Opinion: Rutherford County Legal Services benefits from contract written by convicted felon

Mar 21, 2019 at 08:00 am by Tess2019

Rutherford County

WARNING! If Rutherford County attempts to keep a member from the firm that currently represents us, Hudson, Reed and McCreary, the successor, Nick Christiansen, will open himself to the same ethical and criminal scrutiny as his predecessors. The only reason Christiansen would want this job is if the money is just too good to be true.

James C. Cope, former Principal of the firm and former County Attorney, was convicted of a federal crime and by law, the firm should have been terminated from its contract.

Knowing this, Cope-the-Crook made sure he resigned the day before he was convicted.

The code of ethics says that every member of the firm is deemed to have the same knowledge: insider trading.

Well, duh. This firm uses its insider knowledge about all County plans, to help their other clients get a leg-up on all planning! It is inevitable and the law recognizes that.

Despite the fact that the Legal Services Agreement says the County Attorney is paid around $79,000/year, the County has paid more than $1 million to the firm, year over year, plus, a separate salary for representing the school board, even though the contract specifically says the County Attorney will assume this obligation under their annual salary.

You can’t hide crime within a contract.

The current Legal Services Agreement basically allows these inept (in my opinion) so-called attorneys to dole out very bad legal advice, that then leads to lawsuits for which the firm has the contract to represent the County.

The Legal Services Agreement, authored by Cope-the-Crook, is filled with self-dealing and self-enrichment.

Most recently, Josh McCreary blessed the Commission with his bad legal advice to allow Commissioners to “buy-in” to the County Employee Benefits Trust, which would allow them to immediately start sending in claims, draining a Trust that was built with contributions from the employees’ paychecks.

THEN! His sidekick, Risk Manger Lois Miller, offered to make the theft legal by changing the plan documents.

I wonder how the employees feel about allowing this?

This is another law suit waiting to happen. All it takes is a couple of employees to call an attorney and complain that their rights under ERISA are possibly being violated.

This Legal Services Agreement also mandates the County Attorney be paid for every bond the County issues…..for doing NOTHING.

They do not write the bonds, nor are they the underwriters. It’s just another self-dealing scheme by the author of the Legal Services Agreement, without any critique by the Commissioners.

Taxpayers should get every penny back.

This firm also represents the delinquent taxes.

Isn’t that just a little too convenient?

When either the Mayor or one of the Commissioners needs a special favor for themselves or an old classmate, all they have to do is ask the County Attorney to poke the delinquent tax attorney and then give them a wink-wink and BINGO! Someone’s property taxes can be ignored for 10 years, after which they just disappear!

Think I’m kidding? Just call our County Trustee Teb Batey.

When the Rutherford Neighborhood Alliance made a formal complaint to the County Ethics Committee, back in 2017, the Committee turned to Waldo-Wannabee Josh McCreary, the subject of the ethics violations, and asked him for his professional opinion.

What did they think McCreary was going to do, incriminate himself??

And did the Committee record this meeting, as they do with every other Committee meeting? Nope.

You had to be there in person to watch this circus. McCreary should have, at the very least, pled the 5th. But no, he’s just too damn ethical for that.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an in-house County Attorney with an ethical back-bone of steel, who would advise them against bad behavior? Who would stand up to the Mayor, who doesn’t seem to understand the code of ethics either, and warn against taking trips, possibly paid for by a contractor?

While the rest of us taxpayers have our feet held to the fire over ethical behavior, our Commission and Mayor seem to completely ignore it. Violation.

This Legal Services Agreement represents the foundation of our value system. It is a guiding document that PERMITS very bad behavior.

Beg your Commissioner to have an independent attorney examine the Legal Services Agreement with all its amendments and hire an in-house Attorney. Rutherford County may end up being the laughingstock, but it’s better than continuing with this ridiculous arrangement.

Nick Christiansen is a young guy, a long road ahead of him. I would advise him to take another route with another firm and leave this mess behind.

This is not the way to make his mark in the world.

Lie down with dogs, …well, you know.



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