- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2006

Herndon residents, who recently ousted most town council members who supported a partially taxpayer-funded day laborer site for illegal aliens, continue to spend $435 per hour to defend the site in court, a copy of the town receipts show.

Judicial Watch, the D.C.-based public interest law firm suing the town for using taxpayer money to fund the center, said yesterday that the new town council is not taking “the necessary steps” to comply with federal law by immediately shutting down the site. The new council took office July 1.

So far, Herndon has accrued $2,584.70 in attorneys fees and expenses from May through July, the receipts show.

“It’s publicly acknowledged that the election focused on that issue and the people that were elected were recognized as critics of the center, yet since they have taken office they’ve done nothing to fulfill the reason for which they were elected,” said James Peterson, a Judicial Watch attorney.

Judicial Watch in September 2005 sued the town of Herndon and Fairfax County officials on behalf of seven county residents who say taxpayer money should not be used to assist the operation of the center, which violates federal and state law by helping illegal aliens find jobs.

Herndon Town Council member William B. Tirrell Sr. said since the new council was sworn in, there has been “very little discussion” about the day laborer site as issues such as downtown development and personnel issues have taken precedence.

Mr. Tirrell, who opposes illegal aliens’ use of the center, said he thinks the businesses and homeowners who use the site should fund it on private property.

“I suspect there are some people who really hoped that after July 2 we’d shut the thing down, but they have a lawful conditional use permit,” he said. “It’s on the list of problems we have, along with overcrowded housing, that we want to get solved.”

Other council members could not be reached for comment.

William G. Broaddus, an attorney from the law firm McGuireWoods LLP who is representing the town in the lawsuit, did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday evening.

Herndon’s most recent bill from McGuireWoods shows Mr. Broaddus billed the town $435 per hour for 4.3 hours of work on three occasions after the new town council took office, according to documents submitted to The Washington Times on behalf of attorney Richard B. Kaufman.

The total of the bill, after a 10 percent discount given by the law firm, was $2,584.70.

The work included drafting various court documents and responses to the plaintiffs’ requests for information.

The bill also includes a charge for two hours spent filing a court motion for documents in May.

Mr. Kaufman said that Herndon’s insurance policy, which covers attorneys fees up to $435 per hour, will likely cover most of the bill. Herndon officials estimate that the remainder of the bill not covered by insurance to be $1,521.

The most recent hearing in April was delayed because documents belonging to the judge, the plaintiffs and defendants did not match.

Mr. Peterson said the motion for court documents in May signals that Herndon likely will continue to fight to keep the center open by asking for a case dismissal, and “spending tremendous resources to do it.”

“Just as the town does not have the authority to establish a center to provide better working conditions for drug dealers or others who might be engaged in illegal conduct, the town does not have the authority to issue a permit to facilitate the … hiring by employers of illegal immigrants,” he said.

Mr. Kaufman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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