FAIRHAVEN – Selectman Robert Espindola, who was elected in April, differed with Chairman Brian K. Bowcock over his request to use Kopelman & Paige for issues involving the wind turbines.
Mr. Espindola said he wants to find out what he can or cannot vote on in terms of the town’s wind turbines off Arsene Street considering that he was involved in a lawsuit that tried to stop them. Town counsel Thomas Crotty represents the town in the lawsuit, which Mr. Espindola, who lives near the turbines, dropped out of on March 16. The annual town election was in early April.
Mr. Espindola said Kopelman & Paige estimated it would take three to three-and-a-half hours to contact the attorney general and Ethics Commission on his behalf to “say what he can and cannot do” when a discussion or votes come up involving the wind turbines.
Mr. Bowcock said he was concerned the legal costs “may escalate.” He said Kopeman & Paige will have to review all the documents and may have to send attorneys down from Boston. Kopelman & Paige charges $165 an hour. Mr. Crotty, whose office is in New Bedford, charges $160 an hour.
Mr. Bowcock said Mr. Crotty is “only an intermediary. He’s not issuing a legal opinion.” He added, “You can go directly to the Ethics Commission so there may be no cost.”
Mr. Espindola said Kopelman & Paige told him in a letter that there will be no travel time, but Mr. Bowcock said he read correspondence with the law firm that mentioned travel time.
Selectman Charles Murphy Sr. made a motion to do allow Mr. Espindola to use Kopelman & Paige for a maximum of four hours. Mr. Bowcock said was “not comfortable” with the proposal and would not second it.
When Mr. Espindola asked if he could second the motion, Mr. Bowcock said that did not seem appropriate. He said they should table the motion and take it up again at the May 21 meeting.
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