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Date of Issue: September 13, 2007

Legal bill causes dispute in Bradenton Beach

Approval of an attorney bill turned into a confrontation in Bradenton Beach last week.

City attorney Ricinda Perry submitted a bill for more than $7,000 to the city. The bulk of the bill was for legal fees incurred by the city in a lawsuit filed by The Islander newspaper requesting records regarding a sexual discrimination case by code enforcement officer Gail Garneau against former building official Ed McAdam. Perry is also a party to the lawsuit.

McAdam resigned his position with the city.

The confrontation came between Mayor John Chappie and Commissioner Bill Shearon. Shearon objected to an item in Perry’s bill regarding a conversation he said did not take place between he and McAdam.

The bill indicated that Shearon had a conversation with McAdam and, as a result, McAdam contacted Perry to see about regaining his position with the city.

“She has stated this in writing without speaking to me,” Shearon said.

Chappie said that he thought the bill should be approved and endorsed the charges. “The Islander has made a lot of accusations,” he said, “false accusations.”

Commissioner Janie Robertson said she believed the bill was incomplete.

Vice Mayor John Shaughnessy said he noted that there were two meetings on the same day, July 6; one with McAdam, another with a senior partner in Perry’s firm, Lewis, Longman and Walker.

The vote to pay the bill was approved, with Shearon and Robertson objecting.