LIVONIA (WWJ) – Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano is asking commissioners for more taxpayer money to fund a criminal defense attorney to help comply with eight federal subpoenas involving the $200,000 severance paid to Turkia Mullin.
Commissioner Laura Cox of Livonia wants to reject Ficano’s request.
“One, I don’t know why we have a criminal lawyer representing the county. We have a corporate counsel that’s very efficient and I think that they can handle it properly by themselves. And number two, it’s a huge burden on the taxpayers for some problems with the ways the county has been running, and I don’t think that’s right at all,” said Cox.
The FBI subpoenas were served on eight county departments in October, and Attorney Thomas Cranmer began working for the county on the subpoenas under a $50,000 contract. Ficano wants commissioners to extend that contract to $350,000.
Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak said he make it clear to Ficano that he should come to the commission before spending one penny more than the $50,000.
“The Commission will decide whether it’s in the taxpayers’ best interest to be represented like that. It’s not at all uncommon for the county to contract out for outside counsel for specialized matters, whether it’s union litigation or other matters that we’ve had over the years. This is no different than that, expect it’s higher profile,” said Woronchak.
Commissioners are questioning Cranmer and Ficano’s staff Wednesday and then they will vote on Ficano’s request before the holiday break.