Assessor lawsuit costs outrage aldermen

Aldermen on the Human Services Committee balked Monday at paying an additional $75,000 in legal bills resulting from lawsuits filed over actions of Township Assessor Sharon Eckersall.

The cost to taxpayers of defending suits filed by three disgruntled former employees of the assessor had already reached $300,000 before the latest charges submitted by Johnston, Greene, LLC of Chicago.

Eckersall, who earns $6,000 a year in the part-time elected position running the assessor’s office, currently has just one full-time employee.

The legal fees have greatly exceeded the rest of the annual budget for the assessor’s office.

One of the lawsuits has been dismissed and an agreement to settle the second suit reportedly has been reached. The third suit has yet to go to trial.

The aldermen directed city attorney Elke Tober-Purze to review the latest legal charges in an effort to get them reduced.

Several aldermen have announced their support for Bonnie Wilson, who is seeking to replace Eckersall in next month’s municipal election.

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