LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A panel of Arkansas lawmakers has rejected spending more state money on outstanding legal fees linked to lawsuits from a former state treasurer’s office employee.
The lawsuit was filed against Treasurer Dennis Milligan, alleging former employee David Singer was fired after an office memo defamed him. Milligan’s office requested $205,000 to pay off the $170,000 in outstanding legal fees from the case, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2qVSe0c ) reported.
The treasurer’s office was granted $50,000 to cover legal fees in March 2016. The office’s legal debt is more than $330,000.
“I feel like I’m missing something because you’ve incurred debt to a law firm that you didn’t have the money to pay, and now you’re coming before us and asking to pay the bill,” Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang said.
Dismang said Milligan’s office should have had appropriation before spending the money.
“You put yourselves in a legal limbo of spending money without appropriation,” Dismang said. “You put the Legislature in a bind.”
Chief Deputy Treasurer Jason Brady told the panel that he’s known since January that a retrial would increase the legal fees. He said the treasurer’s office received an offer to settle the case for $1 million, but he thought that settlement would cost taxpayers more than going to court. A jury trial is set for July 12.
Milligan spokeswoman Stacy Peterson said the treasurer’s office is planning its next steps.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com