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Sally Bouchard

The High Price of Lawyers
By Sally Bouchard
Dec 25, 2005 - 3:34:00 PM

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In Millinocket, they always paid a high price for having a town lawyer.

All lawyers charge a high fees but in Millinocket there never were many questions asked about their bills. Only once that I know of did a member of our town council ask questions about the town attorney and, like always, he was in a minority.

Like the misuse of credit cards, the town attorney’s bills went right through our town council with no questions asked and the public wasn’t even interested.

It is way past time for the town council members of Millinocket to start looking at the bills that the town lawyer sends to the town and, if questions need to be asked, they should finally ask them. They owe it to the taxpayers to be responsible with our tax dollars.

By just pointing out how much money the lawsuit filed against the town was, but not looking over the bills, the members of the council are repeating history. Also, the council seems to forget that if they had gone by the votes of the people, there would not have been a lawsuit to defend against.

Since this is the same council that voted to give thirty thousand dollars to the community/cultural center, with no accountability for how the money was spent, it is time for this council to speak on that issue.

This is the community or cultural center that was supposed to have a space for the items in the museum. Over twenty years of collecting historical items, the people who started the museum did so with the people of Millinocket in mind.

Now we have people who have come into our town wanting to preserve our culture and heritage, but for a price. By charging six hundred dollars a month for rent, they are using our heritage to make money, not preserving it.

That is outrageous, but the council doesn’t speak on that issue; and hopefully the museum will someday find a new home and it will be left in the hands of the people who live here and who do want to preserve and protect our heritage.

We have many pictures and items that were donated by people for the museum. People from our past are represented, pictures and items of buildings long gone; it is our heritage and we the people of Millinocket will protect them for future generations.

Like the museum, the cultural, or community center was going to be the home for KAT TV, another non-profit organization and, like the museum, they also would be paying rent to this privately owned LLC. For KAT TV, the cost was going to be three hundred dollars a month for rent. Since both organizations are non-profit, where was the money going to come from to pay this rent? Were the taxpayers going to pay or did they have something else in mind?

Between the unreasonably high bill for the lawyer, giving money to the cultural/community center that is a LLC, and giving all that money to MAGIC, the council is spending our money - yet they are very selective in pointing out who is really costing the town money.

It is the council members who sign the warrants. It is the council that controls the spending; and it is the taxpayers who end up paying the bills.

Since the Millinocket Historical Society is looking for a new home for the museum, and the town lawyer has his office in a historical home, maybe he would like to donate that home to the town for use as a museum. He has done well in Millinocket and maybe it is now time for him to give back to his home town.

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