The town exceeded its budget for legal fees by 32% in the fiscal year that ended June 30, documents show. The total spent in legal fees—$395,947.42 against a budget of $300,000—does not include expenses incurred as part of the town’s purchase of an Elm Street building earlier this year, according to a legal bill approved July 26 by the Board of Selectmen. (Those fees, which the Board of Finance later “re-classified,” had already exceeded $43,000 by January, past bills show.)
During the Board’s meeting, Selectman Kathleen Corbet asked about the $8,000 monthly retainer that New Canaan pays to Berchem Moses PC, the town attorney’s firm. “Relative to the full amount of the budget, about 20%, is that similar to what other towns are?” Corbet asked during the meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. “Is that typically what we should expect in terms of the overall budget, the retainer cost?”
Referring to Town Attorney Ira Bloom, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan responded, “I don’t know exactly what other towns pay but I’m told by Ira that we are in the ballpark.