(Indianapolis, IN) - The Indiana State Board of Accounts is advising the La Porte County Auditor to pay Friedman & Associates law firm, who's owed slightly more than $11,000.
The recommendation is from State Examiner Paul Joyce in a letter dated October 29 to auditor Tim Stabosz and the La Porte County Commissioners. Joyce said the auditor should pay the claim if the commissioners or a court issues a payment order.
Last month, the commissioners ordered Stabosz to pay $1,100 to county attorney Shaw Friedman for work he performed for the county.
Stabosz paid about 90-percent of the $10,000 one-month claim but withheld the remainder citing questions he wanted answering by Friedman to verify the claims as legitimate.
Stabosz ignored the commissioners' order for payment. In response, the commissioners filed a lawsuit seeking a court order from a judge for the $1,100 being withheld from Friedman. Stabosz later withheld payment on the entire $10,000 invoice submitted by Friedman for work conducted in September.
Stabosz, along with La Porte County Commissioner Joe Haney, has been pushing for the county attorney to work under a contract outlining the amount of payment and specific duties of the county attorney.
Joyce said a contract is not required if there was a long-standing historical practice of the county attorney having no such arrangement. For about two-thirds of the last 37 years, Friedman, the county attorney, has never operated under a contract with the county commissioners. Instead, the commissioners have asked the attorney to submit invoices for payment based on work done that previous month.
The commissioners have not taken yet on the higher amount being withheld by Stabosz, who has not responded yet to the state examiner's recommendation.