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Alexandria gets extension to pay judgment

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — The city of Alexandria has been given an extension to pay a $1.3 million judgment ordered by a federal judge.

The Town Talk reports (http://townta.lk/1l0hKsK ) U.S. District Judge Dee Drell has agreed to give the city until close of business Sept. 3 to make the payment to H. Craig Davidson for his legal work in the city's fraud lawsuit against Cleco.

The city council will consider an ordinance authorizing the payment at its meeting Sept. 2. The council, in a 4-3 vote on Tuesday, passed a resolution in favor of the payment and introduced the ordinance.

Last Friday, Drell gave the city five business days to pay the judgment to Davidson, a Baton Rouge attorney.

Because the City Charter's process for such expenditures wouldn't allow for the payment to be made that quickly, City Attorney Chuck Johnson filed for and was granted a stay until Sept. 3 of the order to pay Davidson.

The council's 4-3 vote showed "good faith" that it intends to pay Davidson and wasn't using the City Charter provisions as a stalling tactic. Still, the actual vote to authorize payment will come on Sept. 2.

The city sued Cleco in 2005 and eventually resolved the case by signing a new power-supply agreement with a "settlement value" of about $50 million. Cleco never admitted wrongdoing.

The three council members who opposed the resolution to pay Davidson on Tuesday were Mitzi LaSalle, Ed Larvadain III and Jules Green.

LaSalle, who qualified Thursday to run for mayor in the Nov. 4 primary election, said she doesn't think it's fair to pay Davidson and not all attorneys involved in the case.

"Is it really necessary for us to appeal because of the state statute that's already in place that says municipalities do not have to honor judgments? For me, it has truly been an unfair process the entire time with deciding which attorneys get paid for what. And so I absolutely for quite some time have not been in agreeance with the whole process," LaSalle said.

"I just truly felt it was not a fair process for all of the attorneys that were concerned."

She said she is against paying one of the attorneys but not the others involved in the city's fraud case against Cleco.

"I feel as though if we couldn't settle with all of them, that we shouldn't settle with any of them," LaSalle said.

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Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com

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