What are the most common costs for a municipal government? Road maintenance, water and sewer, city projects and programs?
vWhat about legal fees for defending elected officials in the highest courts of the land?
For the past four years, the City of Miami and City Commissioner Joe Carollo have been embroiled in a lawsuit filed against the commissioner by two Little Havana business owners, William Fuller and Martin Pinilla. The plaintiffs allege that Carollo retaliated against them for supporting his political opponent and used city resources to harass their businesses. For this one lawsuit alone, the City of Miami has paid Carollo’s personal attorney nearly half a million dollars.
In July, New Times submitted a request to the City of Miami for records of all payments made to attorney Benedict Kuehne on behalf of Carollo from September 2018 to the present. According to the recently provided records, the city has paid a grand total of $432,618.92 in fees and costs to Kuehne’s law firm for this case to date. The city has yet to mail checks for an additional $26,334.70 invoiced by Kuehne this year, according to a spreadsheet provided to New Times and attached to the end of this article.