WWTA

PDF: Commission Resolution

Article: Hamilton County: Adams may take WWTA to court over records

PDF: Wastewater_Authority

Article: Hamilton County WWTA approves $8 monthly fee

PDF: Operating budget analysis

PDF: WWTA opinion

Article:Hamilton County: Wastewater authority plans vote on fee plan

Article: East Ridge residents sour on sewer fee

Article: Hamilton County: Former state representative chides wastewater authority

Article: Hamilton County: Sewer authority may lift hold on fee next month

Article: Wastewater panel draws fire at Red Bank meet

PDF: WWTA Rates

PDF: WWTA

Article: Hamilton County: Wastewater authority spent $54,000 on sewer-laws lobbying

Article: Official calls for sewer fee revote

Article: Lack of oversight of sewer authority rankles some county commissioners

PDF: Commission Chairman Bill Hullander

PDF: Commissioner Curtis Adams

PDF: Red Bank WWTA

Article: Red Bank would take sewers back from county authority

Article: Wastewater, Red Bank officials seek deal on fee

Article: Casavant defends $8 sewer fee

Article: Commissioners ask WWTA for explanation of fee

WHERE THE MONEY WENT

The Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority spent almost $120,000 in legal bills over a 14-month period to attorney John Anderson. The expenses include:

* $2,225: Traveling to Nashville and meeting with Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, and Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, on March 4, 2008.

* $1,312.50: Preparing for a committee meeting on Feb. 7, 2008.

* $1,125: Attending a regularly scheduled board meeting on Nov. 14, 2007.

* $1,062.50: Going to a regularly scheduled business meeting on March 19, 2008.

* $562.50: Attending a luncheon with WWTA Chairman Henry Hoss and other board members on Oct. 24, 2007.

* $562.50: Various telephone conferences over 2.25 hours for Blythe Ferry Sewage Facilities Agreement.

* $367.13: Lunch at the Walden Club on Oct. 4, 2007.

* $193.23: Lunch at the Walden Club on Aug. 24, 2007.

* $55.50: Reviewing an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on June 9, 2008.

Source: Hamilton County WWTA

The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority spent almost $120,000 over a 14-month period on legal bills that included dining, attending routine meetings and reviewing newspaper articles, records show.

“I was very shocked when I found out how much it cost,” County Commissioner Bill Hullander said Friday. “Something needs to be done.”

The County Commission requested itemized legal bills from the treatment authority more than two months ago. The authority twice gave the commission incomplete documents, with details about service expenditures blacked out.

The complete versions of the legal bills finally came in two weeks ago, said Commissioner Curtis Adams, chairman of the Finance Committee. Commissioners could not believe the expenses they found, he said.

“We were all shocked,” he said. “There were a lot of meals at Walden Club for $300.”

John Anderson, the WWTA’s attorney who charged the legal bills, could not be reached for comment. All bills were from Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison P.C., the firm for which Mr. Anderson works.

Henry Hoss, who resigned Monday as chairman of the Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority, also could not be reached.

Don Haynes, the WWTA’s vice chairman, said Friday he would not comment on any of the financial matters because he was only a voting member.

“You need to talk to Mr. Hoss about that,” he said.

Mr. Anderson regularly charged $500 for phone calls, some to Mr. Hoss, the records show. Trips to regularly scheduled board meetings cost more than $1,000 each, records show, while preparation and attending meetings cost $500 to $1,000.

In May 2008, the WWTA received a bill for more than $13,500 for work on a commissioner’s order from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, according to records.

The WWTA has come under scrutiny in the last several months because of questions concerning expenses. The authority hired a $25,000 lobbyist and also faced criticism for hiring Derryberry Public Relations over the summer.

County commissioners criticized the sewer authority for an $8 monthly increase to some customers’ bills. The money is to be used to inspect and repair leaking sewer lines, authority officials have said.

Mr. Hoss submitted his letter of resignation last week, and County Mayor Claude Ramsey is expected to name a new board member this week. County commissioners have said they want someone with financial experience to head the WWTA and that could be County Finance Administrator Louis Wright.

A spokesman for Mr. Ramsey said Friday the mayor was unavailable to comment.

Commission Chairman Jim Coppinger said last week that, to save money, the commission could look at having the county attorney’s office do some work for the WWTA.

“That’s an option,” he said. “You could have our attorney handle that board and other boards, and it would be cheaper than what we’re paying right now.”

Mr. Adams said Mr. Anderson is a good attorney, but that was the problem.

“He just wasn’t the type of attorney they needed,” he said. “He’s too high.”

In the near future, Mr. Adams said he could request legal bills from all of the county’s boards to see how they are handling legal fees. It might be a good time to make sure corrections are made if needed, he said.

“This has been embarrassing to us,” he said.

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aae1049 said...

Can I attend WWTA lunch events as a paid consultant, free lunch at a private club and billable hours, yummmme!!

January 4, 2009 at 4:04 p.m.
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