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Milwaukee County Board delays Clarke settlement

By: Beth Kevit, [email protected]//July 25, 2013//

Milwaukee County Board delays Clarke settlement

By: Beth Kevit, [email protected]//July 25, 2013//

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A potential settlement between Milwaukee County and Sheriff David Clarke Jr. has been delayed until at least September.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted, 10-8, Thursday to refer the proposed settlement back to the county’s Office of Corporation Counsel for a written legal opinion.

Corporation counsel proposed the settlement to the board this month. Under the terms of the settlement, Clarke would drop appeals in five lawsuits in exchange for the county covering his legal fees. Clarke also would agree to first approach corporation counsel if he was in need of a lawyer.

Clarke hired Milwaukee attorney Michael Whitcomb to represent him in three of the five lawsuits and owes $149,225. Corporation counsel negotiated that tab down to $95,000.

The appeals Clarke would drop include his lawsuit over the County Board shifting control of the House of Correction to Superintendent Michael Hafemann.

Supervisor Pat Jursik proposed the delay. She said she wants corporation counsel to explain why the five cases were included in one settlement and what amount of money the sheriff was allowed to spend on outside counsel without prior board approval. She said she also wants an explanation of why corporation counsel believes Clarke will adhere to the requirement that he notify the county before retaining an attorney.

Jursik said she objects to including the House of Correction lawsuit in the settlement.

“There’s no way,” she said, “I’m going to agree to pay those fees.”

The other lawsuits included in the settlement are related to inmate health care and to Clarke’s attempts to lay off three captains, to file a criminal charge and to use private bailiffs.

Corporation counsel’s opinion probably would go to the County Board’s Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee, Jursik said. That committee next meets in September.

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