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County jail, police legal expenses grow higher

Updated: August 27, 2013 12:38PM



CROWN POINT — Because of the needed assistance in defending the Lake County Jail and the Sheriff’s office from pending and completed law suits, attorney John Bushemi came to the county commissioners looking for more money.

A good part of the legal bills remain from the U.S. Department of Justice legal judgment against the conditions in the jail under the control of the former Lake County Sheriff.

Bushemi was asking for an additional $80,000 for the remainder of 2013 to pay lawyers to represent Sheriff John Buncich and his office.

Lake County commissioners Gerry Scheub and Mike Repay were not happy. Scheub said that they are going to have to cut back. There is no relief in sight.

“We are going to have to take some drastic measures on criminal justice,” said Scheub.

Buncich told the commissioners that they are close to satisfying the DOJ, so that will be gone. He told the commissioners that they would take the funding out of their set funds.

Repay said, “We know the sheriff is entitled to legal consultants.”

Part of the problem is that the current consultants have billed out on the current contract. If this additional $80,000 is not granted than the legal team will not have enough money to be able to finish the DOJ for the rest of the year.

Commissioner Roosevelt Allen wants to see what the original suits that have been settled were for and how much money was saved by the county. The commissioners want a spreadsheet as to the effectiveness of the consultants in saving the county money.

Repay still did not want consultants. He thought that County Attorney John Dull should take over that work.

Repay continued to object and Scheub and Allen passed the motion to increase the $80,000 through the end of the year. It was passed 2-1 with Repay voting no.



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