Stokes case has cost Cleveland more than $1M

Stokes case has cost Cleveland more than $1M

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The numbers are not pretty for the taxpayers of Cleveland and its budget.

Former Judge Angela Stokes is battling to get her law license back after the Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court suspended it.

Charging documents say she abused defendants, court personnel and lawyers, as well as court resources.

Her fight is costing the city a bundle.

In June the city paid out $653,901.58. By September that number had swelled to $892,698.50. October's numbers are in and the bill is $950,660.89, well on its way to $1 million.

If you factor in money paid to defend two other judges, who Judge Stokes sued, the bill is over the million dollar mark.

City Council President Kevin Kelley last month promised that council would be watching the Stokes-related spending.

"I'm going to be requesting bills and looking closely," Kelley said.

But it appears the spending is going on unabated.

Stokes is represented by several lawyers, including lead lawyer Larry Zuckerman who is paid $250 an hour.

There is no sign the money flow will stop. Hearings in the case for November were cancelled, so the billings could ease a bit for now. But in December
there are five days of hearings set in Columbus.

That means hotels, meals and travel expenses, all at taxpayers' expense.

The problem with the city putting a roadblock on this spending is Law Director Barbara Langhenry's ruling that Stokes' troubles are the result of her
employment by the city.

But it did defend her, and Stokes lost.

This is simply her effort to win her private law license back. That's not a city matter.

"Council did not have the ability to say to say no to this because of what the Law Director believes to be her duty to defend," Kelley said.

Given that, all the promises in the world to review spending on the case won't do a bit of good.
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