Street: Attorneys represent Godsey, not county commission

J. H. Osborne • Sep 18, 2012 at 2:40 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — An attorney hired by Sullivan County Mayor Steve Godsey said Monday that he considers the entire Sullivan County Commission to be his client.

County Attorney Dan Street said that isn't so.

Godsey is the official defendant in a lawsuit brought by Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson in which the sheriff seeks nearly $10 million in new funding from the county.

No matter who wins, county taxpayers will foot the bill for lawyers on both sides -- at $200 per hour all around (each side's attorneys), pre-court, and $250 per hour for any time spent in court.

Anderson hired Richard Pectol of Johnson City as his attorney in the case. Godsey hired James Logan of Cleveland to lead the defense. Johnson City-based Steve Darden is assisting Logan.

The Times-News requested copies of contracts for attorneys hired by both sides a couple of weeks ago.

A spokesman for Anderson provided the sheriff's signed contract with Pectol within hours of receiving the request. It outlined the $200-per-hour fee schedule, with a bump to $250 for any time actually spent in the courtroom.

Godsey's office initially said no contract for defense representation existed yet.

On Monday, Logan and Darden made an appearance at the Sullivan County Commission's regular monthly meeting.

Afterward, the Times-News followed Logan and Darden outside and asked about a contract. Logan asked Darden if he'd take care of it, and Darden said he'd just left a copy with Godsey's office.

"We have a firm agreement," Logan said.

When asked about fees, Logan said he and Darden had -- due to the sheriff's contract with Pectol -- agreed to also charge $200/$250 per hour pre-court/courtroom, to give county taxpayers a break.

"I'm taking quite a haircut," Logan said.

Read the full report in Tuesday's print or enhanced electronic edition of the Times-News.

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