Councilman requests outside legal counsel in State of City investigation

Investigation stems from alleged illegal use of city resources to hold address

By Dawn Jorgenson - Web - News Editor
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WARREN, Mich. - Warren Assistant Council Secretary Keith Sadowski has requested authorization to hire independent outside legal counsel in the investigation into Mayor Jim Fouts' 2016 State of the City Address.

The investigation stems from an alleged illegal use of city resources to hold the address.

Sadowski said the inquiry could lead in a criminal investigation that could result in Warren taxpayers taking responsibility for hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil penalties.

He said there are many reasons the matter cannot be delegated to the city attorney's office.

“First, Warren does not have a city attorney. Second, the acting city attorney was unable to stop this event from happening," Sadowski said. "Furthermore, the acting city attorney -- a city employee -- was a donor at the fundraiser in question. Therefore, a public perception problem exists in allowing the city attorney’s office to solely assist in the investigation currently facing the administration. Furthermore, respected outside legal counsel would be best equipped to help protect Warren taxpayers against any potential liability that the City on a whole may face."

Sadowski said he's asking the City Council to authorize the hire for the outside counsel to conduct a fact-finding inquiry to help mitigate the damage, exposure and liability to Warren taxpayers in an extremely time-sensitive matter.

"I am now giving my colleagues an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and protect the interests of Warren residents and taxpayers," Sadowski said. "While there will be a cost associated with hiring an outside firm, it could potentially save the city money in the long run and assist in limiting any further liability and damage."

Public Service Director Richard Sabaugh is also being investigated.

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