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Friday, July 8, 2011

Mageau Claim Bounced

On the agenda for Monday is the continuing story of former Town Council member Jim Mageau’s claim that the town “indemnify” him for $20,000 in legal defense costs from his 2008 assault arrest.

At last month’s Town Council meeting, the Council voted 4-0 (Lisa DiBello abstaining) to have Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero send Mageau a letter saying the Town will not pay without a better reason than what Mageau submitted.

On June 21st, Ruggiero wrote the letter to Mageau’s lawyer Lynette Labinger. In it,  Ruggiero starts with asking Labinger to explain how Mageau’s claim is justified under state law and town ordinance specifications for indemnification, specifically how the defense in the assault case was part of Mageau’s “official duties.”

Ruggiero also cites Mageau’s signed waiver of the right to bring a civil suit against the town in connection to the case.  Ruggiero asks Mageau’s lawyer to explain why, in light of this waiver, he would make the claim, since his defense was part of the stipulation.

Finally,  Ruggiero asks Labinger to remind her client that communications about Mageau’s claim are supposed to be between  Ruggiero and Labinger. In fact, Labinger’s May 13th letter to the Town says that she is to be contacted directly about the claim.  Ruggiero reported that Mageau had tried a number of times to get hold of  Ruggiero through the Town Clerk, but  Ruggiero felt ethically barred from that contact.

It will be interesting to see if Mageau shows up to demand his $20,000, or Lisa DiBello does it for him.

Author: Will Collette