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Pennsburg Outspends East Greenville in Police Lawsuit
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Pennsburg Council spent nearly 10 times as much as East Greenville did in their lawsuit related to the dissolution of the Upper Perk Police District, according to information provided by both boroughs.

            Between August 2017 and two months ago, Pennsburg paid three law firms $46,092.40 for their work on the civil lawsuit, according to information included in a Right to Know request received last month from the municipality.

            During a similar six-year period, East Greenville was billed for $4,669.39 by two legal firms, according to the figures included in a similar document provided by the municipality.

            East Greenville won the civil case in the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. The borough was awarded $83,553.75 by Judge Jeffrey S. Saltz, who ruled that Pennsburg's decision to keep the equipment for its police department constituted a breach of the parties' agreement.

            Pennsburg council filed the civil case six years ago against the neighboring municipality. East Greenville won its counterclaim regarding the equipment and received a favorable ruling from Saltz on a request regarding police pension funding.

            The awarded total accounts for 45 percent of the value of the equipment retained by Pennsburg following the July 1, 2017 dissolution of the Upper Perk Police District. It states that the dissolution agreement provides two alternative courses of action: either a sale of assets (presumably with the distribution of the proceeds) or a distribution of the equipment and other assets in kind.

            "Contrary to this requirement, Pennsburg simply retained the equipment for itself," the judge wrote on page three of the decision.

            Pennsburg council received invoices totaling 106.5 hours at rates ranging between $150 and $190. The municipality paid the Pottstown law firm of its former solicitor Charles Garner, Jr., Wolf Baldwin & Associates in Pottstown, a total of $19,600.73 in four consecutive years ending 2020.

            From 2020 to June of this year, the municipality paid the law firm of its current solicitor Daniel Saeger $15,888. His law firm billed the borough for 75.2 hours at $200 and $220 per hour. The rate increased to $220 in May.

            The same attachment included in a July 24 email response from administrative manager Lisa Hiltz, with a title of litigation bills, also identifies $10,603.67 paid to Chris Gerber, from March to September. The entry does not signify a year.

            Gerber's law firm, Sianna Law LLP of Chester Springs, billed the borough $11,257.60 between July 9, 2020 and Aug. 29, 2020 for professional services rendered. Five lawyers from the firm submitted 49.6 hours of bills at hourly rates ranging from $170 to $295, according to the partially redacted invoices delivered by the borough.

            Officials in East Greenville provided 28 pages of redacted invoices but not a summary the total amount billed or paid. A Perkasie law firm billed the municipality for $3,073.39.over four months at the end of 2017.

            Lawyers from Grim Biehn & Thatcher billed East Greenville for 25.6 hours for professional services rendered at hourly rates ranging from $106.25 to $150, according to copies of the invoices that were also partially redacted, presented in the message.

            The Doylestown firm of its solicitor Michael Peters, Eastburn and Gray, submitted invoices totaling $1,596 for 13.3 hours on the case – at an hourly rate of $120 – between March 2018 and April of this year, according to invoices included in an Aug. 1 email response from Sharon Kachmar, the borough's secretary/treasurer.






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