Legal battle with Quinnells has cost township $15,300 so far

Legal bills are now appearing in Puslinch records regarding the township’s dispute with two former fire officials.

On April 1 and 15,  council unanimously approved the pay­ment of two bills – $1,145 and $14,193 respectively –  from Toronto law firm Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti.

The bills stem from work regarding the Dec. 8 firings of Fire Chief Dan Quinnell and his son, Fire Prevention Officer Richard Quinnell. The pair, fired amidst allegations of financial wrongdoing and “in­ti­midation” of firefighters, has launched a wrongful dismissal lawsuit, seeking almost $900,000 in damages.

Mayor Brad Whitcombe has said the township is de­fending the lawsuit and is also cooperating with an OPP in­ves­tigation into the actions of the Quinnells.

Police refuse to confirm any investigation, but included in the legal bills are several dated entries concerning an OPP investigation, and even an attempt by a lawyer to contact a named OPP constable.

The legal bill approved on April 1 is dated Jan. 31 and includes charges for drafting the letter of termination, re­view­ing Newspaper articles and corresponding with township staff via email and phone. About two hours and 15 minutes of work, carried out between Dec. 7 and Dec. 22, is included in the bill.

The bill approved on April 15 is dated March 28 and applies to 43 hours and 15 minutes of work, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 27, including:

– filing a notice of the township’s intent to defend the lawsuit filed by the Quinnells;

– reviewing documents;

– research “with respect to whether [the] township is liable for defamatory comments from a councillor”;

– drafting a statement of de­fence;

– email and phone discussions with the mayor, staff, and at least one firefighter, regarding such items as “hard drive recovery”;

– reviewing a Wellington Advertiser article;

–  attending in-camera council meetings; and

– corresponding with the Quinnells’ lawyer, R. Ross Wells.

When informed the bills were shared with the public and the press, councillor Susan Fielding asked if that was “the best way to go about it.”

She expressed concern that the bills contained detailed information.