Tag Archives: legal fees

The high cost of retaining historical artifacts

Some legal cases take time to reach a conclusion. Even those cases that are never heard in the courts.

Scott Tracey in the Guelph Mercury spelled it out in his column how a dispute between the city and the descendants of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, the Guelph born physician who served  and died in the first world war, and wrote the famous poem: “In Flanders fields the poppies grow.”

The dispute arose when the family members demanded return of seven medals housed in the McCrae house museum. The city refused and a lawsuit was launched against the city in 2008.

It was announced February 8 that a settlement had been reached. The city would issue a press release acknowledging the gift from the McCrae descendants and install a plaque at the McCrae Museum.

Is this over?

Not really. Questions are now being raised when city solicitor Donna Jacques said the legal costs for this three-year marathon negotiation were $233,000. An outside law firm engaged by city to make its case billed this amount.

It is noted that none of the funds went to members of the McCrae family. Only the lawyers got it.

The elongated negotiations were conducted behind closed doors so the public was never informed of what was happening. More to the point, how did such a simple settlement take so long and cost so much?

It is yet another example of mismanagement by the Farbridge administration. The cost of legal services, both in house and hired guns, is buried in voluminous data that the average taxpayer cannot decipher.

To obfuscate the truth is the mantra of this bunch.

Get ready for the other shoe to fall when the new city hall breach of contract suit comes to trial and/or settlement. Also fired treasurer Margaret Neubaur will have a wrongful dismissal case pending. Also the public washroom collapse will impact legal costs as will civic museum and compost plant cost overruns. Toss in the disputes with county councillors, and the province, and the costs of legal and staff soar.

The good news is the medals earned by this brave soldier remain in the house where he was born so the public may remember his service to his country.

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