Council says ‘no’ to appeal of ruling on open records case


The council did vote NOT to proceed with an appeal of the judges ruling against the city in an open records case.  The ruling found the city violated the Open Records Law by not releasing records of closed meetings concerning the settlement of the Emergency Medical Service fraudulently billing of Medicare and Medicaid lawsuit.                                                                                                Read more after ‘more’ and a link is included to a conversation at the meeting concerning the issue of conflict of interest that was raised at the previous meeting

That settlement was to pay back the federal government 4 and a half million dollars in the whistle-blower lawsuit.

The council voted 6 to 1 to NOT appeal the ruling with Paul Gassman the lone no vote.

In a separate resolution the council approved payment of about 40-thousand dollars in attorney fees of the plaintiffs in that case.  Gassman and O’Neill voted no.

Council member Ed O’Neill had been a member of the Citizens For Open Government group who filed the lawsuit and when the question about whether to appeal came up-the city sought an opinion about any conflict of interest.  Local attorney Drew Chambers gave the city an opinion that O’Neill and council member John Rowland, who had also been a member of C-FOG, had a conflict of interest.  At the last committee of the whole session both denied they had a conflict.

At the meeting last night-Mayor Mark Vulich mentioned that issue-followed by comments from Ed O’Neill and city legal counsel John Frey.