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Milwaukee County Board approves settlement with sheriff

By: Beth Kevit, [email protected]//September 26, 2013

Milwaukee County Board approves settlement with sheriff

By: Beth Kevit, [email protected]//September 26, 2013

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors approved a settlement with Sheriff David Clarke Jr. that would mark the end of his lawsuit over House of Correction control.

The board voted 15-3 to pass the settlement onto County Executive Chris Abele for his potential approval.

In exchange for the county paying $95,000 for Clarke’s legal fees, the sheriff also would agree to drop his appeal of one other Milwaukee County Circuit Court decision and dismiss his outside counsel from a third lawsuit. Clarke would also agree to confer with the county’s in-house counsel before retaining an attorney in any future dispute.

The board voted 10-8 to delay a decision in July after Supervisor Patricia Jursik said she wanted a more thorough explanation of the settlement’s merit from the Office of Corporation Counsel. According to a memo sent to the board and attributed to Mark Grady, the county’s acting corporation counsel, the settlement is logical and legally enforceable.

Grady told the supervisors Thursday it is unclear whether there is the possibility the county could be forced to pay Clarke’s legal fees if the settlement were not approved.

“There is certainly an argument to be made,” he said, “that there might be.”

Clarke’s attorney could ask a judge to force the county to pay or Clarke could file a new lawsuit, Grady said.

Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb Sr. attempted to delay a vote again Thursday, suggesting the item, with Grady’s memo, be sent back to the board’s Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee. The board rejected that proposal 10-8.

Supervisor Anthony Staskunas urged the board to approve the settlement and avoid the risk that the sheriff could win one or more of his appeals.

“It’s time to stop playing lawsuit roulette because we don’t like the sheriff,” he said.


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