Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Luken lashes out at Dlott

Says rulings smack of bias against city

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken blasted a federal judge Tuesday, saying her order that the city pay a court-appointed monitor $91,597 for three weeks of work suggests bias against the city in police reform cases.

U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott ordered the city to pay most of the $132,733 Alan Kalmanoff of the Institute for Law and Policy Planning in Berkeley, Calif., said he was owed.

Kalmanoff was supposed to oversee the city's compliance with two landmark police reform agreements. He resigned after City Council questioned his billing practices - and later submitted an amended bill that included charges for such services as packing his bags and tipping hotel maids.

Luken said the city never had a contract with Kalmanoff, and noted that even the parties suing the city over police issues thought the bills were outrageous.

He noted that it was the third time in as many weeks that Dlott had ruled against the city in major cases involving police.

"It suggests there's some problem she has with the city," he said.

On April 7, Dlott ruled against the city's motion to exclude Black United Front lawyers from participating in the settlement known as the "collaborative agreement." In her judicial opinion, Dlott called the city's position "mean-spirited," "ludicrous" and "nonsensical."

On April 18, Dlott ruled that an excessive-force case against the city should move forward.

Dlott seemed taken aback by Luken's comments Tuesday. "All I can tell you is I only decide cases on the facts and the law," she said.

Dlott did exclude some of Kalmanoff's expenses. Some tips were "unreasonable and unnecessary," she said, and 27 percent overhead was more than the agreed-to 10 percent. Also, because Kalmanoff hired a team member without consulting the court or the parties, she excluded all $13,893 of his salary and expenses.


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