Fact checking the Fayette Newspaper article “Digging in deeper on County’s fight with Watts family”:
• As for Judge Boswell’s finding being incorrect. The FCRP did not prove their case because that’s what the verdict says. There are two separate legal cases that are assumed by some to go together but never legally linked. To say because of one the other one should be guilty would require another trial.
• Attacking County Attorney Dennis Davenport is wrong and the statement that MW position was not shared by the county’s insurance carrier is not true. I have a letter dated January 10, 2014 that says that position was covered by the county’s insurance. The issue here is that the facts are wrong and it goes from there to opinion of the writer based on untrue facts. The writer never called the county attorney to check any facts.
• “Yet the Court found that only $30,000 of those bills were reasonable.” There is no such wording in any of the documents that I have seen. The writer needs to supply proof of this wording. In the settlement, it says “the Court having found that the amount of attorneys’ fees and expenses sought by the Respondent was reasonable both as to the rates charged and amount incurred.” The judge simply marked through the awarding amount of $64,335.32 and wrote in the $30.000. This is no different from someone going before the judge about a ticket, there would be a maximum amount of fine that he could impose but he can make it any amount under that.
• My wife did speak in public comment. I did not ask her to do so. As a citizen, she was very upset with the posting of information about executive session. She did not mention Commissioner Brown’s name she simply said a commissioner posted that information. It was posted and it did violate the ethics ordinance section 2-203 (a) & (f). It should be noted there are no exceptions in the ethics ordinance to allow such disclosure.
• There is and will be ongoing litigation because of filings that must be done to collect the money. To say that there is no litigation is not true.
• There is no way the citizens can know if what Commissioner Brown said happened in executive session is what really happened because no one else will violate the ethics ordinance. Commissioner Brown has changed his story of what happened at least once.
• The writer did send me a text asking me “Hi Mr. Ognio, Denise gave me your number. Did you discuss legal fees concerning the Marilyn Watts litigation, that had already been adjudicated, in executive session at the August 24, 2017 Board of Commissioners meeting? Victoria Andersen.” My reply was “You know that is a question I can’t answer.” I could not answer it because I would have violated the ethics ordinance if I answered it. It was not as insinuated in the article. “Commissioner Ognio declined to comment when asked to confirm the charges from Brown that the legal fees were improperly discussed in closed session.”
Was the article fact or opinion I will let you decide.
Randy C. Ognio
Fayette County Board of Commissioners