I don't want to pay Rick Mariano's legal billsAnd neither should you. In case you missed it, City Councilman Rick Mariano is under investigation for having a private company pay of his credit card bills when City Council was not getting its regular paychecks. And, of course, gets who gets to foot the bill for his legal defense?
From the Daily News
:As a somber Mariano, dressed in black, departed City Hall yesterday afternoon, he repeated his mantra "No comment, no comment" when asked whether the money for his legal bills would come out of his pocket, his campaign fund or city coffers.We have already shelled out 2.8 million dollars in the probe legal defense bills, mostly to people such as George Burrell. Now we are going to be hit with Mariano's bills, as well? Thankfully, if he gets indicted, we may get all firm, and put our foot down:
But later, Frank Keel, Mariano's media specialist, whose fees are paid out of Mariano campaign funds, said, "It's our understanding and expectation that the councilman's legal bills will be paid by the city, but as of yet he hasn't received any bills."
Asked whether the city would continue to pay Mariano's legal bills if he were convicted of a crime, Diaz said the city would drop its coverage much earlier, at the point of indictment.Legal bills, libraries. Legal bills, rec centers. Legal bills, cops on the street. I'm glad we choose legal bills.
But if an indictment or conviction occurs and it's clear the public official was not acting "within the scope of his employment," does the city seek to recoup the money it has already paid out?
"I don't think we've addressed that issue," Diaz said yesterday. "I'd need to reflect on that."
Last year, during city budget hearings, the issue was posed to then-city solicitor Pedro Ramos by Councilman Michael Nutter.
Ramos said assuming the official had not been acting within the scope of his job, "I'd probably argue that we have a claim going backwards."
Whether the city would file suit to get those attorney's fees back is a "litigation decision," Ramos said, in part based on the cost of litigation.
As part of the package of ethics bills submitted to Council last fall, Nutter offered a bill that would require elected officials to file a public request for legal representation.
The bill, which is stalled in committee, also enables the city to seek reimbursement if the official is convicted or if the city solicitor determines the improper acts were outside the scope of official employment.