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Mission Viejo

August 16, 2000|Sean Kirwan, (949) 574-4202

The city will pay more than $55,000 in lawyers fees it accrued defending three council members from a lawsuit that accused them of violating California's open meeting laws.

The law firm of Richards, Watson and Gerchan billed the city $55,384 for services performed in relation to the lawsuit between July 1999 and June 2000.

The suit, which was filed last August by three city residents, accused Mayor Sherri M. Butterfield and council members William Craycraft and Susan Withrow of unlawfully criticizing and intimidating Councilman John Paul Ledesma during a closed session meeting on April 19, 1999.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Eileen C. Moore ruled last week that the three violated the Ralph M. Brown Act during the meeting and ordered the council to tape their closed session meetings for the next two years.

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