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October 2, 2013

Council questions Camm expenses

Committee formed, letter to be sent to judge

NEW ALBANY — Floyd County Councilman Steve Burks said he has been “blasted” with questions concerning costs of the third David Camm murder trial, which is at the midway point in Boone County. He said people don’t understand how the cost of the trial is at $900,000 and climbing.

“I hear ‘how can this be?’ from a lot of constituents,” he said Monday night.

Burks along with other council members, agreed to form a committee, led by council attorney Chris Lane and Auditor Scott Clark, to draft and send a letter to Special Judge Jon Dartt questioning some of the bills the county has received from Camm’s defense attorneys Richard Kammen and Stacy Uliana.

Clark approached council members at a special meeting Monday asking them to give him permission to challenge some of the costs. The county received a bill from Kammen in August for $60,000. So far in 2013, Kammen has been paid $194,954 from the county and Uliana $79,335. The third Camm trial will likely exceed $1 million and has put a major strain on county finances. Next week, the council will approve a measure to borrow money from the county’s cumulative bridge fund and other accounts to help make up the deficit caused by the trial.

In 2012, the county paid Kammen $112,487 and Uliana $30,174.

“I think some of these charges are excessive,” Clark said. “Some of these charges I disagree with and want some clarification. I think it’s time we draw a line in the sand.”

Councilwoman Lana Aebersold agreed saying “we need to do it right away.”

While the council would like for the committee to have a face to face with Dartt,  Lane said that likely won’t happen since the trial is ongoing. He said he will help draft a letter to send to Dartt.

“I think it’s a good idea, something we should have done a long time ago,” Councilman Brad Striegel said.

The committee will be made up of Lane, Clark, Council President John Schellenberger and Councilman Tom Pickett. Some members only wanted one council member to be on the committee, but Councilman Jim Wathen made a motion to add two.

“I think we should at least have two,” he said.

Lane said it probably won’t matter if there are three or four committee members since there likely won’t be a face-to-face meeting.

“If I was in the judge’s shoes I would want more than less. If we are just sending a letter why don’t we have everyone sign it?” Wathen asked.

Camm is on trial for a third time for killing his wife Kimberly and their two children, Brad and Jill, at their Georgetown home in 2000. His previous two convictions have been overturned.

• The council was expected to make final decisions on the budget at a special meeting Thursday. While members will convene the meeting, they will vote to delay any decisions until later in the month. The regular council meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Pine View Government Center.

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