City Attorney Fees Creep Toward One Million for this Fiscal Year

According to City of Dixon financial reports, the total amount paid out to Churchwell White, the law firm contracted as City Attorney. as of May 30, 2017 for the current 2016/2017 Fiscal Year is $858,435.28.
The Fiscal Year ends on June 30, so that amount is for only the prior eleven months – over $78,000 per month. If that rate keeps up, the city will have paid over $936,000 to City Attorney Doug White and his firm for just one year. White was hired under contract because the previous City Attorney, Michael Dean, had billed the city for over $400,000 in one year. White has exceeded that by about 230 per cent.
Dixonites will remember White also charged the city about $240,000 to successfully sue the taxpayers to prevent a vote of the people on the sewer rates increases – despite over half the registered voters having signed one or more of the petitions demanding such a vote.
The exact amounts spent on various specific activities cannot be ascertained because White has claimed “Attorney-Client” privilege over the billing records. Besides attorney fees, the billings have included payments for the private investigator in the Devon Minnema “Quo warranto” issue to over-turn Minnema’s election to the City Council in the Fourth District. A reasonable estimate in that matter is over $10,000 paid to the investigator and over $20,000 paid to White.
In the Contract for Legal Notices Publication dispute with Dixon’s Independent Voice – valued at less than $15,000 per year – the current estimate is over $70,000 paid to White to date.
Also included are payments to Holli Churchwell (photo bottom right) – wife of Steve Churchwell, White’s law partner – for serving as Temporary City Clerk. According to an email from Mrs. Churchwell, that amount was not separately billed.


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