Last night the South Miami City Commission took up a resolution put forward by Commissioner Josh Liebman that would repeal the authorization for the City to pay the legal bills caused by the ethics complaint lodged against Mayor Phil Stoddard.
Back on April 3rd, the Mayor brought up a resolution to have the City pay for his lawyer in the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and the Public Trust proceeding that Stephen Cody’s ethics complaint caused.
The City Attorney later opined that what Stoddard did in presiding over and voting the resolution violated the County’s ethics code — an official can’t participate or vote on something that benefits him or her. That prompted Stoddard to ask for a mulligan, a revote on the April 3rd resolution.
It did not go as Stoddard hoped. The Commission voted 3 to 1 not to reenact the resolution.
Commissioner Liebman this week stepped up and offered a repeal of the April 3rd resolution. It passed 3 to 1. What it means is that the City is off the hook for Stoddard’s legal fees. For now.
There are City Hall whispers that Mayor Stoddard may make a claim on the City’s insurance policy to pay for his attorneys’ fees. The policy has a deductible of $100,000 and if that’s not somehow waived by the insurance company, Stoddard will have to pony up a lot of cash. Either way, the taxpayers are going to have to pay higher premiums going forward because of this new claim.
It’s time Stoddard looked out for the taxpayers and not himself.