Commissioners and district attorney’s legal squabble costs thousands in taxes

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa (WHTM) – ABC27 has learned how much money is going to a fight that began with questions regarding drug forfeiture money.

In March, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman sued the Lancaster County Commissioners after the commissioners claimed they would investigate Stedman’s use of drug forfeiture money.

The commissioners sent a strongly worded letter last month calling the suit an incredible waste of taxpayer money.

ABC27 filed right to know requests to find how much taxpayer money has been spent on the lawsuit.

According to records, the legal bill sent to the county solicitor’s office totals $97,766.

“It’s certainly improper that the county commissioners would be forced to foot this bill just to do their jobs of ensuring things are running the way they should be,” said Kirby West, an attorney with fight the Institute for Justice.

Stedman’s office said commissioners have no power to investigate his office; the suit was filed because commissioners were spreading misinformation.

A right to know request submitted to Stedman’s office shows it has spent no money on the lawsuit thus far.

Matthew Haverstick, Stedman’s attorney, said commissioners have thus far refused to sign the bill for his work.

West, who has joined with ABC27’s media partner, Lancaster Online, says regardless of who wins the suit, taxpayers lose.

“As long as the lawsuit goes, on the legal bills will continue to accumulate,” West said.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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