Following a Dec. 11 executive session, Paonia trustees voted not to appeal District Court Judge Steven Schultz's conclusion that former trustee Bill Brunner is entitled to reimbursement of legal fees related to a suit filed against him by the town custodian of record in October 2017. And while it won't appeal the judge's findings, the board will respond to the affidavit of fees "appropriately as discussed in executive session."
The affidavit was filed by Brunner's attorney, William Fritsche, according to town attorney Bo Nerlin, who provided an outline of the town's case against Brunner at the meeting. The affidavit, said Nerlin, seeks reimbursement by Brunner under the court order of more than $32,000.
That amount is more than twice what Brunner originally estimated he was due in legal costs and fees. Brunner said his estimate was an approximation based on the amount he paid to retain Fritsche. Fritsche billed him for more than 150 hours.
"The town drug this out for almost a year," said Brunner. "This is on them."
The board of trustees will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 27, to receive legal advice from the town attorney specific to Brunner's legal fees. Following the executive session the board may discuss possible authorization of the town to pay the fees.