BEATRICE – A rural Wymore man running for state legislature today said Gage County hasn’t done enough to address the $28.1 million judgment against it in the Beatrice Six case. An attorney working with the county on appeal of the federal court jury verdict and award, said that’s not the case.
The Gage County Board held a two-hour emergency meeting in closed session today. Prior to that meeting, 30th District State Legislative candidate Don Schuller said Gage county needs to ask the State of Nebraska, for help.
:37 “this appeal failed”
Schuller is running against Gage County Board Chairman Myron Dorn, for the 30th District seat.
Legislation introduced by Senator Roy Baker of Lincoln was aimed at making it possible for state funds to cover all or part of the judgment. But, that measure did not advanced to the floor of the body, while the case was being appealed.
Attorney Patrick O’Brien, one of a team of lawyers who has been representing Gage County in the civil rights judgment, said following the board’s closed session that actions have been taken to address the case against the county. That includes proceeding with a request for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the county’s appeal, but also planned for the potential for having to pay the judgment.
:48 “completely false”
O’Brien says there have been numerous contacts by the county with the state, including with members of the legislature and the executive branch.
One of the county’s attorneys, Melanie Whittemore-Mantzios said she’s had contact with an attorney for the six plaintiffs.
:06 “this judgment paid”
Today, two bankruptcy attorneys were a part of the closed session with the Gage County Board, by telephone. Following the supervisors’ meeting, O’Brien told KWBE that the judgment is collectable, but that the county currently doesn’t have the means to pay the full judgment. He said he sees no immediate need for Gage County to proceed now, with a bankruptcy filing. The decision whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the county’s appeal is likely months off. The high court isn’t back in session, until October.
Gage County recently hired a Kansas City financial firm and Omaha lawyers, to assist in the financial aspects of the judgment.