Leopold agrees to reimburse county on legal fees

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Embattled Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold has agreed to reimburse the county government for attorney fees should there be an unfavorable ruling in a civil case filed against him.

In a signed letter to the Self Insurance Fund Committee, which is responsible for presiding over settlement payments and the cost of civil actions against the County, the County Executive specifically outlined the parameters of such a payment despite his legal entitlement to a government-funded defense.

"I am confident that when the jury hears all of the evidence, the result will be the same as a similar claim that has already been dismissed," said Leopold. "I want the taxpayers to rest assured, however, knowing ahead of time that I would never allow them to pay my attorney fees if there is an unfavorable court ruling."

Leopold generated nearly $21,000 in legal fees while mounting a defense against a discrimination civil lawsuit by a former county employee. He also faces criminal charges of official misconduct.

"There is an important reason for the government to provide for a defense for its employees," Leopold argued in a letter defending his decision, "which is to guard against intimidation of public servants by people who file frivolous and meritless lawsuits such as the one already dismissed by the court. Absent this protection, the best candidates for publicpositions would have to think twice about serving."  

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