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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Bastrop’s 2016 legal fees: $1.7 million
Thursday, November 3, 2016 by Jo Clifton
The city of Bastrop has already spent nearly $1.7 million on legal fees for Fiscal Year 2015-2016, which ended Sept. 30, according to Chief Financial Officer Tracy Waldron. Waldron has provided documentation showing that of that amount, the city paid Frisco attorney William Bundren $700,800 for the litigation involving Pine Forest Investment Group and its major investor Robert Leffingwell. In order to pay that amount, Bastrop City Council last week authorized $240,000 from the city’s general fund for last year’s legal expenses. That case is ongoing and is likely to reach the 3rd Court of Appeals early next year. There are several other pending lawsuits requiring extensive legal fees, including a development dispute between Bastrop and the Vandiver family over the family’s building of a garage and additional rooms. The Austin American-Statesman reported that contrary to the city’s claims that the Vandivers disregarded city zoning ordinances, the family says they had received a variance and required permits. The Vandivers have filed a counterclaim. The case is yet to be resolved and has cost Bastrop more than $100,000 over the past two years, according to city records. Bundren was the attorney on that case until the city’s acting interim attorney, David Bragg, took over last week, the Statesman noted. Council allocated only $220,000 for the current fiscal year, so it is difficult to see how it can avoid amending that budget in the future when more legal bills come due.
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