Johnson gets go-ahead to hire law firm in Verizon fight
Aliya Schneider is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Hudson Common Council last week voted to approve $15,000 from the city’s fund balance to hire attorneys to defend the city in a lawsuit filed by Verizon Wireless in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Verizon took legal action against the city, its planning board and code enforcement department over the wireless network operator's application for a special use permit to install six antennas atop Providence Hall. The company is alleging the planning board took too long to consider the application, attached unlawful conditions to its approval and charged unreasonable escrow fees. Verizon has asked the court to nullify the planning board's decision, order that the necessary approvals be granted and that the city return the $48,500 in fees it collected, along with all costs associated with the lawsuit. City Treasurer Heather Campbell said there is no money set aside specifically for such matters, so the funds must come from the fund balance. In its resolution, the council unanimously directed Mayor Kamal Johnson to hire the Albany-based law firm, Hinman Straub, to take on the matter for an initial sum not to exceed $15,000. Johnson chose Hinman Straub based on its litigation experience, availability and price, according to the resolution. Note: Johnson is a volunteer WGXC on-air programmer. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.