- Written by Administrator
- Published: 02 May 2012
(The Board of Selectmen met Monday and appointed a Special town Counsel, Arthur Kreiger. Picture l – r are Kreiger, Finance Director John Madde, Town Manager Richard MacDonald, and Selectmen Shawn Dahlen, Chair Ted Flynn, and David Madigan.)
The Duxbury Board of Selectmen appointed a special town counsel to oversee four civil suits following the board withdrawing the representation of longtime Town Counsel Robert Troy.
Arthur Kreiger, a partner in the law firm Anderson and Kreiger LLP, was designated special town counsel at Monday night’s meeting in an unanimous vote by the board. He will guide the board in four civil suits filed against the town, including one filed by Johnson Golf Management, Inc. Though Kreiger’s Web site lists his area of practice as environmental and land use law, he said both he and his firm have many years experience as town counsel.
“The firm is town counsel in seven towns,” said Kreiger, who was at Monday night’s meeting. “The firm and I have been special town counsel in somewhere between seven to fifteen towns. This is one of our specialties.”
Kreiger listed some of those towns as Wrentham, Acton, Concord and Ipswich.
When asked if his duties as special town counsel included investigating Troy’s role in the four civil suits, Kreiger was clear.
“I am reviewing as much of the cases as I can to advise the town how to proceed,” said Kreiger. “I am not investigating anyone.”
Yet when asked, Atty. Lenny Kesten, assigned to represent Duxbury by the town’s insurance agent Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA) and appointed lead counsel by the board, said Troy has not yet withdrawn himself from the Johnson Golf suit.
“No,” said Kesten. “I’ve not seen any such filing.”
Steve Follansbee, the attorney representing Johnson Golf Management said he has not received notice from Troy, as is customary, that he’s withdrawn himself from the case either.
“I have not received one, nor have I seen it posted on the court’s Web site,” said Follansbee.
When notified of this, Selectmen Chair Ted Flynn said it would be addressed.
“I will follow up on that because he was told to very clearly,” said Flynn.
Efforts to reach Troy were unsuccessful.
Troy’s withdrawal came as a result of Selectmen, Kesten and Recreation Director Gordon Cushing meeting in executive session for six hours on April 19 to discuss a civil suit lodged against the Town of Duxbury by Johnson Golf Management, Inc. and what role Troy played in it. Cushing is a potential witness in the Johnson Golf suit. As a result of that meeting, the Board voted to withdraw Troy as counsel for the Johnson lawsuit and three other cases pending against the town, including a civil suit filed by former Police Chief Mark Deluca on Feb. 3, and two Massachusetts Commissions Against Discrimination suits lodged by Duxbury Police officers Sgt. Kristin Golden and Lt. Susan James.
A letter emailed by Town Manager Richard MacDonald notified on April 19 notified Troy that Kesten now represents Duxbury in the four cases. Additionally, MacDonald wrote Troy that the selectmen had “voted to waive the attorney client privilege as to the North Hill matter so that your deposition can proceed and you can testify as a witness at the trial.” Troy’s deposition, originally scheduled for April 23, is in the process of being rescheduled.
Johnson Golf, Inc. filed its civil suit against the Town of Duxbury in Dec. 2008 alleging the town conspired to wrongfully award the bid to another company. Previously, Johnson Golf had managed the town-owned North Hill Golf Course for ten years.
In a motion filed April 13 in Middlesex Superior Court, where the Johnson Golf Management lawsuit is being heard, Johnson Golf alleged Troy “was not being truthful” in statements made at an October 4, 2010 Board of Selectmen’s meeting and in a January 27, 2009 hearing before the court (see related story). In an opposition to that motion filed the same day, Troy denied making any intentional misstatement. Troy has been Duxbury’s town counsel for 26 years and the board is not aware of any prior complaints made against him.
Flynn said Kreiger will be a welcome addition. He said the board learned of Kreiger through an associate.
“We had some recommendations of a couple of firms active in municipal law,” said Flynn. “They came highly recommended by Judi Barrett, head of the Zoning Board of Appeals.”
When Selectman Shawn Dahlen was asked if this presented a conflict of interest because his homebuilding company, Shawn Dahlen and Co., Inc. may have business before the ZBA, Dahlen said he recused himself from testifying before the ZBA when he was elected to the Board.
“No, I can’t represent anybody before the ZBA,” said Dahlen.
Dahlen said Kreiger was chosen because he has a long history representing municipalities as town counsel. In his meeting with him, Dahlen said he was impressed. As for Troy, Dahlen said, he remains as town counsel and at this point there are no plans to remove him.
“I would never remove someone without facts that would support that,” said Dahlen.
Selectman David Madigan said the purpose of hiring special counsel was to help the board parse the advice given by Kesten and Troy.
“We felt that the town needed somebody to explain the difference in opinions,” said madigan.
Anderson and Kreiger also has the support of Kesten. As the lead attorney in the four suits, he said he looks forward to working with Kreiger and that the firm is well known and respected.
“I’m familiar with the firm and (Kreiger’s) reputation,” said Kesten. “I’m sure the town will be well-served.”