(La Porte County, IN) - More political fireworks erupted at today’s La Porte County Commissioners meeting, where La Porte area resident Patrick Meaney presented emails that he claims show La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz has weaponized his office.
The emails are about an $11,000 payment the commissioners approved for services provided by former county government attorney Shaw Friedman. Stabosz, though, still has possession of the check.
Meaney said the recent emails revealed Stabosz is not mailing the check until county government pays his current legal bills from a lawsuit filed against him by Friedman over withholding payment from him on previous checks approved by the commissioners.
“Basically, what we have here is an auditor who is using his office as a tool to withhold payment to bills that have been approved by the commissioners. Vindictive,” he said.
Stabosz said past payments he withheld from Friedman were over services he questioned as valid while auditing his invoices.
He said Friedman never provided the information he sought for him to try and justify those services. Stabosz would not say if he has any questions about the billings from Friedman he’s presently withholding payment on.
However, Stabosz said he’s being sued personally by Friedman over the previous billings when he should actually be sued in his capacity as auditor. He said the county council should be paying his legal tab since he was acting as auditor in the scrutiny he applied to Friedman’s billings to make sure tax dollars are spent properly.
His unpaid legal tab currently stands at $9,600.
“It’s inappropriate for the auditor not to have the support of the finance authority, the council, and the commission when he’s trying to protect La Porte County from a rogue vendor."
Commissioner Rich Mrozinski threatened to adjourn the meeting if Stabosz continued to speak but Stabosz insisted he would resume speaking once the meeting was called back into session.
He was allowed to have his entire say.
Stabosz was often accused of targeting Friedman for political reasons, allegations he still steadfastly denies.
In an out of court settlement reached with the county commissioners late in 2021, Stabosz agreed to pay Friedman more than $26,000 from payments he withheld but not the $2,500 he questioned on that billing statement.
Friedman is suing Stabosz personally over the previous billings, claiming his actions as auditor are driven by his personal feelings against him. However, Stabosz said some of the work listed on his invoices fell outside the scope of his duties as county attorney in areas like politics.
Friedman maintains all of the work on his invoices came under the wide range of his responsibilities as county attorney.